An annoying leaky faucet, leaky pipe, or blocked drain can infuriate homeowners, leading them to attempt DIY fixes instead of seeking professional assistance. But doing it alone could cost them dearly in terms of time, money, and effort.
But homeowners can often make mistakes when fixing their own plumbing, so here are a few common plumbing mistakes to watch out for:
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Many DIYers mistakenly believe that applying more force will cause their joints to hold tighter. Unfortunately, however, overtightening often causes more problems than it prevents:
- Stripping pipe threads
- Cracking fittings
- Breaking plastic washers
- Creating leaks are just some of the side effects of over-tightening
When it comes to pipes, fittings, and toilet bolts, less is always more. Overtightening can cause these items to fracture, mainly galvanized or black pipe tees, elbows, and couplings made from galvanized or black material. While an immediate crack might not become evident immediately, over time, its effects could lead to flooding or water damage that leads to significant expenses for repairs.
Tighten a plumbing fitting until it tightens, then stop tightening further. Any additional tightening can damage fittings, lead to leaks, or warp rubber seals in pipes – an annoying headache that often requires professional help for repair.
Not turning off the water
Though it should go without saying, too many homeowners neglect to turn off the water supply prior to beginning any plumbing projects in their homes. Failing to do this can result in water damage that requires costly repairs that exceed the plan.
Many sinks and toilets come equipped with an easily operable shut-off valve that can quickly and efficiently stop the flow of water, which should be your first step before undertaking plumbing repair work on any pipes or fixtures.
Furthermore, turning this off could prevent accidental flooding caused by clogs in drains or tanks, which could otherwise flood carpeting and flooring surfaces – remember to reactivate it once your plumbing repair job has been completed!
Stripping or cross-threading pipes or fittings
Homeowners tend to believe that with some elbow grease and determination, any home repair project is within their reach – however attempting to tackle plumbing themselves could end up costing more money in the long run.
Tightening pipe fittings too tightly can crack both the fitting and pipe itself while using inappropriate tools can result in further expensive damage; for instance, using a standard pipe wrench to turn a galvanized pipe nipple may result in it breaking.
Problems arise from not using the proper kind of tape in every situation. For instance, not every drain application calls for a sanitary tee; sometimes, you may require something else, such as a wye or long or short sweep elbow instead.
Using the wrong tape
No matter the issue at hand – from clogged drains to broken pipes – having the appropriate tools and knowledge can help make repairs quickly. But using incorrect materials or improper application could cause further complications.
Plumber’s tape (also referred as thread seal tape) can be an excellent solution for fixing leaks and sealing connections on both metal and plastic pipes, creating an effective waterproof seal. But it must be applied correctly; otherwise, it can lead to leakage and cause the tape to wear away over time.
When selecting tape, select the color that corresponds with the type of pipe that needs work. General-use white tape may work on most plumbing projects; for water lines, it is advisable to opt for pink plumber’s tape; yellow is best used with gas pipes.
Using too much drain cleaner
Clogged drains can create unpleasant odors, overflowing sinks and bathtubs, and damaged pipes. Unfortunately, DIY solutions such as liquid drain cleaners can worsen matters further.
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Caustic chemicals must be used with care or not at all. Their acidity can corrode most pipe materials while also harming both human health and the environment.
Routine drain maintenance can be achieved using natural solutions of vinegar, salt, baking soda, and hot water. When working on clogged drains, it may also be wise to temporarily remove the sink pop-up stopper or tub drain cover in order to gain better access.
A hand auger or drain snake may then be used to physically break up any blockages before flushing with boiling water to clear away debris from future blockages.