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The Top 8 Most Common DIY Plumbing Mistakes

By | DIY, Plumbing | No Comments

We’ve all heard doing DIY projects is way more cost effective than calling a pro, but if you fail to do the job correctly, you can wind up spending way more than you would have if you had used a professional plumbing service in the first place. Let’s take a look at the top eight DIY plumbing mistakes, how to avoid them and how to fix them.

1. Overuse of liquid drain cleaners.

This is arguably one of the most common mistakes most people make when it comes to anything plumbing related. Most people either use too much drain cleaner or use it too often. If it doesn’t work to remove the clog you or a professional plumber will have to remove the p-tap and at that point it will be filled with corrosive liquid, which isn’t exactly ideal. Plus, too much drain cleaner can damage metal traps and pipes and actually destroys rubber gaskets causing leaks down the road.

Instead, you can easily just remove the p tap and pour out the debris. Even easier yet, a drain snake or barbed drain tool does wonders for tough clogs.

2. Over tightening connections.

When you don’t want a soda to go flat you try to screw the lid on as tight as possible, in fact with most things you seal, a good rule of thumb is tighter the better. However, this is not the case with plumbing. It’s a common misconception, but over tightening fittings can cause fittings to crack, leading to a leak. Worse yet, the crack could develop later causing a huge flood at an inconvenient time. Plus, over tightening the toilet closet bolts at the floor or between the bowl and tank can crack the porcelain, at which point you’re going to need a new toilet. It doesn’t take much strength to seal a connection.

3. Using the wrong type of thread tape or wrapping it improperly.

Thread tape, or teflon tape needs to be wrapped clockwise around the threads in order to work properly. Wrapping the tap the other way will not seal the connection properly. Also, make sure you’re using thin white or thick pink tape for water carrying fittings and yellow gas related tape for gas fittings.

4. Replacing one piece at a time.

Oftentimes when doing a DIY project, many people will only replace the part causing the issue. A good rule of thumb to follow is if one piece is worn, it’s likely other pieces are too. So, following this, go ahead and just rebuild the whole thing instead of replacing pieces one at a time. Plus, the pieces are pretty cheap so it won’t cost an arm and a leg to replace everything at once.

5. Forgetting or choosing not to turn off the water supply.

Professionals turn off the water supply before they start any job, what makes you feel like you can just “quickly swap in a new valve”? Failing to replace the part quickly will lead to a huge flood of water which could cause thousands of dollars. Once again, when water damage can be so extensive and expensive, opt for a professional instead of trying to do it yourself.

6. Using too much force trying to turn a stuck shut off valve.

If something is stuck, don’t try to force the knob to turn. This will lead to a broken knob or even the valve stem breaking off completely if you’re not careful. Instead, use an adjustable wrench to loosen the stem nut just enough to break the seal. Then you can safely turn the knob without working up a sweat or breaking anything.

7. Not having the proper tools or skills.

Having the wrong tools can lead to huge problems. Don’t try to “make do” with the tools you have. If you know they’re not right for the job you’re doing, consider getting the correct ones. Tools aren’t very expensive and a set of wrenches can go a long way. The same goes for using the wrong parts or connecting mismatched parts. This can lead to leaks or cracks and can break plumbing and safety codes, which brings us to the last but maybe most important DIY plumbing mistake to avoid…

8. Doing unpermitted DIY work.

Safety codes exist for a reason: to keep residents safe in their homes. This sometimes gets overlooked by DIYers and the consequences are costly or sometimes even deadly. DIY repairs may seem fine for months or even years, but when it comes time to sell your home and have it inspected, you might be in big trouble. You can avoid this by familiarizing yourself with building and safety codes before performing any work, or better yet, calling a professional. If you’re in the Boise area give Knight Plumbing a call for the best plumbing services in the Treasure Valley!