Many of us like to be self-sufficient and feel a sense of accomplishment solving problems on our own. There’s nothing wrong with this perspective in life, and it can be beneficial over time. However, plumbing tends to be one of those areas where a simple fix can turn into an even bigger problem. Understanding which common mistakes often lead to bigger problems helps avoid painful costs that can start with many do-it-yourself (DIY) plumbing projects. These include the following:
1. Remembering the Main Water Valve
Every home has a shut-off valve that cuts off the water flow from a municipal water supply to the home’s plumbing grid. This allows us to realize reliable water flow from a faucet, shower, or toilet. Even homes on a well pump or similar have some kind of main feed valve with similar functions. Forgetting this aspect can lead to messy mistakes if one starts opening up pipes or handles without turning off the water feed first. And trying to put a grip back on with a massive pressure-flow bursting is almost impossible.
2. Those Darn Quick-Solution Drain Clearing Chemicals
The fundamental working ingredient in a drain-clearing chemical product is acid. It burns its way through organic gunk and other debris, breaking it down enough that water can again flow heavily through a pipeline. However, the chemical mixture doesn’t just eat up drain debris; it also doesn’t help the inside lining of pipes, joints, or components. And that means eventually enough acid can break a seam to cause a leak. These products are also risky to handle and can result in serious personal injuries as well. Overall, they’re just best to avoid entirely despite the immediate convenience. A plumbing snake tool is a far better choice, physically removing clogs saves your pipes’ integrity. They also don’t result in burn injuries.
3. Tightening Too Much
Many joints, faucet handles, and connections of pipes require to tighten down a threaded part. However, most pipe metals are soft and will damage the connecting threads. Also, a connection that is too tight can create a weak point and cause the pipe to break at the thread. It will start as a small crack and then eventually grow, often missed right after job completion.
4. Underestimating Everything Needed
If one is not familiar with what a plumbing job needs, lots of needed parts are missed. This turns into a ping-pong travel event to the local hardware store multiple times for each missing part. It’s better to do a job with full understanding upfront than to guess through it based on the parts that come off a piece being worked on.
5. Using Any Old Tool
Some individuals will try any tool reasonably useful to do a plumbing job. Most fixes, however, require specific tools for the job. Using the wrong tool can make the job worse and damage the plumbing fixture in the process, creating a bigger mess and cost.
6. Playing With Fire
Some plumbing lines have to be handled by soldering or welding. If a person doesn’t know what he is doing, this can result in serious hand burns or eye damage. This requires training and skill, so it’s best to leave it to the professionals.
Something Everyone Can Do
If you have a plumbing fix that you’re not familiar with (i.e. you haven’t done it at least 10 times in the last few years), do not guess. Instead, call professional help and get the job done right. Yes, there may sometimes be a service call fee, but overall these tend to cost far less than a DIY mistake that turns into a big disaster far greater than how things started. Besides, you can still watch the pros do their work and learn something in the process. So, it is a double-win for you, and you might even see a risky surprise risk you thankfully just avoided.