7 DIY plumbing errors you should be aware of

To err is human, and to mistakenly end up with a geyser eruption while trying to unclog the kitchen sink’s pipe is a plumbing error. Plumbing projects, when not handled, probably tend to end up in disasters.

Either it causes water damage, which could lead to flooding, more extensive damage that will cost twice the amount to repair, or health issues such as deep skin injury.

Some plumbing mistakes can breed dangerous insects like mosquitoes or it can cause leaky faucets. In this article, we will enlighten you on seven (7) plumbing errors you should be aware of.

plumbing bathroom sink

7 DIY Plumbing errors you should be aware of

  1. Skipping the shut-off valve
  2. Misusing or overusing thread tape
  3. Forcing connections: know your limits
  4. Mixing and matching the wrong parts
  5. Ignoring leak warning signs
  6. Taking on a project beyond your skill level
  7. Using harsh chemicals

Skipping the shut-off valve

Unless you aim to flood your house or damage your property, you may want to switch off the water supply before starting your plumbing repairs, even a local plumbing professional will tell you that.

There is no specific direction for locating the shut-off valve for your kitchen sink, toilet, washing machine, etc. because the plumbing construction of each house differs.

Generally, a shut-off valve can be located under the kitchen sink or outside the house. As long as you know what it looks like, you can shut it off from these respective locations or you can consult a professional to direct you. It is important to shut it off, as there is a possibility of leaks or flooding if it’s not done.

Misusing or overusing thread tape

One important tool used during plumbing repairs is Thread or Teflon tape. If you want to create a watertight seal between your pipe joints or you just want to take precautions against leakage from threaded connections in your plumbing work, this tape is advisable.

The use of Teflon tape depends on the colour. For instance, white tape is used on ⅜ inch NPT threads for water lines; yellow tape is used on ½ to 2-inch NPT threads for gas pipe fittings, green tape is oil-free and is used for oxygen lines and some specific medical glasses; pink tape is used on ½ to 2 inch NPT threads for portable water, etc.

Overusing the Teflon tape is a common mistake that most people make. The notion that the more Thread tape you use, the more secure the plumbing work will be is very wrong. Overusing it will prevent full tightening of the joint and will result in leakages.

Additionally, the direction in which you use the Teflon tape matters a lot. A Teflon or Thread tape is supposed to be wrapped in a clockwise direction 3 to 4 times only.

Forcing Connections: know your limits

I know you have arm strength and you may want to use excessive force to tighten your pipes to prevent leakages. However, if you do that you may end up with a cracked fitting or deformed pipe, and a leaking pipe.

The trick is to just use the right force and apply it to the required limit. This way, the rubber seal in the fitting will not become warped and you will not have to deal with stripped threads, cracked pipes or a leaking pipe.

When doing your plumbing repairs, ensure to use the right tools needed for the particular repair. Some plumbing tools that you should have in your toolbox include pipe wrench, pliers, hacksaw, pipe cutter, plunger, hand auger, faucet key, screwdrivers, gloves, hole saw, flashlight, goggles, plumbing brushes, pipe bender, etc.

Also, consider using a torque wrench to tighten your pipe couplings and ensure that your connections are secure.

Mixing and matching the wrong parts

When you are shopping to replace your plumbing materials, ensure you go for the right design and size. This means that the plumbing part that you buy should be compatible with the place where it will be fixed.

This helps ensure a proper, functional plumbing system and the longevity of your pipelines. Poor plumbing construction can cause water-borne diseases, clogged drains, floods, mould, foul odours, low water pressure, and water damage.

The solution to this is simple – either you consult a plumbing parts guide for compatibility checks or you hire a professional plumber.

plumbing sink

Ignoring leak warning signs

Now, if you are trying to repair a minor plumbing issue by yourself, and, after repairs, you notice running toilets, drips, minor leaks or gurgling drains, don’t ignore it, or else it will lead to bigger problems.

Don’t leave it to work itself out. Even if it seems insignificant, you will soon find yourself spending a lot of money to repair bigger plumbing issues such as mould growth or flooding.

Taking on a project beyond your skill level

You may think that it is not important to know basic DIY plumbing skills until you spend so much time having to hire professionals to fix every little issue or rather, you get stranded with easy-to-repair plumbing issues that will cause damage to your home.

If you detect a plumbing issue early enough but it seems too complex for you to repair yourself, then hire a professional plumber immediately.

Samples of plumbing issues that should be strictly left to professionals include installing a new water heater, fixing a broken line, faucet installations, leaky toilets, clogged drains, etc.

Using harsh chemicals

During cleanup, while washing your toilet and sink drains, make sure to use harsh chemical cleaners to avoid damaging your pipes and causing corrosion.

To easily identify these caustic cleaners and avoid them, check for cleaning agents that contain active ingredients such as sodium or potassium hydroxide, sulfuric acid and lye.

You can also use homemade natural clog-removing ingredients such as undiluted salt, borax, vinegar, baking soda, or a plumbing snake to unclog your toilet.

Certain precautions can help prevent plumbing issues, including properly disposing of grease, using drain strainers, flushing with boiling water, regular drain cleaning, using plungers, and avoiding harsh chemicals.

Now that you know what to avoid when performing plumbing repairs or cleaning, rest assured that you will rarely have issues with your plumbing connections.

It is also advisable to have a professional on speed dial to handle complex plumbing tasks for you.

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