Fixing plumbing issues at home does not have to be a painstakingly difficult task. With some ingenuity and the right tools, you can fix almost any plumbing situation. However, without the know-how, you can make mistakes, which can, in the end, prove costly. The following are 8 of the most common types of plumbing mistakes that you need to avoid.
1. Over-tightening Plumbing Connections
This can easily pass as the most common plumbing mistake. If you have never done it before, you can find yourself over-tightening toilet bolts, pipe fittings and supply tubes. This over-tightening of black or galvanized pipe among other plumbing fixtures may eventually cause cracks, leading to spills that cause flooding.
Similarly, avoid over-tightening plastic fittings in the toilet and the tubes connecting faucets. A little pressure is enough to seal supply tubes. While tightening the nuts and bolts, take care not to crack the porcelain and end up damaging your toilet.
2. Inappropriate Use of Tape
For the Teflon tape to work as it should wrap it clockwise around the threads. Many people wrap it anti-clockwise and end up having the tape unwind itself while tightening a fixture. This negates the purpose of using the tape.
Always wrap the tape at least three times, making sure the final wrap faces left as you screw it into place. At no time should you continue screwing if the last wrap faces your right-hand side since this will not give you the intended results.
3. The Use of Drain Line Cleaners as the First Option
One of the most common plumbing issue you will have to fix is unclogging your bathroom and kitchen sinks. While doing this, many people use liquid cleaners as their first choice. They end up pouring the liquids in excessive amounts.
The liquids are corrosive and may cause problems in the future. They could also end up damaging pipes, traps and rubber gaskets and ultimately cause leakages. The most popular method of unclogging these drains is to use a plumbing snake or a bent wire hanger.
4. Lack of Necessary Spare Parts
Another common mistake many homeowners make is purchasing inadequate spare parts. You may buy spare parts for visible issues only to realize some other hidden parts needed fixing. If, for instance, the cartridge or washer needs to be replaced, most likely other parts of the faucet should be replaced as well. If this is not done correctly, you might end up with a leaking faucet. Always arm yourself with some extra spare parts to deal with any eventuality.
5. Not Turning Off the Water Supply
Sometimes you may not think it’s necessary to turn off the water supply before fixing a valve. While you may think it will take just a short time to fix the problem, if something goes wrong and you are not able to fix the faucet quickly, you could end up with a flooded home or neighbourhood. Always turn off the main water valve before doing any repairs to give yourself ample time to do a thorough, unrushed job.
6. Applying Excessive Force to Unstuck Valves
Take care when turning the sink and toilet valves that have not been used for days. They are likely to be extremely tight as a result. If you can’t open the valves using your hand, do not use excessive force to avoid breaking the knob and end up damaging the valve. Instead, use a wrench to loosen the nut while holding the stem in place. This will break the bond so you can turn the knob easily.
7. Sweating a Copper Pipe with Water
Make sure copper fittings and pipes are dry before sweating them. Any water near your working area must be removed. For the joints to be leak-proof, the water must be dried up completely. Don’t make the mistake of trying to dry the pipes by evaporating the water droplets through heating. This only serves to compound the problem.
To dry a copper pipe, plug it with white bread to form a capsule that absorbs any water droplets in the pipe. This way, you will have a dry copper pipe to work with and avoid repeat jobs caused by poor workmanship.
8. Not Having Appropriate Tools
This is another common DIY mistake. If you are going to fix anything, make sure you have the right tools. Getting a set of pipe wrenches should not be difficult; most of these are available at your local hardware store. Having the right tools makes your work easier and more effective than having to improvise at every turn. If you use inappropriate tools, you will end up causing further damage, and incur more costs.
Fixing plumbing issues is convenient, cost-effective, and fun. However, make sure you have the right tools and use them appropriately to avoid causing further damage. The key is to fix a plumbing issue so you can buy time to call in a plumber for a thorough inspection of your plumbing system.