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Common “Do it Yourself” Plumbing Mistakes

  • Categories: Plumbing
  • Date: April 23, 2014
Common “Do it Yourself” Plumbing Mistakes

Many people (too many people, actually), try to be do it yourself plumbers. After all, they can find out whatever they need to know on the Internet. Right?

We have seen firsthand the problems people create when they try to do the plumbing themselves. Minor problems with minor expense become major problems with major expense. Here are some common mistakes.

“It’s good enough”

Plumbing is hard and exacting work. And it is tempting to say it’s “good enough.” “Good enough” might mean that you only did the project 90%, not 100%. But failing to complete that last 10%, whether it be using the wrong materials because you do not want to go back to the hardware store, or checking for leaks at the end, can cause extensive damage.

Not shutting off the water

Even minor repairs can require that the water is turned off. Too often people do not shut off the water, either because they forget or because they do not know where the main shut off is. This can lead to a mess, and expense.

Using the wrong tools and materials

There are specific tools for specific purposes. For example, different drains require different tools. You should not use a normal drain snake on a clogged toilet because it can damage the bowl of your toilet. Similarly, you need to use a different sized snake for tubs and showers than for branch drain lines and the main sewer line. Finally, there are different drain cleaning products for different drains. Using the wrong one can cause extensive damage.

Teflon tape

Putting Teflon on threaded plumbing fixtures makes the fittings leak proof. But too often, people either do not know or decide not to use Teflon tape. The result…an increased likelihood of leaking. Additionally, the use of Teflon tape is not a replacement for properly tightening a fitting. Most plumbing fittings have a tapered thread. Over tighten or under tighten and you will have a leak.

Mismatched piping

Fitting one type of piping into another (for example, copper and galvanized steel) does not work. But people will try to do that to save money by not replacing existing piping, or not using proper transition fittings.

Not using a level

Using a level when installing any fixture is a must. But it is a step that many people skip. A common mistake is not having the proper pitch on a drain line or not properly shimming a toilet after installation, both of which can result in costly repairs.

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