The Most Common DIY Plumbing Mistakes Made by Homeowners

Most homeowners prefer doing most plumbing work themselves without having to hire a plumber. Some prefer DIY to make savings on their hard-earned money while others find it fun when doing installations and repairs on their own.

Photo: KraftMaster Renovations

While it’s a great idea to do plumbing work on your own, there’re several mistakes may arise, especially among inexperienced homeowners. It’ll help to know the plumbing mistakes you should avoid so as to keep your plumbing system and home safe. 

Mistake #1: Forgetting to Shut Off the Main Water Supply

It’s important to shut off the main water supply when doing most plumbing projects. Forgetting to do so before working on a plumbing repair or installation may lead to water wastage and flooding.

For minor repairs, you can simply shut off the valve that stops water flow to that fixture or pipe. For major projects, or when you can find a valve to a specific repair area, then shut off the main water valve.

Mistake #2: Connecting Copper Pipes to Galvanized Pipes

Corrosion is inevitable when a copper pipe and a galvanized pipe touch each other. Most homeowners don’t know this fact. They rush to repair their old galvanized pipes with new copper pipes. To connect a copper pipe to a galvanized pipe the right way, you’ll need to use a special connector known as a dielectric joint/union. This joint comprises of a rubber washer and plastic sleeve that prevent the copper pipes and galvanized pipes from connecting to each other directly.

Photo: LA Design Build

Mistake #3: Doing Unpermitted Work

You can devalue your home by doing major plumbing changes without seeking the necessary permits from your local authorities. A home that undergoes unpermitted plumbing work might take more time to find a buyer and even sell at a lower rate. Some states demand that contractors have to get permits to do major plumbing changes while others allow property owners to get permits themselves.

Whichever way, you should ensure that you get the required permits when doing major plumbing work such as re-piping or remodelling a bathroom or even bathroom floor. Permits allow local construction officials to oversight a home improvement project. By so doing, local authorities ensure that the project is done according to the set plumbing standards and codes. Although it might cost you some money to get a permit upfront, it’ll keep you protected from fines related to doing major plumbing work without a permit. The permit will also ensure that your project is done the right way. 

Photo: Kenowa Builders

Mistake #4: Using Chemicals to Clear a Blocked Drain

Most homeowners view liquid based drain cleaners as miracle products. You only need a little amount of a drain cleaner chemical to unclog your drain or sewer line. However, using chemicals to clean the drain comes with bad effects on galvanized pipes. Using chemicals on galvanized pipes can lead to leakage and corrosion.

There’re many effective ways of clearing clogs without using toxic chemicals. You can use alternative drain cleaning products such as:

  • Natural products- You can clear a slowly flowing drain using baking soda, vinegar, and hot water. You’ll simply sprinkle some baking soda into the drain, then pour some vinegar into the drain and allow the solution to settle for some hours. Then flush the drain with some hot water.
  • Plumbing auger– An auger is operated manually. It cleans most clogs without using chemicals. You can use it yourself without hiring a plumber.

In case no unclogging option works for you, then contact your local plumber. A reputable plumber will clear the clog without using any harsh chemical that can result in damaging your plumbing system.

Photo: North Star Kitchens

Mistake #5: Plumbing Without Proper Skills

Some homeowners attempt doing challenging plumbing tasks without insurance and licensing, something that most professional plumbers can offer.

The professionals know everything about plumbing. They undergo thorough training and learn how to use the best plumbing tools and equipment. Moreover, they under apprenticeship for some years before doing an exam to get a license. As such, professionals ensure you get high-quality results and keep your home safe.

Doing a major plumbing project without the necessary skills and tools can result in costly damages to your property. Doing plumbing work yourself without the required skills might cost you more money when you make damages. You might end up paying a plumber to redo the work.

Nevertheless, it can be challenging to determine when a plumbing task is not ideal for DIY. You can find out by consulting with some plumbers before starting the project.

Ask them questions about what it involves to complete the project and how it should be done. Talking to the experts will assist you in gauging the complexity level of the project and whether it’s possible to do it yourself.

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What Home Improvement Projects Can You DIY – And When To Hire A Professional

Whether you’ve just purchased a new property which needs some work to be carried out or whether you’re preparing your home for sale, it’s important to know where you can save a little money by carrying out home improvements on your own and where you’re better off paying for a professional’s services.

Photo: Heydt Designs

It costs about $9000 to renovate a bathroom and $20,000 to remodel your kitchen. It’s no wonder, then, that so many people are keen to save on labor costs by trying to take some of the work on as a DIY project. However, there are definitely some jobs that you should never tackle unless you have the right skills and experience. Complex jobs like electrical work, tile setting and plumbing should be carried out by a suitably qualified professional. However, there are many other jobs around the home which require virtually no experience and which can be handled by almost anyone.

The key to successful home renovation lies in figuring out which tasks you should tackle alone and which require the expertise of a professional. Here, we take a look at some jobs around the home so that you can make the right decision for you.

Photo: J. Wilson Fuqua & Associates Architects

Safety First

There are 3 signs to look out for that will tell you that you should hire a professional.

1. It’s dangerous enough to kill you – the first thing to consider is what might happen to you if you accidentally make a mistake. Electrical work or roofing could be so dangerous that you could be killed and that’s a major red flag to tell you to hire a professional.

2. Your home could be destroyed – major plumbing work like moving fixtures in your bathroom could end up seriously damaging your property if you don’t install everything properly.

3. A permit is required – if building permits are needed you should always hire a professional. This will guarantee the job is done safely.

If you use a contractor you can avoid making a costly mistake. If you tackle a job yourself and it goes wrong, even if your home isn’t severely affected, it can be expensive to rectify and then carry out the work properly.

Poor quality DIY work could also lower the value of your home. No buyer wants to purchase a home with poor quality repairs or construction work.

Photo: Legacy Custom Homes

Only Tackle Jobs You Know You Can Do

You should never tackle any home repair DIY job unless you’re completely certain you know how to do it. If you have no experience that might not be a problem as long as the job is simple enough and you have the right resources to hand to show you in simple steps what to do. On the other hand, if a job is so specialized you’d need to have special training to tackle it, hire someone who knows what they’re doing.

If you’re going to undertake any kind of DIY work yourself, you also need to be certain that you have all the necessary equipment and safety gear to get the job done properly and safely. For example, without the right safety clothing, gloves, footwear and helmet welding can be extremely dangerous to tackle independently. Go to this link to find out more about how to choose the right equipment for your project if you’re determined to go it alone.


Photo: B Architecture Studio

Pricing Up The Job

If you’re target is to save money on a project or home renovation, you need to figure out whether it’s actually worth it to do the job yourself or whether hiring a professional could actually be better value for money. Add the costs together of doing the job yourself – don’t forget the cost of all the materials and the energy used to power the tools. Then subtract that amount from the professional estimates to see if the saving is worth the time and hassle that you’ll need to put in.

It’s important to note that the choice between hiring contractors and a DIY project isn’t just about money it’s also about safety, speed and hassle as well as achieving a good result. Although there are lots of jobs around the home you can easily complete independently, it’s always wise to hire a professional for any job with which you’re uncomfortable or which you can’t tackle safely.

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