Are you still in the honeymoon phase with your new home? Buying a house for the first time can be an exhilarating experience, and most people never forget their first home. Of course, that shine can sometimes wear off a little faster than you’d like, especially when you start facing the realities of home upkeep and maintenance.
The typical advice is to budget at least 1% of your home’s value per year for annual maintenance, but it’s often a good idea to save even more. Since plumbing can make up a substantial portion of these costs, it’s often helpful to understand as much as you can about your home’s plumbing. These three tips will help you better understand your plumbing situation so you can plan for the future.
1. Learn About Your Pipes
Your home’s plumbing might be out of sight and out of mind most of the time, but even small homes have a complex network of pipes for bringing water where it needs to go. Every home’s plumbing system is different, and both the design of your plumbing and the materials used can impact the likelihood of repairs and your long-term maintenance costs.
Modern homes typically use copper, CPVC, or PEX pipes, while older homes may use a wide range of materials. Since every house has its own unique story, you may find that your home has plumbing made from many different materials. This situation usually results from previous owners conducting repairs in a piecemeal manner instead of replacing plumbing throughout the structure.
While you don’t need to tear down any walls, you should examine as much of your exposed plumbing as you can. Copper or galvanized steel are two materials typically found in older houses. A mix of metal pipes and newer CPVC or PEX plumbing may indicate that the previous owners needed to conduct frequent repairs. This style of mixing and matching may be a clue that you’ll need to plan for repairs.
2. Schedule a Sewer Inspection
Replacing or repairing a sewer line can be one of the costliest plumbing jobs you’ll face as a homeowner. If you didn’t inspect your sewer as part of the pre-purchase process for your home, you should consider scheduling a sewer-line camera inspection as soon as you can. Even if your drains seem to be working well, there may be hidden issues that can come to a head at the worst possible moment.
With older homes, you’ll mainly want to consider the possibility of cracked or damaged sewer pipes. Typical issues include root infiltration from trees or lines collapsing due to age, corrosion, or physical damage. These problems aren’t always apparent without an inspection, especially if the previous owners recently cleaned their sewer pipes.
Since even trenchless repairs can cost thousands of dollars, it’s usually better to know about developing problems before they cause sewage to back up into your home. Not only does this save you from costly and messy water damage, but it also lets you take time to budget for repairs or arrange for financing.
3. Practice Proactive Plumbing
Perhaps the most critical thing you can do to manage your plumbing repair costs is practicing a proactive approach to your home’s plumbing. Don’t wait for drains to back up or pipes to fail. If you notice an unusual odor, a slow-running drain, or a strange gurgling sound, it’s a good idea to call in a plumber as soon as you can. Be sure to have them also check your crawl space. Waiting for the problem to progress often just means spending more on repairs.
Signing up for a maintenance plan with an experienced local plumber is one excellent option to deal with failures before they become critical problems. The relatively low cost of an annual maintenance membership will usually pay for itself by helping you avoid sudden and unexpected plumbing failures. You’ll also gain the peace of mind that comes from knowing your new home’s plumbing is in good order.
Spartan Plumbing Inc has the experience and knowledge to help you navigate the world of plumbing maintenance and repair for your new home. Give us a call to discuss inspections, maintenance plans, or any other plumbing concerns you may have.