8 Common Plumbing Mistakes to Avoid

8 Common Plumbing Mistakes to Avoid

It's understandable that many homeowners prefer to save money by doing small plumbing repair jobs themselves. If you run into a small clog or need to fix a simple drain leak, it makes sense to try your hand at a little DIY project. Unfortunately, big problems can arise when attempting to do plumbing work when you don't have a lot of experience. While it is always best to call in the professionals, if you do choose to go it alone, be sure to avoid these common mistakes.

Forgetting to Turn Off the Main Water

Anytime you are working on your homes plumbing, be sure to turn off your main water supply. Depending on your project, neglecting to do so could mean flooding your bathroom or kitchen with water. A small DIY task could turn into a major disaster. This can easily be avoided with the twist of a valve. It may seem inconvenient at first, but it could save you hours of clean up.

Using Harsh Chemicals for Clogs

For many households, the go to solution for backups and clogs is pouring a gallon of chemicals down the drain until it "dissolves" the problem. Unfortunately, if the clog is larger than expected, or further down in your pipes, the caustic mix of chemicals will sit behind the obstruction. If you have metal pipes, this can cause early corrosion and could be disastrous to PVC pipes. In fact, certain chemicals have been known to melt and distort plastic pipes, which will set you up for future plumbing failures.

Not Having the Correct Tools

Using coat hangers for toilet clogs or tongs for fetching items that have fallen down the kitchen sink is never a good idea. While the initial backup might have been a nuisance, imagine what a struggle it will be if the item becomes lodged deep in your pipes. Be sure you have the right tools to do the job. Using items that scratch the inside walls of your pipes could lead to unnecessary damage and if used frequently over time, could cause you to need major repairs or pipe replacements.

Using Mismatched Materials for Pipes

You may find a leaky exposed pipe under the sink and think that it's simple enough to replace it yourself. This can be risky however without doing the proper research on the material of all your pipes. Mixing metals can lead to unnecessary corrosion, and cause eventual damage to your entire system.

Putting the Wrong Kinds of Food in the Garbage Disposal

Your garbage disposal is probably one of the most frequently used pieces of plumbing in your home. A well-treated disposal can last years, but if family members are putting the wrong food items in the sink it can cause issues. For instance, bacon grease poured down the disposal could solidify on the lining of your pipes, catching bits of solid food as it goes down the drain. Eventually, it can cause a big messy clog that can be difficult to remove without the help of a trained plumber. Coffee grounds, egg shells and fruit pits are another example of items that should be thrown in the trash or compost, never down your drain.

Flushing Items Down the Toilet

Toddlers are notorious for snatching up toys, car keys and other small items and giggling as they flush them down the toilet drain. While it may be funny to your little one, chances are, you'll be pretty upset when it causes a massive backup in your sewer system. If you have a son or daughter who is prone to experimenting with the toilet bowl, you may want to consider kid proofing your bathroom and buying a toilet seat lock. Older kids and adults may also accidentally flush items that have unknowingly fallen into the bowl. You can avoid this by keeping toiletry items at a safe distance away.

Excess Hair in Shower Drains

Hair often mixes with soap residue as it goes down your shower drain. Over time, the buildup can cause big clogs. You can fix this by investing in an inexpensive hair trap and placing them in each one of your home's showers and bathtubs.

Not Disconnecting Water Hoses in Freezing Temperatures

While many homeowners are accustomed to winterizing pipes when the temperatures drop, they sometimes forget one of the most important parts. Leaving a water hose connected when the water freezes can cause problems with your indoor plumbing, and can even lead to burst pipes. Be sure to double check for hoses when cooler days arrive.

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