Most do-it-yourselfers are able to handle basic residential plumbing repairs with the most basic tools; however, sometimes a lack of experience or just a bad decision gets in the way. As an example, a building inspector in Washington State recalls the homeowner who used duct tape, instead of glue, to secure the joints on his PVC plumbing.
Whether he was trying to save time, money or just being a little lazy, his faux pas most certainly would have resulted in a very nasty smelling flood, if the code inspection hadn’t saved him from himself. Here is a list of some slightly more common DIY mistakes that will have you calling a plumber:
Connecting Dissimilar Materials with the Wrong Connectors
Connecting different types of pipes, especially metals like copper and steel, requires the use of the correct coupling. Without a proper coupler the metals may experience dielectric corrosion, a type of corrosion that can build up and clog the pipe joint. Professional plumbers know which connection to use on specific metals to prevent this chemical reaction.
Not Supporting Drains
Because plumbing drains are under nearly constant vibration from water flowing through the pipes, all plumbing drains must be braced. Typically, drains should have a support for every four feet of run on the top of fittings and branched connections. Typically, a metal strap should be run around the pipe and then fastened to a stud or joist with screws or nails, not string or duct tape.
Stripping Threaded Connections
Proper plumbing methods are not a test of brute strength, as there are fewer sure-fire ways to insure a leak than over tightening threaded plumbing connections. This is especially true for connections with chrome or plastic threads.
Forgetting to Shut Off the Water
Somewhere in every building that has water there is a main shut-off valve. By law, there are also localized shut-offs valves under the plumbing fixtures in every room that has water running to it. Still, it is amazing how many homeowners forget to turn off the water before beginning residential plumbing repairs. On the upside, that is usually a mistake a do-it-yourself individual will only make once.
Not Remembering How Things Go Back Together
Without adequate experience, it is an immutable law of nature that taking something apart is always easier than the reassembling process. Unless you have an eidetic memory, a good trick is to take a digital photo, or at least make sketch, of the pipe or fixture before your take a wrench to it. This is especially important with things like shower valves; as if you put it back together incorrectly it won’t operate properly.
Attempting Repairs Without the Proper Tools
Residential plumbers have a wide variety of tools at their disposal that you probably have never even heard of. There isn’t much room for error with most plumbing repairs, and trying to make one tool do the job of another, like attempting to remove a nut with a pair of vise-grips, is asking for trouble.
Not Knowing When to Call a Professional
Many times a repair may look like a piece of cake, but once the job has begun it may give new meaning to pain and suffering. If you don’t have the skills there is no shame in calling in an expert, unless you enjoy taking your showers at the gym.
If have a plumbing project go bad, or would rather just let an expert handle the job, give us a call at Accurate Leak and Line. We can provide all the traditional plumbing repair services you need, and in a professional and timely manner.