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Rookie Plumbing Mistakes You Should Avoid

Rookie Plumbing Mistakes

You just bought your first home and notice there are a few plumbing problems that look like they might be simple and easy DIY repairs. However, you quickly discover what you thought was a simple problem quickly turns into a major repair because you took on more than you could handle. Now you are out the money you spent trying to save on repair costs. Plus, you have to pay a professional plumber to fix the mistakes you made, along with fixing the original problem.

Don’t feel bad about this, as most homeowners tend to make this mistake because they were not aware of the complexities required for the repair job. This is just one example of some common rookie plumbing mistakes homeowner make. Let’s take a look at some others and when you should call a professional for help.

Mistake #1: Not Having the Right Tools for the Job

You cannot use the same tools you would on your automobile to fix and repair plumbing problems. While some tools can be used, others are not compatible and will only make a small problem worse.

Right Tools for the Job

For instance, you decide to use a regular adjustable wrench to help tighten down a new sink fixture. The wrench slips off and scratches the fixture, leaving noticeable marks. You could also accidentally overtighten the retaining bolts and crack them, too.

To avoid these mistakes, you need to invest in a strap wrench, which is a special wrench with a rubber strap. The rubber strap prevents scratches and also accidentally over-tightening.

Another issue that arises from using the wrong tools is accidentally crimping or deforming of the pipe. It is easy to turn a perfectly round pipe into one that is pinched and oblong. This can create problems with water flow, create excess pressure on the pipe, and more. This is why you need the right tools or should call a professional plumbing service.

Mistake #2: Using the Wrong Types of Pipes

It is important to not mismatch pipes when fixing leaks or installing new sections of piping. Certain materials do not work well together, like copper and galvanized steel. If they come into contact, it can actually cause the pipes to corrode and deteriorate faster.

Another issue is when you are swapping out older pipes for new ones. If you are replumbing under the sink and swapping out metal pipes for PVC or plastic pipes, they require special connectors and pipe glue to prevent leaks.

Mistake #3: Not Using Plumbers Tape

Using Plumbers Tape

When attaching screw-type fixtures or pipes together, you may think all you have to do is screw one piece to the other. Yet, you quickly learn from your mistake when you turn the water back on and water is spraying out from in between the connection.

Small gaps are often left because the two pieces do not connect securely together. This is where the use of plumbers tape is required. This special tape helps create a secure connection that stops leaks.

Mistake #4: Ignoring Small Problems

Putting off repairs when you notice small problems is never a good idea. The problem can quickly escalate at any time. Then you are forced to deal with it immediately, even in the middle of the night. Instead of a regular service visit, you have to get emergency 24-hour plumbing service.

To illustrate how a small problem can become a nightmare for a homeowner, let’s say you have a small leak under the bathroom sink in between two pipes at the connection. Your initial solution was to verify the connection was tight, and you wrapped it in duct tape to stop the leak. You pat yourself on the back for a job well-done.

Planning for Cold Weather

You go to bed, and then, in the middle of the night, you are awakened by the sound of running water. You get up and step onto a wet floor. You go into the bathroom, turn on the light, and see water rushing out from under the sink cabinet.

What occurred when you wrapped the pipes and connection in duct tape? It created excess pressure on the connection. As the pressure built, it eventually caused the pipes to burst and come detached from the connection.

You call an emergency plumber—and that’s when you find out all that would have been required were new washers in between the connector and the pipes to stop the original leak. Since the pipes burst, you now not only have the water damage to clean up but also have to pay for the emergency repair service.

Mistake #5: Not Planning for Cold Weather

Most places in Texas will experience some cooler temperatures in the winter months. We have even gotten snow all across the state from time to time. While these cold snaps do not normally last that long, they could cause exposed water pipes to freeze, crack, or burst.

Garbage Disposal

Any water pipes that are exposed in your crawl space should be insulated from the cold. You also want to wrap any exposed pipes in your garage. Some people also will insulate pipes in their basement as an added safety measure.

Insulating your pipes also have other benefits besides protecting them from the cold. Once insulated, the pipes will have a lower amount of heat/cold transfer. This means cold water won’t feel warm on those hot summer days and hot water won’t take as long to get from your water heater to your faucet.

Mistake #6: Using Your Garbage Disposal as a Trash Can

Garbage disposals are great appliances to have, but they can only accommodate certain types of food waste. Some people attempt to put everything down the disposal, including plastic sandwich bags, straws, bones, potato peelings, coffee grounds, and more! These things are not designed to do down the drain and will only lead to a major clog.

Not to mention, they can damage the blades and mechanisms inside the garbage disposal. If the sink is clogged on the side where the disposal is installed, chances are something was put in it that it wasn’t meant to handle.

Mistake #7: Flushing More than Toilet Paper Down the Toilet

Some people also use their toilets to get rid of all sorts of waste, including disposable diapers, tampons, and sanitary pads. These items aren’t meant to be flushed. Instead, they should be put into your normal waste collection bins.

Mistake #8: Not Owning a Plunger or Two

Every homeowner should own at least one plunger. There are times when the toilet can clog from using too much toilet paper. Your sink could also get clogged with hair, food particles, and other such things that end up down the drain.

unclogging the drain

Clogged drains are one of the most common types of plumbing problems people have. In most cases, unclogging the drain just requires a plunger and a little bit of plunging.

As you can see, there are all sorts of mistakes anyone can make when they are not familiar with their home’s plumbing system, lack the proper tools, or attempt a repair beyond their abilities. This is why it is always a good idea to do the following:

  1. Determine the cause of the problem.
  2. Research what is required to fix the problem correctly.
  3. Decide if you have the right tools to do the job yourself.
  4. Be honest about whether the job is within your skill set.
  5. Call in a professional when you don’t want to do the repair, you lack the tools, or it is more complex than you can handle.

If you have a clogged sink or plumbing problems or are upgrading your sink, shower, tub, or toilet fixtures, please feel free to call your nearest Christianson Air Conditioning and Plumbing location in Austin, New Braunfels, San Antonio, or Temple today!

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