Do you feel like a plumbing beginner? You’re not alone. Everyday DIYers face the same common plumbing mistakes. Knowing what to be aware of can save you time and money. Learn how to avoid the most common plumbing pitfalls and tackle your project with confidence!
Using the Wrong Tools
One of the most common plumbing mistakes made by Do-It-Yourselfers is using the wrong tools for jobs. Not having the right size socket or pipe wrench can cause a task to take longer than necessary, or even damage both the plumbing fixture and your tools! Additionally, failing to have a specialized tool such as a “cold chisel” for certain tasks can lead to damage from forceful attempts at removing or replacing parts. Using a clamping device like channel locks instead of taking apart parts carefully can also lead to significant damage.
Before beginning any plumbing job, it’s important to assess what tools you will need and make sure you have them available before you start. It’s much more efficient (and less messy!) if you do not have to stop part way through a project in order to acquire additional parts or equipment. Furthermore, never substitute unconventional alternatives like kitchen utensils – they often fail to deliver quality results, and they may even break in your hands while in use!
One of the most common plumbing mistakes made by DIYers is over-tightening connections. While connections should be tightened securely, it’s important to know when to stop so as not to cause damage. Tightening a connection too much can cause the threads to break, resulting in a leak or broken fixture. On the other hand, not tightening it enough can also cause a leak or cause the joints between pipes and fittings to loosen and become unstable over time.
To maximize longevity and secure connections properly, plumbers commonly use particular criteria for tightening fixtures and pipes during installation. When attaching pipes with thread tape, for example, finger tight is usually sufficient; no tools are required at all. When working with compression fittings, use two wrenches on each side—one fully tightened and one only slightly – but always turn clockwise until it’s just snug; never leave any part loose.
It’s also important to remember that some parts may require specific tools like pipe wrenches or adjustable or open-ended wrenches instead of standard wrenches in order to tighten them completely without damaging either pieces of the fitting. Finally, even if tools are employed, always use hand tight applications wherever possible—this technique involves only using your hands without any type of wrench as far as you can take it before using a tool take it a few final turns further until it’s just snugly attached.
One of the most common plumbing mistakes DIYers make is ignoring corrosion. Corrosion in pipes or fixtures can be difficult to identify but it can also have a devastating effect on your plumbing system. If left unchecked, corrosion will cause pipes to weaken and eventually fail, leading to water leaks that can result in costly water damage. In order to minimize visits from the plumber and prevent costly repairs, it’s important for homeowners to inspect plumbing systems for signs of corrosion on a regular basis.
Signs of corrosion include:
- discolored or rusty-looking materials;
- flaky deposits on pipes or fixtures;
- weak casting near fittings or elbows; and,
- loose toilets and sinks due to weakened mounting surfaces.
To reduce the risk of corrosion, use non-metallic materials when making repairs and keep areas around home plumbing dry.
Not Turning Off the Water Supply
When attempting a plumbing repair or installation, an important yet all-too-common mistake is neglecting to turn off the water supply before beginning work. If you don’t remember to cut off the water, it could lead to a huge mess, flooded rooms, destroyed entranceways and irreparable damage not only to your house but also your personal items. Before planning any repair or installation job involving plumbing , be sure to always first identify and turn off the main water supply valve.
It’s imperative that you know where your home’s main water valve is located and how it works. When in doubt call a plumber who can show you exactly where it is and make sure it functions correctly. The main shutoff valve controls all of the plumbing fixtures in your home that use water so if anything goes wrong while you are doing a project, it will save valuable time if you can use this rather than having to search for each individual pipe’s switch as well as prevent any further disaster from occurring in the case of leakage.
Not Measuring the Space or Parts Accurately
Accurately measuring the dimensions of the parts you will be installing, as well as the space you are working in, is a vital step in successful DIY plumbing. If a part does not fit correctly or does not perform to its best ability in the available space, it can lead to costly repairs down the line. Measuring not only helps to ensure that you get the right part for your project, but also that it will fit correctly and work properly when it is installed. It’s important to take accurate measurements of all aspects of a plumbing project with care and precision.
In addition to measuring the parts themselves, make sure you plan out each aspect of your project accurately beforehand. This includes determining where pipes are supposed to be installed and considering possible issues like gravity or water pressure that may affect how they operate. You should also consider any electrical systems around your work area and read up on how they might interact with your plumbing system so you can solve any problems before they arise. Failing to plan ahead could put your safety at risk or cause further damage down the line if something doesn’t go right during installation.
Skipping the Necessary Permits and Inspections
When undertaking a plumbing project, it’s important to remember that some work requires permits and inspections from your local municipality. In most cases, the homeowner is responsible for obtaining the appropriate permits and scheduling any necessary inspections. It’s important to be aware of what type of work is required to be done by a licensed plumber and what can be done without one—permits will often differ based on scope of work.
Before beginning any plumbing project, consider whether or not any permits are necessary in order to ensure compliance with local codes and regulations. Additionally, you should also consider scheduling an inspection after project completion, so a professional can make sure everything is up to code. Avoiding this step could lead to costly repairs in the future or fines imposed by your local building department.
If you’re uncertain if any permits or inspections are needed for your particular job, do not hesitate to contact your local building department or even consult a professional plumber for assistance. Doing so can save you from long-term headaches and potential risks associated with ignoring code regulations in the future.
Not Testing for Leaks
When making a repair to a plumbing system, homeowners often forget to check for possible leaks. This can lead to significant damage inside the home or waste of water if the leak persists for an extended period of time. It is essential to test for leaks after completing any minor repairs.
To test the plumbing system, start at the highest point in the system and allow it to run while monitoring each connection. If you notice any wet spots in an area that was not previously wet, it is likely a sign of a leak. The leak could be caused by several factors, most often improper installation or damaged fittings or valves.
For larger projects involving an extended pipe installation process, it is quite common for an unexpected leak to occur post-installation. It can also be helpful to perform a pressure test before and after repairs are made in order to ensure that no additional leaks have occurred while working on the system and that proper connections were made between pipes and fittings. To perform such tests use special tools available from hardware stores or knowledgeable professionals who specialize in plumbing services.
Improperly Installing Pipes or Fixtures
Installing pipes or fixtures incorrectly can lead to a variety of problems including water leakage, freeze damage, and potential for mold growth. Before tackling any plumbing repairs or replacements, it’s important that you become familiar with the job and understand the local plumbing codes.
Common mistakes when installing pipes and fixtures include:
- Not shutting off the water properly.
- Not double-checking measurements (particularly when connecting to existing pipes).
- Sealing leaks with adhesive tape instead of proper materials.
- Not allowing for expansion when doing new installations.
- Using inappropriate pipe size (water pressure decreases in larger pipes).
- Not having proper insulation in place to protect from frost damage.
Properly installing plumbing components requires attention to detail and good knowledge of current plumbing guidelines in your area. If you feel like the task may be too big for you to handle, it may be wise to contact a professional plumber or licensed home construction contractor.
Home plumbing can cause significant issues if not well taken care of, as neglected plumbing leads to a greater chance of leaks and other serious problems. Regular checkups and maintenance can help save you a lot of trouble down the road, not to mention a large sum of money on unexpected repairs. Here are some simple steps you should take to maintain your home’s plumbing system:
- Clean out drains regularly. This will prevent clogs and other buildups in the pipes that can cause flooding or water damage.
- Check point-of-use fixtures such as faucets, toilets and showerheads for leaks or issues that need repair. Pay attention to any changes in water pressure or discolored water that could indicate corrosion or debris buildup in the pipes.
- Ensure drains do not flow too quickly by installing strainers or stoppers at fixtures prone to blockages and overflows.
- Check every part of your plumbing system for signs of wear and tear such as rusting pipes, leaky seals, stretching hoses, etc., and contact a licensed plumber if needed for repairs.
- Perform an annual inspection from a licensed plumber who can identify any potential problems with your home’s pipes that could become major issues over time if left unchecked. This may also include testing for contamination such as lead or other hazardous materials coming from old piping systems.
Not Knowing When to Call a Professional Plumber
When it comes to plumbing, knowing when to call in a professional can save you money, time, and frustration. DIY plumbing repairs can seem promising at first glance; however, some plumbing issues are more complex than they appear to be and require the skill and expertise of an experienced plumber. Before taking on a complex issue yourself, it’s important to know when it is important to contact a professional. Here are some common mistakes DIYers make when it comes to handling their own plumbing repairs that could be avoided with the help of a professional plumber:
- Not Having the Proper Tools – In order for successful DIY plumbing repairs and installations, one has need of the right equipment; from wrenches and pliers,to specific tools like tubing cutters or materials like joint compounds. Not having these tools or materials can lead to further damage and costly replacements down the road. Qualified plumbers come prepared with all the necessary materials needed for any repair.
- Not Having Proper Knowledge of Water Pressure – Too much pressure in your pipes puts them at risk of bursting which can cause serious damage if not fixed properly. Alternatively, not having enough pressure makes water flow harder and tasks longer then normal as well as potentially leading to leaks down the line through corrosion and improper fitting. Working with a licensed plumber gives you peace of mind that areas such as water pressure which need exact measurement are taken into account throughout any replacement or repair processes required within your home’s systems.
- Incorrect Installation Techniques – If installation technique is incorrect it can cause major issues later down the line due to improper fitting as well as providing potential for cracks in pipes or hoses over time leading up gas or water leaks respectively which could lead up catastrophic damages within your home over time if left unchecked or unnoticed from inadequate fitting in replacement pieces during installation. Experienced professionals know proper techniques for working with both plastic pipe fixtures as well as copper based applications leaving little room for error in their workmanship.
When it comes to successful DIY plumbing jobs, knowing what not to do is just as important as knowing the right techniques. While plumbing can be a rewarding challenge – completed with satisfaction and pride – the consequences of overlooked warning signs or poor techniques can have disastrous results.
Whether you’re troubleshooting an existing issue or starting your own plumbing project, stick to these tips and trust your best judgement. Above all, err on the side of caution: even when you’re confident in yourself and your abilities, it’s always best to restrict certain jobs to professionals. After all, for most common plumbing mistakes, there’s no do-over – so foresight and careful deliberation are essential.
With patience and knowledge of both potential risks and safe practices, any DIY project can be a success story!
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the most common type of plumbing mistake DIYers make?
The most common type of plumbing mistake DIYers make is using the wrong type of pipe for a given job. For example, using PVC pipe for hot water is not advised as it can slowly degrade over time.
What happens if I don’t use the right type of pipe?
Using the wrong type of pipe can lead to a variety of problems, including water leaks, poor water pressure, and decreased efficiency. It can also increase the risk of water damage due to the pipes not being able to withstand the pressure.
What should I do if I’m not sure which type of pipe to use?
If you’re not sure which type of pipe to use, it’s always best to consult a professional plumber for advice. A professional plumber will be able to assess your needs and recommend the best type of pipe for the job.
Andrew Lee is the founder of My Plumber. He has been in the industry for over 20 years and has extensive experience in all aspects of plumbing. He also enjoys sharing his knowledge with others and has written several articles and given talks on plumbing.