Are You a New Homeowner? Avoid These 5 Costly Mistakes

Buying a new home is exciting; you get to organize your living space however you wish and decorate with your favorite colors and décor. For many, owning a home is the symbol of independence and freedom they’ve always wanted. 

If you’re a first-time homeowner, you have every reason to be excited, but make sure you don’t neglect the following repair and maintenance needs.

  1. Be cautious about how you use your garden hose

You may not realize that a garden hose has the power to siphon hazardous material into your home’s water system. You’re not at risk for this problem if you’re just watering your lawn or garden, spraying down your driveway, or having fun with your kids. However, using a garden hose in the following ways is asking for trouble

  • Attaching an insecticide sprayer to your hose
  • Filling your radiator with your hose
  • Submerging your hose into a pool or hot tub

According to expert plumbers in Tucson, Arizona, regular garden hoses can experience backflow where the water moves backwards into your pipes. This happens more often than you might think. 

The Office of Professional and Workforce Development at the University of Florida published summaries of 35 separate backflow incidents where people were either harmed or cities had to ban water usage until the problem was resolved. In some cases, pesticides stuck to the insides of pipes and the plumbing had to be replaced.

Backflow valves will help

A simple backflow valve with regular testing will help prevent backflow issues, but it’s best to avoid submerging your garden hose all together. Hopefully, you’ve got a good inline water filtration system to handle expected contaminants, but those filters won’t remove everything. 

  1. Regular plumbing maintenance

You don’t need to call a plumber to perform regular maintenance on your pipes. However, you do need to make pipe-friendly choices. For example, use a drain auger in the bathtub and all of your sinks once a week to prevent clogged drains. Hair and other debris will clog a drain quickly if you don’t stay on top of cleaning. 

Another important maintenance task is making sure solidified bar soap doesn’t coat the insides of your pipes. This can be a bit trickier to manage. If you use bar soap, make sure to run the hot water for a few extra seconds to keep it melted and diluted as much as possible. You’ll probably end up with soap scum toward the top of your sink’s opening, and you can clear that out with a drain auger or pipe cleaner.

Plumbing tasks you should not perform

Consult a professional before snaking a toilet and never use commercial drain cleaner. Drain cleaner will destroy your pipes over time. Drain cleaner is a convenient quick fix that will turn into a costly mistake down the road.

  1. Making improvements without a permit

Most renovations and even what might seem like simple construction requires a permit from the city. The city wants to make sure all the work is done to code. Professional contractors won’t even commence with the work until all permits are in place.

Aside from the potential for bad work, making improvements without a permit makes it harder to sell your house later on. If you’re caught, the city can force you to tear down your improvements, get a permit, and start over. 

  1. Not testing carpet cleaning chemicals before use

Not all carpet cleaning chemicals are rug-friendly. Some rugs are easily destroyed even by natural chemicals. Always test a carpet cleaner in an inconspicuous spot before cleaning. The last thing you want is to ruin your brand-new area rugs or carpet.

  1. Ignoring chimney cleaning and inspections

Experts recommend getting your chimney inspected and cleaned once a year. If you use a wood stove for your main source of heat, you should get inspections and cleaning done every 6 months.

Creosote can build up in a chimney rapidly depending on many factors including the type of wood you burn, how hot the fire gets, and whether the wood is wet or dry when it burns. Never assume that your chimney is fine just because you haven’t used it much. When winter rolls around, get it inspected and cleaned before your first fire.

Take care of your new home

All homeowners experience a steep learning curve learning what’s required to keep a house in good shape. Hopefully these five items will help you stay on top of some easily forgotten tasks. 

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