Common DIY Plumbing Mistakes

When you need plumbing repairs or maintenance, or you’re looking to do a replacement or renovation, doing it on your own can be a great way to save money. But, that’s only if everything goes as planned, and if you’ve ever done DIY projects around the house, you’ll know that rarely happens.

Unfortunately, it’s all too easy to make simple mistakes that can end up costing more to fix than if you had hired a plumber in the first place. Here are a few of the most common mistakes homeowners make when tackling their own plumbing projects.

8 common DIY plumbing mistakes to avoid

Mistake #1. Forgetting to turn off the water

Before doing almost any plumbing repair, maintenance or replacement, you want to turn the water off to the sink or fixture you’re working on. If you don’t, you could end up with a flood on your hands.

In addition to making sure that you turn off the water to the fixture in question, it’s also a good idea to know where the main water shut off valve to your home is. If you have water rushing into your home, it’s imperative that you know where and how to turn it off as quickly as possible.

Mistake #2. Using chemical drain cleaner

When you have a slow-moving drain (or a drain that’s completely clogged), it’s tempting to reach for the drain cleaner for a quick fix to the problem. But, the reality is that this is the absolute last thing you should do when you need to clean a drain.

Chemical drain cleaners can actually do a lot of damage to your pipes, especially if you rely on them too often. You’re much better off with a natural drain cleaner, like a mixture of baking soda and vinegar, or a drain snake.

Mistake #3. Tightening connections too much

The tighter the connection between two pipes, the less likely they are to leak, right? Wrong. In fact, the opposite is true.

When you tighten connections too much, you run the risk of doing damage, like cracking fittings, stripping threads, breaking washers, damaging fittings and more. All of this damage can end up causing leaks.

When tightening connections, do so carefully and properly, and stop when the connection is secure.

Mistake #4. Failing to plan

Too often, DIYers go into plumbing projects with the belief that common sense will be enough to get the job done. But, the reality is that plumbing takes training and know-how, and when you’re tackling plumbing projects on your own, you need to have a plan.

Long before you start actually trying to do the project, take some time to do research about the steps you’ll need to take to get it done, as well as about possible problems that may arise and how to solve them when they do.

Mistake #5. Not getting necessary permits

When homeowners want to upgrade things in their homes, they often choose to handle the renovations on their own, particularly if they are minor renovations, in order to save money. However, having the right skills and equipment is a good start, but many homeowners skip the necessary permits.

Building codes and permits are designed to keep everyone living in your home safe, and unpermitted work can lead to problems that could go unnoticed for years. Having unpermitted plumbing work could cause difficulties down the road when you sell your home or need to renew your insurance.

Mistake #6. Connecting the wrong pipes

Even if a homeowner knows a thing or two about plumbing, what many don’t know is that, when you connect mismatched pipes, an extra step needs to be taken. When connecting copper pipes with galvanized steel pipes, you need to utilize a specific fitting, called a “dielectric union.”

If you fail to use a dielectric union when connecting copper and galvanized steel pipes, leaks can, and will, start forming over time. When this happens, the pipes will have to be disconnected and then re-connected properly with a dielectric union.

Mistake #7. Not having the right tools

With any job, having the right tools on hand will give you your best chance at a successful outcome. And, when tackling plumbing projects, you’re going to need very specific plumbing tools in order to get the job done properly.

A few tools you’ll need to have on hand for plumbing projects include a plumber’s wrench, a basin wrench and a hand auger. But, do some research before starting the project you’re working on so you can get the right tools for the job.

Mistake #8. Refusing to admit defeat

DIY plumbing projects can, and do, go wrong all the time, and unfortunately, simple mistakes can leave you with even bigger problems than you were dealing with in the first place. Knowing when to throw in the towel and call a professional is a key part of preventing DIY repairs from becoming bigger plumbing problems.

When you’re getting ready to take on a plumbing project on your own, it’s always a good idea to know who you’ll call in the event of an emergency, or if you need additional help. Having a plumber on hand will prevent you from having to research one in the midst of chaos.


Having a plan, making sure you have the right tools and equipment, getting the proper permits and turning off the water are all helpful at preventing these and many other plumbing mistakes, but the only way to avoid them altogether is by hiring a professional plumber to handle the job.

The best place to find the right local plumber in your area is with Top Rated Local®, your go-to local business directory. From one place, you can compare plumbers near you side by side, read plumber reviews from across the web, get a snapshot of a plumber’s overall online reputation and more.

Find a Top Rated Local plumber near you today!

The Importance Of Reputation Management For Plumbers

Online reputation is vital to a plumber’s success

The world of online reputation management may seem a bit too much for your local, family-owned plumbing company, but it definitely should not be overlooked or brushed off as being only helpful for younger generations.

Let us fill you in on why your online reputation matters and what you can accomplish by taking control of it! By understanding and managing your online reputation, you can gain valuable insight into the minds of your customers, see where your reputation is shining or lacking, and communicate with your current and potential future clients!

What your reviews tell people

Whether for last-minute emergency services or a long-awaited planned project, when it comes time for the average consumer to choose a plumber, most people are going to turn to the internet before deciding who to hire.

As a local business, your online reputation can make or break you. Today, your online reviews hold as much weight as word of mouth has in the past.

In fact, 88-percent of consumers trust online reviews just as much as they would trust a personal recommendation. While positive reviews can help get your name out and grow your business, negative reviews can result in a bad reputation, which will undoubtedly harm your business.

Your loyal fans, your current customers and an untold number of future potential customers are using online reviews every day to make their purchasing decisions.

Think about it. From the most mundane household products, like sponges and hand soap, all the way up to important services, like optometrists and family doctors, people almost never choose a product or service without doing some research first.

That means that it is more important than ever to stay on top of and manage your online reputation. Think of your reviews as the new word of mouth or referral.

Imagine a potential customer searches for local plumbers and comes across your page and a competitor’s page. Your page has no reviews and theirs has a few positive reviews scattered across Facebook and Google. That customer is most likely going to go with the business that people have recommended through their reviews!

Many times, people are looking for a plumber with some level of urgency, and the average person doesn’t have much, if any, plumbing knowledge. They really rely on those reviews to help them know which business to trust!

Plumbing is a competitive industry, and you can be the best plumber in the city, but if potential customers aren’t told as much by someone other than yourself, they have no reason to believe you.

Check out your competition

Not only can your online reputation give you a leg-up in the industry, but it can also give you some good insight into what customers care about.

Browse through the reviews of some of your competitors. What are the top compliments and criticisms being made about other businesses in your field?

Maybe you hadn’t thought to really focus on communication, but you’ve noticed that that’s one of the things people complain about the most. You can help your business to stand out even more by going out of your way to be the best when it comes to communication!

You commit to responding to all voicemails by the end of the day, you start to send out follow-up emails, and maybe you even set up your employees with a texting service so they can let the customer know when they are on their way. Soon enough, excellent communication skills become something you are known for!

By seeing where others are struggling, you can get a good idea about what is going on in the minds of the consumers, as well as what they value and what tends to bother them the most.

You can also see where you might be outshining your competitors! By reading through the reviews, you might notice that you’re the only local company that keeps getting compliments about your friendly technicians.

You can lean into that when it comes to your branding. Start by saying that customer service is something you’re known for, because at this point, it is, and you have the reviews to back that up!

Make yourself more visible

It is crucial for you to show up as one of the top results when someone searches for businesses in your industry. In fact, it’s been shown that 75-percent of people never scroll past the first page of search engine results!

If you don’t show up on that first page, it’s almost as bad as not showing up at all. If you’re trying to buy your way to the top with keywords and paid ads, get ready to shell out the big bucks.

An easier, and significantly cheaper, way to boost your visibility is through reviews.

Your SEO (search engine optimization) is boosted when you provide original, fresh content, and new customer reviews are a form of content that not only helps by giving you precious feedback, but also helps to get your brand noticed by those algorithms that can push you to the top!

Communicate with your customers

Online or off, there’s no doubt that communication is valued in the service industry.

Online reviews give you a unique platform where you can communicate with your consumer base quickly and publically.

If a negative review comes in, you can quickly address the issue, showing potential customers that you are not only communicative but that you also value customer feedback. In some cases, you can even turn around a bad review by addressing the customer’s concerns and showing them that you care about their experience.


Make managing your reputation easy with Top Rated Local

Plumbers who have been in business for a while will and have a long list of clients probably also have reviews across many different platforms, like Yelp, Home Advisor, Angie’s List, Facebook, and Google — Top Rated Local can help you keep track of where your reputation is by bringing them all to one place!

It has never been easier to take control of your online reputation, and with some help from Top Rated Local, you can quickly get the shining reputation you’ve dreamed of.

Originally published 10/21/19

New Jersey’s Top Rated Local® Award Winner: American Way Plumbing Heating & Air Conditioning

Top Rated Local® is pleased to announce that American Way Plumbing Heating & Air Conditioning is the number one plumber in New Jersey!

“These guys are awesome! My water heater started leaking in my basement, and I knew I had to get the situation fixed right away because I was heading out of town for a week. They responded to my calls, gave me a solid quote, showed up and did a great job. This is my second time with this company.” -Ethel L.

That’s just one of the more than 400 reviews on verified sites that have helped American Way Plumbing Heating & Air earn a 95.15 Rating Score™, a 4.91 average star rating, and a 2019 Top Rated Local award!

Not Your Average HVAC and Plumbing Company

Al, the owner of American Way Plumbing Heating & Air Conditioning, took some time to speak with our team about the business’ online reputation.

We first wanted to know what it is that Al believes to be the thing that makes his business different from their competition. “In our type of business, the most important thing is honesty then professionalism. Of course, we also are competitive, but we don’t rip people off,” Al said. “We make our community better by doing the right thing when we replace the heat, air conditioning, chimney, hot water heaters. Just do the right thing, follow the codes and that’s how you make it better. Do the work safely, also. Keep in mind — we work with fire, gas, carbon monoxide, electricity, and water all in the same machine — so it has to be done perfectly right, up to code, so nobody gets hurt.”

Building Success Through

Being an award-winning business owner with tons of fantastic online reviews, Al knows a thing or two about what it takes to build and maintain a terrific online reputation. Here’s his advice for other business owners:

“Just do your job professionally, and be honest — that’s it. Be reasonable with your customers as far as pricing, and you’ll be growing by yourself and don’t have to spend money on advertisements. I always tell my guys, ‘We are technicians; we are not salesmen. You don’t go to the customer’s house and start selling him stuff left and right whether he or she needs it or not.’ That’s something we don’t do in our company. Some companies, the minute they walk into the house… they actually hire a salesman. They don’t even know anything about plumbing or heating or air conditioning. They are just a mouth and just talk — that’s what they do for a living. The minute they walk into your house they start selling you a contract and this and that, which I never had any contract in my business. I just go over when the customer calls me. I don’t believe in contract and service agreements.”


Congratulations to the team at American Way Plumbing Heating & Air Conditioning for being a 2019 Top Rated Local award winner, and thank you so much, Al, for taking the time to speak with us!