Attempting your own plumbing repairs can be an excellent way to save money when things go right, but when they go wrong the attempted repair can cost you much more in the long run. Being aware of the following mistakes can help you avoid a DIY disaster.
#1: Mixing materials
When it comes to plumbing pipes you will run into two majorly different materials – plastic and metal. Plastic pipes are typically made of PVC or PEX. As long as they are rated for plumbing use for hot and cold water, you can generally use them interchangeably with no problems. Metal is a bit different. Many metal pipes are galvanized, which usually protects them from corrosion as long as you use similar connectors on your pipes. The problem occurs when you use copper connectors. Copper causes a reaction in the pipe, which causes it to corrode. The corrosion can lead to leaks and blockages.
#2: Skipping the water shutoff
It may seem like it isn't necessary if you are simply unclogging a drain or replacing a drain pipe, but you should always shut off the water while doing any plumbing job. The most important reason is if you need to walk away part-way through the job. Someone else could come in and turn on the tap, thus sending a cascade of water all over the room because there is no drain pipe. Another issue is sometimes accidents occur when removing a drain pipe, and a supply line could come loose or become punctured. Most rooms have individual shut off valves, typically under the sink or behind the toilet, so you don't have to turn off water to the whole house.
#3: Depending on chemicals
For many homeowners, the chemical drain cleaner is the go-to DIY repair tool. Unfortunately, these can cause more problems than they fix. Using too much of a drain cleaner can corrode and eat through metal pipes. If the chemicals don't work on the blockage, you or a plumber will then need to contend with the caustic liquid as you attempt to take apart pipes or use an auger to clear the drain. A better option is to see if simple boiling water poured down the drain can dissolve the soap scum or food causing the blockage. If you must turn to chemicals, use them sparingly.
For more help with your home plumbing issues, contact a plumbing service like Bishop Plumbing, Heating and Cooling, Inc. in your area.