We understand the pull towards the “do it yourself” mindset. There are entire TV channels devoted to DIY activities, whether it’s home gardening or construction. We want homeowners to know what’s going on with their plumbing and if you can repair your plumbing yourself that’s great.
We just don’t want to see people make the all too common mistakes that could lead to a real plumbing catastrophe. Here are some tips to keep in mind if you ever try to do DIY plumbing repairs.
1: Using Toxic Drain Cleaners
Drain cleaners can seem like an easy solution. You might think that you don’t need a plumber to help your clogged drain if just pouring a cleaner down the drain will do the same thing, right? Wrong. Chemical drain cleaners can do a lot of damage to your pipes and lead to costly repairs in the future.
Drain Cleaners Aren’t Very Effective and Damage Pipes
Let’s say your drain in complete clogged. Nothing or very little is coming through. A chemical cleaner can sit on top of the clog and eat away at your pipes without actually clearing anything. Additionally, even if a chemical cleaner goes through your pipes without reaching a roadblock big enough to stop it, you will still be damaging your pipes.
Most commercial drain cleaners use caustic chemicals that corrode away anything in sight, generating heat along the way. The heat can soften or melt modern plastic piping and eat away at older metal pipes.
The Toxic Chemicals Are Dangerous
While damage to pipes is bad enough, at the end of the day, potential toxicity to your family is much more dangerous. Chemical drain cleaning products use very seriously dangerous ingredients. If these are mishandled and accidentally ingested or splashed in your eyes, you could lose vision or even die.
Often these chemicals are stored in brightly colored packaging that is inviting to children. You absolutely should store these on a high shelf out of the reach of children. Even then, there is still an element of risk with these chemicals in your home.
Lastly, these chemicals cause damage to our shared environment. No matter how careful consumers are with these containers, a portion will end up in landfills and eventually into the water supply, where plants and animals could be harmed. The solution to all of these problems? Give us a call and we can hydrojet your drain and clear any blockages safely and without chemicals.
2: Bad Installations
A lot of DIY enthusiasts get into construction. Whether it’s house remodeling or building from scratch, plumbing installation is one thing that is very easy to screw up if you do it yourself. You’ll probably jerry-rig solutions that get your plumbing to mostly work, but down the line leaks can spring up and cause a catastrophe in your newly constructed home.
There is a lot of knowledge that goes into installing plumbing lines. Unfortunately, most people who try to do things on their own don’t have the expertise required for a complex job. There is a lot of preparation that goes into it. Most homeowners won’t even have the right tools for the job. If you’re experiencing plumbing problems with poorly installed pipes, there may be solutions that are non-invasive. Depending on the issues, our cutting-edge pipe lining technology may be able to solve your problem.
3: Mismatched Pipes
Often times a small visible leak kicks our DIY instinct into gear. While it may seem simple, you have to repair these types of leaks properly. You must make sure that your pipes are of the same material and size or you could be making things much worse. Your system is should be designed with pipes that can handle the water coming to your home. Deviating from that can cause leaks and even cause pipes to break.
Additionally, you’ll need to use the correct sealants. Commonly, a homeowner uses glue instead of plumber’s putty. A simple mistake like this might only make the pipe more difficult to repair in the future when the underlying problem causes more issues in your plumbing system.
4: Turn off your water
Turning off your water before you start messing with pipes. It may seem obvious, but you’d be surprised by the number of DIYers who skip this step. Before any plumber makes changes to pipes, fixtures or anything else related to the plumbing system, they will always shut off the water access to the home. You can probably guess why this is necessary.
Potential problems can be as minor as a bit of water spraying on the floor. Othertimes, messing with the pipes without turning off the water can cause a full-on pipe rupture. That could mean a flooded home and huge water repair costs. If you want to do any DIY plumbing work, you need to turn off your water.
5: Lack of Preventative Maintenance
Knowledge is power—it’s a common saying for a reason. For your home plumbing system, this means inspecting your fixtures and pipes at least once a month. If you aren’t aware of the leaks in your home, you could be spending too much on your water bills. Often, in a larger household, we may not realize the possible issues with the bathrooms we don’t often use.
Make sure any leaks are noticed and fixed because it can add up over time. For system-wide maintenance, we recommend an annual inspection and checkup.
6: Putting the Wrong Things Down Your Drain
There is a lot of confusion about what can go down your pipes and drains. The main confusion areas we see are with the garbage disposal and the toilet. The garbage disposal is a great way to get rid of food waste, but it’s not a miracle machine. Avoid putting bones, starches (such as pasta and rice), nuts, coffee grounds, and grease. The last one can be a constant cause of clogs in your system, so always dispose of grease in a safe way.
Your toilet should only be used for human waste and toilet paper. So-called “flushable wipes” cause clogs and are a huge problem for sewage treatment down the line. Anything besides human waste and toilet paper belongs in a trashcan.
7: Adding Too Many Fixtures
If you’re the DIY-type, you’ve probably thought of where you would add a sink or an entire bathroom if you remodeled. While that would probably be a great idea, you have to check your water capacity first. Your system is designed to supply water to a given number of fixtures and if you install something without checking first, you could end up with low-water pressure that would make all your hard work moot. This is why adding additional fixtures should be handled by a professional.
We want homeowners to be educated and to understand what their plumbing system is doing for them. However, plumbing is highly technical work. It takes experience to do it well. That doesn’t mean you should be scared of issues with your plumbing system. Some problems can be fixed quite easily with the right tools, just make sure you’re not falling into any of these common traps.