Buying a house is a huge milestone for any person, whether it is the first home, or the fifth. For the first-time homeowner, though, there are some important things to make note of when it comes to the plumbing system. While it is not necessary to be completely well-versed in all plumbing issues, it can be helpful and economical to acquire some basic knowledge. Take a look at five important pieces of information regarding the ins and outs of plumbing in a new-to-you home:

1. Leaky pipes is probably the leading cause of plumbing issues.

This bit of information is important to know, because you may not always be aware of a leak, particularly if it is a slow one. Your plumbing system may not be initially affected by a leak, but over time, water that is escaping can cause damage to not just your physical house, but also to your pocket book and the pipes themselves. Therefore, it is important to know what to look for and what to do to prevent leaking pipes. Calcium deposits, usually white or pink, around pipes is a good indication that water is escaping. Blue and green stains are signs of mold, which is often caused by excess moisture, probably from a leak. Check cabinets and basements monthly, especially those you do not see periodically for any beginning leaks.

2. A leaky toilet is often not discovered until the water bill comes.

Because a toilet base generally has a tight sealant surrounding the base, it is not always apparent that a toilet may be suffering from a leak. Always pay attention to your water bill to spot any leap or increase in charges. A significant increase can often be attributed to a leak. Check flooring underneath a toilet and listen for continuously running water. Unfortunately, it is not always easy to ensure the commode is working properly. Consulting an experienced professional for a suspected leak is often necessary.

3. When there is a problem, reach for your shutoff valve!

Whenever you are dealing with issues stemming from your plumbing system, you will want to find the shutoff valve for the water supply to your home. Cutting the water switch will stop any large bursts. It will mean you will be without water for a while, however, so make sure you have what you need before you do this. If you are having trouble finding the valve, check in any basement or garage setting first. And as always, be very mindful of any pooling water where live wires may be present. This situation can present itself as extremely dangerous with the risk of electrocution.

4. Preventative care is necessary!

It is handy for homeowners to have some basic preventative care knowledge in the home owning vocabulary. Cover exposed pipes before a big freeze to prevent bursting. Conduct inspections of the pipework by checking cabinets, basements and garages. Keep an eye on your water bill to spot any huge increases. An ounce of prevention is worth quite a bit when it comes to your plumbing system.

5. Drain cleaners aren’t always a homeowner’s friend.

This piece of information may surprise many people, but drain cleaner should be used very sparingly and with extreme caution. It is, of course, a poisonous substance that should be kept out of reach of all children and pets. But it also has such potency that it can damage pipes and drains quite quickly, leaving more of a mess than before.

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