If you are a first-time home buyer, you might be in for a rude surprise. Your mortgage payment, property taxes and utility bills are just the beginning of home-ownership costs. Maintenance and repair also can take a big bite out of your budget.

According to MSN Money, homeowners should set aside at least 1 percent of a home’s purchase price each year to cover unprotected repair and maintenance costs. This means that if you paid $150,000 for your home, you should set aside $1,500 for maintenance each year.

Much of this maintenance will come in the form of burst pipes, clogged drains, leaky faucet and other plumbing emergencies. Fortunately, there are steps that homeowners can take to reduce the likelihood of spending a small fortune on plumbing repairs.

David and Sheryl Elman of Baker-Elman Plumbing in Newton answers three key questions about plumbing and home ownership.

What is your No. 1 tip for homeowners hoping to avoid future plumbing problems?

Unfortunately, the #1 tip to prevent plumbing problems is having good luck. Other than trying to prevent drains from plugging up by being careful with what you put down them, there really isn’t any way to prevent toilets and faucets from becoming a problem unless you replace parts pro actively. Periodically you should check toilets for leaks by putting some food coloring in the tank and ? without flushing ? if it comes into the bowl, you have a running toilet that needs repair. Usually we find out you have a toilet problem when the water bills come out because people are frantic when a $150 water bill becomes a $1000 water bill. If you have any faucets, sinks or showers dripping you usually can see them and they should be repaired for the same reason. What seems like a small matter can lead to a rather large bill.

What is the most common problem you come across in your work?

Being more of a residential plumbing company, there are all kinds of repairs that a home is in need of over time. We repair and replace water heaters and boilers as well as repair or replace fixtures and faucets. Our company does small repairs to large renovation projects as well as ground up construction.

Do you have any fun work stories or work problems that you can share?

Since I am a third generation plumber, working in the trade full time since I was 18 with some of what we get to work with and people we work for, I have always said that you need to have a good sense of humor for which I am grateful to have.

Baker-Elman Plumbing Co, Inc is at 671 Sawmill Brook Parkway Newton, MA 02459. You can contact them at 617-244-6500 or visit them at www.bakerelman.com

About Baker Elman

With over 60 years of experience in the area, Baker Elman Plumbing is the leading plumbing company in Boston and the surrounding areas. They are confident in their ability to be your full service Boston plumbing specialist offering high-quality workmanship at affordable rates.
They serve many areas in Massachusetts including Boston plumbing, Cambridge plumbing, Somerville plumbing, Arlington plumbing, Belmont plumbing, Brookline plumbing, Jamaica Plain plumbing, Newton plumbing, West Roxbury plumbing, and Watertown plumbing

For for information about their services, visit them at www.bakerelman.com