Some DIY projects are hard to fail at around the house. For example, walls can always be repainted, and most doors are fairly easy to hang. Tackling projects around the house can also give homeowners a sense of accomplishment. However, a few everyday tasks are best left to the professionals, which often have to do with water. Plumbing mistakes can result in water damage, more significant clogs, and even potentially hazardous conditions for the people that live in the home. Watching out for these common plumbing mistakes makes it possible to know when a DIY project might be better left to a plumber.
Forgetting to Shut Off the Water
This mistake is listed first because it is one of the most important things that you’ll need to do before you begin the rest of your project. After gathering their materials and doing the rest of the prep work for their project, many people are so excited to get started that they forget to turn off the water. Unfortunately, this mistake can send gallons of water spraying from the pipe or fixture, leading to severe water damage. While finding the shut-off valve is relatively easy when a person has plenty of time, it can become much more challenging when water is spraying everywhere.
Another related problem is forgetting to release the water from the pipes before the project begins. As a result, even after the shut-off valve is engaged, some water can remain. This is why experienced plumbers open up the faucets for a few minutes to ensure that every last drop of water is released.
Using Mismatched Pipes and Other Materials
Many different materials are used for plumbing today, and the average house may have copper, plastic, galvanized steel, or brass pipes. Although, in some cases, it might be possible to use unique connections to put two different materials together, it is not ideal. Using the wrong materials opens up the possibility for leaks either immediately or in the future. Therefore, it is critical always to be sure that the right materials are being used when it comes to DIY plumbing mistakes. Even using the wrong type of caulk or silicone can result in a major disaster.
Failing to Put Things Back Together Correctly
Diving into a project can sometimes turn into such a stressful experience that people tend to forget what they did initially. Seeing all of the pieces scattered across the floor with no idea of how they go together is a significant concern. Although many new fixtures come with instructions, those that are already installed in a building are expected to be fixed by someone with plumbing experience.
Even what seems like a simple assembly can have serious consequences if it is done wrong. For example, putting a shower drain together improperly can allow sewer gases to enter the home. Likewise, failing to put a seal on the toilet can result in hazardous leaks. Taking a picture of how everything fits together before the actual work begins can help, but it is also possible to make the following mistake once it is time to connect all of the pieces.
Making the Connections Too Tight
Plumbing mistakes also tend to occur when someone tries to do the best job possible. To most people, it seems as if making the connections as tight as possible is the best way to avoid leaks. While this might seem to make sense, the truth is that plumbing connections are already created to be watertight. In addition, many fixtures have special seals in place to prevent leaks. Over-tightening the connections can cause seals and gaskets to break. In severe cases, it could also crack plastic pipes or strip the threads.
An over-tightened connection can also cause problems down the road for anyone else trying to repair. Trying to loosen a connection that’s too tight requires the repair person to apply large amounts of pressure that can break pipes and wear out the fittings. When this happens, a simple repair project could turn into a major one that requires replacing the pipes before any other work can proceed.
Installing Flat Shower Floors
Diving into a remodeling project could result in a lake of water in the bathroom if it involves a shower floor. Despite modern advances in plumbing, gravity remains one of the most effective ways to ensure that water heads towards a drain and away from the house. While most people don’t realize it, shower floors are typically sloped at a 4% angle. Failing to make sure that the floor slopes to the correct degree means that the water will pool in critical areas. Unfortunately, this could mean that a homeowner has to replace the shower floor again, which ruins the potential cost-savings people seek when they attempt DIY plumbing projects in the bathroom.
Placing the Wrong Toilet
Toilets seem to be the same to many people, but professional plumbers know a major difference between the most common types. People with older homes may not realize it, but there is sometimes a more significant gap between the finished wall and the bolt that holds the toilet to the floor compared to newer homes. This can result in buying a toilet that doesn’t fit the space properly, or some homeowners find that it is necessary to move the drain to accommodate more modern toilets. Unfortunately, moving drains is a complicated and often regulated process that requires professional expertise.
In homes with a standard rough-in measurement, it is still possible to place the wrong toilet. Today, toilets come in different shapes, such as round and elongated. Putting in a toilet that doesn’t fit the space can cause problems, making it hard to open and close doors. In a worst-case scenario, someone with a disability might not be able to access the toilet comfortably.
Although it is tempting to try to tackle a DIY project, the truth is that doing so can lead to costly mistakes. Instead, when you face a new or continuing plumbing problem, hire a plumber who can use their expertise to correct the issue without causing damage.
Gold Star Plumbing & Drain offers professional water heater service, drain clearing, toilet repair and other expert plumbing services in Gilbert, Phoenix, Mesa, Chandler and the neighboring communities. Our trained, licensed and unifored Gilbert plumbers are standing by to assist with all of your residential and commercial plumbing needs, day or night. Each of our technicians enjoy serving our community to our gold standard. Our commitment to providing a Gold Star experience allows us to build long lasting relationships with our customers based on trust, quality service and fair pricing. To us, that’s what it means to be a superior Gilbert plumber.