With the necessary tools, you can carry out your own plumbing work as efficiently as you could with the aid of a professional plumbing service. However, it’s easy to lose sight of details when working on a project and make small, but critical, mistakes that can lead to dire consequences.
Here is a list of mistakes that DIY plumbers commonly face and how to avoid them.
Overtightening fixtures such as toilet bolts, pipe fittings and supply tubes can cause cracks in the fittings, leading to potential leaks and flooding. Generally, you want to make your connections just snug enough, but not as snug as possible. A good rule to remember is that plumbing-related tightening works inversely to that of other things you seal.
For example, if you close the lid of a soda bottle to prevent it from going flat, you want to screw it on as tight as possible; this is not the case with plumbing. Instead, you will want to avoid tightening too much as this creates undue pressure and impedes the flow of water throughout your home. Simply screwing on the connections will be enough to make a good, watertight seal.
Overtightening a connection will not only put pressure on and crack the fitting, leading to flooding down the line, but it can also cause serious problems if you need to replace the fitting in the future. It can be extremely difficult trying to loosen an overtightened connection, not to mention, it can result in snapping or breaking the pipe in the process. At which point the only option would be to cut the pipe entirely.
Overusing Drain Cleaner
It is important you do not rely on liquid cleaner in hopes of clearing all of your clogged pipes. If you use drain cleaner and it fails to clear a clog, you will have to remove the trap arm, which will be full of the corrosive liquid. So, be wary about your cleaner usage — using too much of it, too frequently, can damage metal traps and pipes, causing leakage.
Instead, the simplest way to unclog bathroom and toilet sinks is to use barbed drainage cleaning tools or a snake. You can also use natural cleaning mixtures made from vinegar, salt, baking powder and hot water. If none of these methods work, give us a call at Graydon Faulstick Plumbing at 570-992-0447 to take a look.
Wrapping Thread Tape Backward or Using the Wrong Tape
Teflon tape, also called PTFE tape, is commonly used in plumbing for sealing pipe threads. The tape needs to be wrapped clockwise around the threads for it to work properly. Oftentimes, DIYers make the mistake of applying the tape the other way, which will not seal the connection properly and will unravel as you screw on the fitting. Wrap the tape at least three times around the thread, at the end of the fitting.
Also make sure you have the appropriate tape for your fitting:
- Use thin white or pink tape for fittings that carry water.
- Use yellow gas-related tape for gas fittings.
- Never use thread tape on flare or connection fittings.
Not Turning Off the Water Supply
Turning off the water should be the first step you take in any plumbing project, so don’t neglect it for any reason. Many DIYers think they can leave the water on and quickly swap in a new valve, but that will likely lead to flooding and up to thousands of dollars in damage to your home.
Make sure to locate and turn off your main shutoff valve, which is usually found in a utility space near where the main water line enters the house, or on an outside wall near the water meter.
Remember, once you have water flooding into your home or into the walls, every moment you waste trying to find the shutoff valve will cause accelerated damage to your home. Before you undertake a plumbing project, start getting in the habit of carefully turning off any and all water supplies leading to your fixture.
Doing Unpermitted DIY Work
One of the most common mistakes that DIY plumbers make is taking on any plumbing work that they are not qualified or permitted to do in their homes. There are a number of building and safety codes that exist to keep you and your home safe, and it’s important that you familiarize yourself with them before performing any work.
Sometimes, doing DIY work that’s beyond your skill or knowledge level can result in damage to your home, or end up costing you more money if you have to pay a contractor to redo the work later. Taking it even further, when it comes time to sell your home or have it inspected, those DIY repairs that you thought were fine may actually land you in serious trouble.
To avoid these ill consequences, find out if you’re equipped to handle a project by reading up on safety codes or consulting with plumbers. Talking to experts will give you a sense of how complex the project is and whether you have the skills and tools to do the job. Feel free to give us a call at Graydon Faulstick Plumbing at 570-992-0447 to discuss all of your plumbing needs!