When you finally have your own home and a minor plumbing problem happens, you might start to feel one of the following: your home is brand new and it’s impossible to have major issues already; your bank account was drained by the purchase of your house and you really don’t feel like spending more money at the moment; you have a hands-on approach to everything and you feel like there’s no problem you can’t fix if you just set your mind on it; all of the above at the same time.
While your enthusiasm and self-reliance surely might help your finances in some situations as well as making your life easier, it might also make it considerably harder when you don’t know what you’re dealing with. Most experienced plumbers report that half of the repairs they’re called to do are caused by people trying to fix the original problem and turning it into a bigger nightmare in the process.
It’s important to remember that while some plumbing repairs are pretty much intuitive, not all plumbing problems are easily fixed with common-sense alone. The golden rule in this case (as well as in regards to any other task you’re not familiar with) would be to face the matter with a “when in doubt, ask a professional” attitude.
In the meantime, there are a few helpful tips you can follow to avoid turning a minor problem into a disaster and to keep your hydraulic system in good health.
10 Tips To Avoid Most Common Plumbing Mistakes We’re not talking rocket science of course, but approaching plumbing with little to no knowledge can still cause considerable damage both to your house and your wallet, so you might want to be careful and keep in mind a few of these tips below.
1. Use the Right tools
When you’re not familiar with the world of plumbing, you might think whatever tool you already have at home is as good as any. Unfortunately, that’s a very common mistake and one of the most dangerous, because 99 out of 100 times using the wrong tools will either cause a bigger problem or ruin your fixtures.
Especially when dealing with chrome, for example, you might want to avoid using just any adjustable wrench you have lying around and invested in a strap wrench instead. This way, you’re going to kill two birds with one stone: you’ll avoid over-tightening and scratches on your brand new fixture. Awesome!
2. Drain Cleaner is NOT your friend
When dealing with a clogged pipe, your first instinct will be that of using a drain cleaner. It’s quick, it’s easy and it’s cheap so it’s understandable. What you don’t know is that using a drain cleaner does not guarantee your pipe is completely free from obstructions, which might cause a bigger clog in the future. Also, if used too often the chemicals of the drain cleaner will end up ruining your pipes.
3. The Plunger, On the Other Hand, is Your Best Friend
There should always be a plunger in your house. In most cases, it’s the tool-to-go for problems like toilet clogging or too much hair down the shower drain. It’s cheap and it does the job without ruining your fixtures. Owning more than one plunger at a time might be a good idea, too.
4. Don’t Become an Outlaw
A common mistake is thinking that as long as you do work in your own house, you’re not overstepping any line, but this way of thinking can quickly put you into trouble with the law. No matter what you decide to do within your four walls, there is a code to follow. Before replacing your piping or installing a new fixture, you will have to get a permit from local authorities. This is very important because otherwise you might get fined and your house might lose value on the market. It might also become impossible to sell it altogether.
5. Sweater Weather
This is important for everyone but essential for those who live in places with very frigid winters.
When the cold season hits, any exposed water pipe you might have in your house is at risk of freezing and frozen pipes can more easily break or burst. The solution to this problem is to insulate any pipe outside of your house, but also in your garage and in your basement.
Wrapping your pipes is more than a safety measure: it will effectively “isolate” them, leading to a more stable transfer of heat/cold. This means that during warmer seasons your water won’t be too hot, while during cold seasons it won’t take as long for the hot water to reach your faucet.
6. Your Toilet is Not a Trash Can…
If you have the habit of flushing anything that isn’t toilet paper down the toilet, you might want to stop doing so. Solid food waste, diapers, pads — these things belong in their respective bins and should not be flushed down the toilet because you might cause huge clogs that might eventually break your toilet.
7. …and Neither is Your Garbage Disposal
For the same reason, you need to becareful when disposing of your food waste down your garbage disposal. Things like coffee grounds and food wrapping should not be going down the drain and doing so will only come back to bite you in the future.
8. Some Pipes Are Not Meant for Each Other
When changing or installing new pipes most people will probably consult a professional, but if you resolved to embark on this adventure on your own, please remember not all pipes work well together. For example, copper and galvanized pipes will only end up corroding each other when connected.
9. Turn Off the Water
This might sound obvious, but it’s actually a very easy step to forget. Before attempting any work on your piping remember to turn off your water supply unless you want to turn your house into a waterpark.
10. Small problems = Future Big Problems
No matter if you’re planning on fixing a problem yourself or calling a plumber, never ever put off repairs. You don’t know when and how quickly a small problem can escalate into an emergency that will be way more expensive to fix in terms of time and money.
In conclusion, everyone has attempted to fix a plumbing problem on their own at one point in their lives, so don’t feel too bad if you made any of these mistakes. Keep these tips in mind next time and remember: the safest option will always be to rely on a professional.
Guest Contributor: Mark William