The “do-it-yourself” mindset has led to whole TV channels. We understand that it might look easy on TV or online, but it might not go so well for your project. We support your enthusiasm, but we want to make sure you do it in the right way. Here are some of the common mistakes we see DIY plumbers make and how to avoid them.
1: Turn off your Water
Turning off your water is the most crucial step before undergoing any kind of repair or installation, DIY or otherwise. As long as your pipes are dry, you won’t cause expensive water damage. If you try to loosen, tighten, or replace anything while the water is still running, you’re more likely to hurt things than help them.
2: Using Toxic Drain Cleaners
Like a lot of things in life, drain cleaners seem like an easy solution but can have damaging side effects. All you have to do is pour it down your drain, and everything will be okay, right? Well, not exactly.
Drain Cleaners Aren’t that Effective
The toxic chemicals in drain cleaners usually use a caustic reaction to get through clogs. The corrosive reaction means it essentially burns it’s way through your clogs. Unfortunately, those chemicals can’t pick and choose what to burn away.
If they can’t make it through a particularly troublesome clog, the chemicals will sit on top of the clog and superheat your pipes. This burning-hot reaction can damage older metal pipes and even soften modern PVC pipes.
Drain Cleaning Chemicals Are Dangerous
These chemicals are designed to cause destructive chemical reactions. If mishandled, you can go blind or suffer chemical burns. Add in the often colorful packaging, and it can be hazardous to have in the reach of children.
3: Mismatched Pipes
So, you notice a small leak and want to fix it. You remember to shut off your water. You go to your local hardware store and find a pipe that looks like it will work and go to install. Everything goes well until you turn the water back on, and the pipe bursts.
You may not have the correct material or the same sizing on the pipe. Improper sealants may also have been a factor in causing your now costly leak.
Just trying to fix a small issue ended up causing a huge problem. Make sure you follow all the proper steps or hire someone who will!
4: Adding Too Many Fixtures
DIYers always have a new project in mind. Whether it’s a new sink or an entirely new bathroom, sometimes our eyes can be a little big for our stomachs. In this case, the stomach is your water supply.
Your pipes are designed with the number of fixtures in mind. Significantly adding to the water consumption of certain parts of the house can cause low water pressure if your pipes aren’t also fixed.
5: Don’t Overtighten
That’s it. That’s the tip.
In all seriousness, you really shouldn’t be using a wrench to tighten a fitting much further than you could with just your hand.
Plumbing is complicated. Remember, most of your pipes are underground or hidden in crawl spaces and basements. The water fixtures in your home are just the tip of a complicated iceberg. As plumbers, it is our job to understand how all of those connections work.
We want to be a resource to you and someone you can go to for help with anything related to the water in your home. You don’t have to take it on alone!