Hiram M. Hamilton graduated university with a BA in Journalism but became a trusted employee at his father’s HVAC company. With 20 years of experience under his belt, Hiram is a specialist in the industry and a self-thought plumber. However, his passion for journalism prompted him to pick up the pen again. Now, he is writing informative articles related to HVAC issues, home services, and plumbing tips and tricks to educate the public and help people become more self-reliant.
5 Common DIY Plumbing Mistakes
Each year, more and more people are trying Do-It-Yourself projects as a way to save money, learn a skill, and empower themselves in their homeownership or lifestyle. However, many people do not understand that there is a reason for all the plumbers, carpenters, and electricians in the world. DIY can end up a costly, frustrating, or even dangerous experience if errors are made in the process. Here are some common DIY plumbing mistakes.
Using Liquid Drain Cleaners
Using liquid drain cleaners might not seem like a classic DIY project. It is a quick and supposedly simple process where the homeowner dumps some chemicals down the drain and lets science do all the heavy lifting. However, these caustic materials can be hazardous, and their impact on the actual drain can be ineffective or destructive in a worst-case scenario.
Many people who are attempting to unclog their drain use too much liquid drain cleaner, which can damage the pipes and fittings to the point of causing leaks. Drain cleaner is also not the fastest way to clear a clogged drain; snaking the drain is much more efficient and better for the plumbing.
Some rubber gaskets are destroyed by liquid drain cleaners, leading to leaks in the future. And if this bottled solution does not work, a plumber will have to contend with corrosive material when they disassemble and unclog your drain, which can be dangerous.
Some DIY-ers just want to feel like a strong and capable individual, and DIY is a good way to empower yourself and learn something. However, not every project or technique requires you to max out your effort. Shut off valves, for example, fuse in place when not used for a long time. Applying too much muscle to these valves can damage and ruin them, or even break off the knob or valve stem.
Too much strength is easy to use when tightening connections, as well. Overtightening connections is the number one plumbing DIY mistake. Pipe fittings will become weakened by overtightening, opening you up to a break and a flood later on, even weeks later. Plastic toilet and faucet fittings are the most susceptible to cracking from overtightening.
The bolts that hold a toilet to the floor can also be overtightened, which will crack the porcelain and destroy the toilet. Take care with any and all nuts and fittings, because they do not need as much power as you might expect.
Not Replacing Enough
A DIY project can quickly turn into four trips to the hardware store in one day. Rookies do not understand the importance of spare parts and do not have the experience yet to know which parts often need spares on hand. Doing a plumbing project without extra joint nuts, washers, and rubber gaskets could just result in your leak relocating to a different part of your plumbing. If one piece needs to be replaced, it might be prudent to replace others around it of the same age.
Not Turning Off the Water Main
The main water shutoff for a house is the safest way to prevent damage during an installation or plumbing project. Professional plumbers always turn off the water main, so DIYers should follow this example. That way, you can hopefully avoid a flash flood in your home and a call to a Kingman emergency plumber to fix the damage you have caused.
Incorrect Drain Fittings
With tees, wyes, elbows, and traps, drains have a lot of new terminology for parts that seem pretty familiar at first glance. Choosing the incorrect drain design can leave you with frequent clogs, building code violations, or a house full of sewer gas. The trap keeps swerve gas from flowing up through the pipes into the building, so choosing the wrong flow path can drain the trap entirely and open you up to this disgusting situation.
Plumbers add a ton of value over DIYers for their knowledge of building codes, which cincorrectan help you avoid dangerous violations or potential fines. If you are dead set on a DIY drain change, someone at your local hardware store may be able to point you in the right direction.