How to Avoid DIY Plumbing Mistakes

Many homeowners take pleasure in completing basic home improvement tasks without taking on the expense of professional plumbing repair services. Avoiding the common DIY plumbing mistakes that many encounter will help maintain your home more effectively and efficiently.


Failure to turn off the water

Turning off the water is the first step for the majority of plumbing projects, but it’s an easy step to forget. Attempting to remove a fixture or fix a pipe before turning off the water can result in a nasty spray of water and a big mess to clean up. The shut off valve for most fixtures can be found on the wall beneath the fixture. If it’s hard to turn the shut off valve, use a plumber’s wrench to help you. If you cannot find the interior shut off valve, then you can shut the water off from the outside.

Tackling jobs without proper skills or tools

Many homeowners, with some basic plumbing knowledge, sometimes find it tempting to take on more projects than they know how to handle. There are a number of tutorials online to guide homeowners through the basics, and there’s online guides to help with a specific task. Every DIY plumber should have a basic plumbing DIY kit, consisting of a hand auger, basin wrench and plumber’s wrench.

Overuse of drain cleaner

Clogged drains are an inconvenient and unavoidable part of homeownership and drain cleaner can present a pretty easy fix. Although drain cleaner is acceptable for occasional clogs, regular use of drain cleaner can damage pipes.

For persistent clogs, try a drain-safe solution, like a hand auger, a natural drain cleaner made with vinegar, salt baking soda and water or a rental drain snake.

Mismatching your pipes

Minor water leaks – such as those coming from under a sink – often inspire a homeowner to try their hand at plumbing. When replacing a leaky pipe, many DIY plumbers choose the wrong size or type, or try to make the right size fit with the wrong connectors. Galvanized metal pipes should never connect directly to copper or there could be a risk of corrosion. When pipes begin to leak, and eventually they will, the copper and galvanized steel pipe will need to be disconnected and new fittings put into place.

Hire a professional plumber

There are some DIY jobs that you can take on yourself, such as installing a new faucet, making minor repairs to a toilet or dealing with minor pipe blockages. But any project that is beyond your ability, or requires accessing main water lines, is best left to the professionals. While the cost of hiring a plumber will be more than the materials and doing it yourself, the money paid is offset by the assurance that a complicated job will be properly completed, and without risk of error due to inexperience.

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