5 Plumbing Mistakes First-Time Homeowners Make

Published On December 22, 2019

When you buy a new home, you’ll have a lot on your plate. This may include concerns about your plumbing, especially if you’re not sure about its condition or know there are certain things that need fixing. Conversely, you may not think about your plumbing at all, even though you should.  

Once you move into your new home, here are five plumbing mistakes to avoid at all costs … 

1. Not arranging for a sewer inspection

Plumbing inspections generally precede home sales. But you shouldn’t be satisfied with this initial evaluation, even if the plumbing system got a clean bill of health. 

Plumbing inspections usually precede home sales. But you shouldn’t be satisfied with this initial evaluation, even if the plumbing system got a clean bill of health.

Most plumbing inspections include an assessment of all fixtures and visible pipes. For single-family homes in Hawaii, it is important to know the condition of your sewer pipes. Depending on the age and location of your new home, the sewer mainline could be made from cast iron or orange burg pipe. Each is subject to accelerated degradation in volcanic soil. Including a sewer camera inspection during your home’s inspection period is vital for uncovering the true state of your plumbing system

2. Delaying small repairs

It isn’t at all uncommon to move into a home with minor plumbing issues—a faucet or two may be dripping, a toilet may be running incessantly, or a water heater may have a rusty connection that needs replacing.

No matter how busy you are moving in or adjusting, you should not put off addressing these problems. If you do, they may escalate into something far more serious. Do nothing and you’ll be risking significant water damage or total appliance breakdown.

Depending on your comfort level and knowledge, you can try fixing some minor issues yourself. But if you have any doubts, or don’t have time to do it right, you should contact a professional plumber or plumbing contractor immediately.

3. Selecting the wrong tools

You may consider yourself a DIY ace when it comes to plumbing problems. But the plumbing system in your new home is unfamiliar territory. If you try to replace a part, tighten a pipe or nut, or do anything else that requires a tool, you should be very careful about which tools you choose. 

Tools must be properly-sized, well-fitted and appropriate for use with specific brands, appliances or fixtures. Measure and inspect everything closely before you proceed, to make sure you know what you have or need and what its dimensions might be. Before taking on DIY plumbing jobs, it’s always a good idea to seek expert counsel, either in-person or online through plumbing repair guides or videos. 

Tool choice isn’t the only factor to consider before going on a plumbing adventure. But it is one of the most important. Make a mistake in tool selection and you could cause additional damage and make the situation far worse.

4. Failing to turn off the water

Before attempting any type of plumbing repair, it is important to turn off the nearest water valve. If you can’t find that, or are uncertain of what a particular valve controls, you should play it safe and turn off the home’s main water valve.

In theory everyone knows this. But it’s surprising how often people forget. First-time homeowners are especially likely to make this mistake, since they usually don’t have much hands-on plumbing experience. They’ve watched videos on how to repair a leaking toilet or sink, or how to change rusting and aging pipes. But in their eager enthusiasm to take care of it themselves, they completely overlook one of the basic details. 

Water gushing from an open pipe can quickly cause flooding and water damage. It’s a development that can be easily avoided, fortunately, if you make sure to turn off the water first. 

5. Jumping in too quickly and without a plan

Scattered and haphazard attempts at home repair are common with new homeowners. There’s much to do and all of it seems important, resulting in careless attempts at fixing problems with no pattern, rhyme or reason. 

With plumbing issues this simply won’t work. You need to take your time, assess the situation fully, decide what you do or don’t feel comfortable doing, and bring in a professional plumber as soon as possible if you aren’t 100 percent certain of what action to take. 

This is good advice at any time. But when you’re a first-time homeowner, its vital not to overestimate your knowledge and abilities. When you’re trying to handle a multitude of tasks and responsibilities all at once, caution is always advisable. 

Let the Experts Help, its What They’re Trained to Do 

Plumbers are often called to homes to help new homeowners who tried to fix something themselves, but couldn’t finish the task. Individuals in this group sometimes get in a little over their heads, figuratively speaking (or literally speaking, if a water pipe is busted and there’s a flood). 

You don’t have to be the latest example of this phenomenon. If you bring in the experts at the first sign of trouble, or even before there are any signs, you’ll be taking an important step on the road to responsible home ownership. 

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