Plumbing Tips for Homeowners

A home is a long-term investment – but in order for that investment to grow in value, it must be maintained and sometimes improved. To keep home plumbing systems in good working order and properly maintain your home, a dedicated homeowner should learn the basics when it comes to maintaining a home’s plumbing, pipes, and fixtures.

Plumbing Tips for Homeowners: Knowing the Basics

The best plumbing tips for homeowners teach you how to accomplish the basics. Here are a few basic things to know when it comes to your plumbing:

Shutting off the water

If there is a leak anywhere in the home or if work needs to be done on the home, it’s important to know where the shut-off for the water is and how to turn the water off. The water can be shut off to a specific fixture or to the entire home.

At the fixtures, there is usually a valve below or behind the fixture that can be turned to cut off the water. To cut off water to the entire home there is usually a primary valve, where the cold water supply comes into the home, that can be turned off. But just in case you can’t find it, it’s important to know that there is always a shut off at the meter (typically located at the sidewalk or curb) and it would require a water meter key to turn it off.


It is a good idea to locate these shut-offs and label them well, so they can be quickly located if and when the need arises.

Shutting off the hot water heater

A leaky hot water heater is a common problem that can cause major damage. Most homes have a gas or electric water heater. When turning off a gas water heater, make sure to turn the control knob from “on” to “pilot”. An electric hot water heater can be turned off by flipping the breaker that controls it.

Once it has been turned off, make sure to drain the water out of the unit. This can be done by turning off the cold water supply valve and then running the hot water from a faucet until the hot water heater tank is drained.

When to Call a Professional

There are many plumbing tasks that a homeowner can take on themselves. DIY fixes are common and many are easy to do – but there are also many projects that require a professional plumbing service. Before taking on a plumbing project, it is a good idea to know what is safe to do and what is not.

Some of the basic repairs that homeowners can do can include fixing leaky faucets, stopping a toilet from running constantly and changing out some of the plumbing fixtures in the home. More complicated projects usually require the help of an experienced, licensed plumber.

Plumbing Tips: Common Issues for Homeowners

These are some of the most typical plumbing problems faced by homeowners:

  • Running toilet. This can be caused when the flapper is not working properly. A new flapper kit can be purchased and installed in a very short amount of time by the homeowner.
  • Kitchen sink backup. If the clog is near the sink drain, it can be unclogged using a plunger or similar tool. Chemicals are not a good way to unclog a drain as they can damage the pipes. If this method does not work, homeowners should also remove the trap (the u-shaped pipe) under the sink and check for any obstructions.
  • Leaking pipes. Leaks can be caused by a number of factors. If it is due to a loose fitting, it may be easy to fix by tightening the fitting, but a leaky pipe may require the help of a professional to fix properly.
  • Clogged shower head. The most common cause is the buildup of lime or calcium deposits. The head can be removed and special cleaners can unclog the showerhead.
  • Dripping faucets. The rubber washers in a sink’s faucet can deteriorate and cause it to drip, which can be fixed by replacing the washers.

Taking Care of Your Home

All homeowners should be aware of the importance of keeping the plumbing in their home properly maintained. Regular inspections and routine maintenance are key to avoiding any problems – but any problems should be dealt with immediately before a small problem becomes a larger one. Understanding the basics of the home’s plumbing is the best way to start.

Pipe Spy has serviced the Bay Area for over 18 years completing sewer repair and replacement. Contact us today for a camera inspection or an estimate for your sewer line replacement.