5 Common DIY Plumbing Mistakes

Posted on May 14, 2013 in  | Tags: , ,

If you're someone who loves to tackle do-it-yourself projects, and you've been planning on tackling that leaky P-trap, here are some plumbing tips that you may want to consider before that simple P-trap turns into a money trap.

1. Not using plumber's tape or putty to seal threads.

When you fit two pipes together, their seal is only as good you make it. Water can easily run through the threads and ruin your cabinet, then your floor if you're not aware of it. By sealing it with tape or putty, you're creating a seal to those threads that water would otherwise run right through.

2. Forgetting to turn off the water.

This may seem like a no-brainer, but if you've just discovered that you've had a leak under your kitchen sink for quite some time, you may not be thinking clearly as you angrily snatch the ruined articles out of the cabinet and go to cut into the pipe. I say this from experience. We had been living in a house for a good six-months, only to find out that our hot water supply line had been leaking for at least half that time causing a nice swelled rot-hole in the bottom of my cabinet. I went to cut the pipe and hot water sprayed all over my face. Not fun. Turn the water off first!

3. Not leveling your pipes.

Who cares if your pipes are all pretty and level? No one's going to be seeing them but you, right? Wrong! Ever wonder why your shower has poor water pressure, but your sink pressure washes the skin off your hands? How about how your toilet always seems to be backing up? It could easily have to do with the way your pipes are leveled. There's an old saying among plumbers that applies to most situations like this: "It all runs down-hill!" Gravity and simple physics can go a long way with your pipes.

4. Using too much drain cleaner to unclog your pipes.

You can't be serious. Drain cleaner can actually hurt my pipes? Yep. Particularly if you have copper or iron pipes. Most drain cleaners are extremely corrosive, so it would only stand to reason that pouring that much caustic liquid down the drain would eventually corrode your pipes. The worst part about it, is you may not even realize it when it happens. I had just moved into a house once and wondered why the foundation wasn't level at all. The walls were cracking and the floor was just uneven. A quick peek under the house revealed a festering swamp. The culprit? Corroded drain pipes from using too much drain cleaner. A better solution? Use a pipe snake!

5. Not calling a professional.

But calling a professional is like giving up, right? Nope. Almost any and all plumbing disasters can be avoided by simply calling someone who does plumbing for a living. Some are even nice enough to give you tips over the phone!

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