There is something to be said about being able to take care of your own home and become a good DIYer. Not only is there a sense of accomplishment that comes with finishing a home repair or improvement project, but you can save some dough. Everyone tries their best to do their own repairs, but sometimes that lack of expertise really comes in to play, especially when it comes to DIY plumbing. We’ve seen a lot of homeowners take on projects that they aren’t fully capable of, and it can end up being more of a mess than when they started. So, when it comes to plumbing, we ask that you just give us a call—we know what we’re doing. Here are the top 5 plumbing fails we see homeowners make, and what you can do to avoid a disaster.
#1 Using the Wrong Tools
One of the most common mistakes we see is people using the wrong tools to remove or attach plumbing fixtures. And not just using the wrong tools, but using them incorrectly. Using the incorrect tools can strip and damage fixtures or pipes.
Many plumbing repairs require special tools to get the job done right. For example, if someone is attempting to de-clog their pipes themselves, and they use a plumber-grade auger to do it, they can severely damage their pipes and fixtures by not knowing the proper way to use it. Additionally, if you do which tools you need and how to use them, it’s often in your best interest to rent them rather than purchase them.
#2 Overusing Drain Cleaning Chemicals
All too often, a homeowner will notice their kitchen or bathroom sink draining slowly and immediately go for the household drain cleaner. Not only does this not guarantee that is will clear your clog, but the corrosive chemicals can damage o-rings, gaskets, and metal pipes. People also end up pouring in more than they actually need, and don’t let hot water run long enough afterward to ensure the cleaner is washed out along with the clog.
Before using a drain cleaner, it may be more effective to use a plastic drain snake first, or if you can, remove the P-trap underneath your sink and dump out the clog. For preventative measures, a mixture of baking soda and vinegar flushed with hot water down your sink drain can work just as well for breaking up small clogs without the need for harsh chemicals.
#3 Forgetting to Shut the Water Off – OOPS!
Many homeowners think that if they’re just doing a quick fix or swap out of a pipe or valve, they don’t need to shut the water off. That won’t exactly work. Failing to shut off the water can bring a slew of problems, including a build-up of water pressure causing water to back up into your basement, water coming out as you’re trying to make a repair, and just wasting water in general. No matter what size plumbing problem you are trying to fix, always, always shut the water off.
#4 Skimping on Materials & Mismatching the Pipes
Too often, a homeowner will head to their local home center or hardware store and pick up some new pipes that are the right size but not the right material. If you don’t know what kind of pipes you have at home, don’t guess and purchase whatever is affordable at the hardware store.
Mixing different types of metal like galvanized steel and copper, for example, can lead to corrosion, and inevitably a burst pipe down the road. Mixing these two types of metal can cause a reaction that will damage your pipes, so it’s very important to only install using the same metals you have already.
#5 Over-tightening Their Connections
Now, this is something that comes from simple lack of experience—homeowners thinking they need to crank that connection so tight to make sure there’s no leak. This is not the case. Cranking too hard on pipe, fittings, or bolts can risk cracking it, and you could have a leaky fixture within weeks. Especially over-tightening the bolts at the base of your toilet can actually crack the porcelain, and then you have a whole other problem on your hands. The connections should be snug, but if you are forcing it to go further than being tight, you are doing too much.
Some other things homeowners do that lead to plumbing problems include flushing anything but toilet paper down the toilet, using duct tape for repairs rather than plumbers tape, and thinking they are a plumber when they are not. Attempting to do DIY plumbing can just lead to damages, leaks, and a waste of materials.
Leave the plumbing job to the pros and always give us a call at AJ Alberts. We can quickly come to inspect, diagnose, and repair your plumbing issue without further damaging anything, and you can be on your way. Instead of picking up that wrench, pick up the phone and call us at 651-738-0580, or fill out our easy service request form here.