When you’re building a new home, it can be a dream come true, but what about those little things you didn’t consider ahead of time? There are dozens of ways that both small annoyances and big problems can be built into your home. Below is a list of eight important plumbing considerations which can make or break your new nest.
If your new plumbing system is set up correctly, you can avoid future problems from sump pumps to water softeners and everything in between.
What kind of builder are you working with? If you want serious customization, you’re much more likely to do well with a custom home builder. Track home builders make their money in economy of scale and the familiarity of repeated design, so they are often less flexible and accommodating of your requested changes.
Have a tank storage water heater, water softener and similar appliances placed on the lowest level of the home. If your new home has a basement, this is the best location, but if it doesn’t, go for a utility area on the first floor of your home. Why? These types of appliances store a lot of water, and if something breaches the tank, you want to limit the damage. By keeping them as low as possible, you don’t need to worry about what’s underneath them.
If you are using a tank storage water heater, have it placed in an aluminum drain pan, with the pan plumbed to flow into the sanitary sewer leaving your home. This way, if it has a small or slow leak, the water will be drained away, instead of causing damage to your home.
You’ll also want to have the water heater, water softener, main water shutoff valve, sump pump and sewage ejector pit all in the same area of the basement. By consolidating the location of these appliances, you can quickly move between them if something goes wrong.
Will your new home have a crawl space? Make sure the main water shutoff is plumbed into the ground floor of your home. Many builders won’t otherwise think twice about putting the shutoff valve in the crawl space where the rest of the plumbing is run, but this makes them inaccessible or hard to access during an emergency.
Got hard water or other water issues? Seriously consider adding a water softener or home filtration system at the time of construction. If you’re building a slab home and aren’t sure whether you’re going to add these appliances, make sure to have the plumbing for these appliances added during construction, as it becomes much more difficult to add them later. This can be a great selling point when reselling your home.
Make sure the sump pump discharge line is plumbed into the storm sewer or to an area well away from the home that has good drainage. This is important because a pump that isn’t discharging to a proper location can allow the water to flow back into your basement, burning out your sump pump and causing serious damage. What you’re able to do will depend on local codes, so make sure your builders are checking what local regulations are if they haven’t built in your municipality before.
Are you thinking about adding green living features, such as a solar water heating collector or greywater system? Plan ahead for these great sustainability features to avoid making retrofits down the road to support these items. A solar water heater mounted on the roof may demand additional support in the rafters or trusses, while a greywater system may require a heavier slab or specific plumbing arrangements.
Your home is a big investment, one that you want to enjoy for years, but it’s important to protect its value on the market. By keeping these tips in mind while building, you can ensure that you’re building quality and livability into your new home. Remember, your new home needs to not only meet today’s needs, but tomorrow’s as well.
Contributing Author: Tom Mascari is the President of Mendel Plumbing & Heating. Providing Geneva, IL plumbing and HVAC services since 1985, Mendel has had a reputation for expert customer service and technical performance. Mendel also specializes in residential air duct sealing, remodeling and maintenance services to the Fox Valley area.