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.