When you first move into a home, your to-do list may seem a mile long. While you may be tempted to ignore little issues until you get settled, you really are better off taking care of small problems as soon as possible. In particular, when it comes to plumbing, an issue that starts as a minor annoyance can become a messy, expensive problem overnight. Here's a look at five seemingly small plumbing issues to address as soon as you move in.
- Gurgling Toilets
A gurgling toilet may seem like more of a nuisance than anything, but this is typically a sign of blocked sewage vents. The vents are designed to equalize air pressure in your drain pipes. When they become blocked, air remains in your pipes and ends up escaping through the toilets. Ignore this issue for too long, and your home will be filled with stinky sewage odors. Sewage vents are typically located on the roof and can be clogged by snow, ice, and fallen leaves. Your plumber can clear the clogged vent and may recommend replacing the top section of pipe with a longer one to prevent future clogs.
- Running Toilets
If your toilet is constantly running, your first water bill is bound to be sky-high. Luckily, the most common cause of a running toilet is a worn or damaged flapper, which you can easily replace yourself. A flapper is the plastic piece that fits over the pipe that leads from the toilet tank to the bowl. Flappers are universally sized, and you can purchase a new one at your local hardware store. After turning off the water supply to the toilet, remove the lid from the toilet tank and disconnect the flapper. Put the new flapper in its place, turn the water back on, and step back to admire your work. If your toilet keeps running, there may be a leak between the tank and bowl. This is best addressed by a plumber, who will likely recommend you replace the toilet.
- Stuck Water Main Valve
When you first move in, it's important to locate the water main valve, which turns off the water supply to your home. This way, you can quickly turn off the water if you ever have a plumbing leak. If you try to turn the valve and it won't budge, apply some lubricant and try again. If you're unable to loosen the valve on your own, contact your plumber to come adjust or replace it. You don't want to discover that the valve is stuck when you have a major pipe leaking!
- Slow Drains
If you have a single slow drain, take care of it now before it becomes a clogged drain. In most cases, plunging the drain will do the trick. In the kitchen, slow drains are often caused by grease accumulation. Pour some boiling water down the drain to help loosen the grease and carry it down the pipe. If all of the drains in your new home are slow, then you may have a bigger issue on your hands. Typically, this is caused by a clog in your main sewer line. The previous residents may have flushed non-degradable items down the drain, or there could even be roots growing into the line. Left unaddressed, a clogged sewer line can cause messy, smelly sewage backups throughout your home, so call your plumber promptly.
- Dripping Faucets
A leaky faucet wastes about three gallons of water a day. Sometimes the problem is caused by a loose adjusting ring. Try removing the faucet handle and then using pliers to tighten the adjusting ring, which is the ring that lies beneath the handle. If this does not stop the leak, then the seat-and-spring apparatus inside the faucet may be failing. Replacing the faucet is often the best option. If you notice any other seemingly small plumbing problems when you move in, don't hesitate to contact a plumber. Having them fixed now is a lot easier than dealing with a plumbing emergency a few months down the road.