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Common DIY Plumbing Mistakes

  • 26 Mar 2015

Who needs a plumber these days, just check out the 'how to' videos on Youtube. 'It only took supermario4792 three minutes to sort out the problem, surely I can do it in 10 minutes, maximum.' These are the famous last words of so many DIY home improvement enthusiasts taking on their own plumbing projects.

The plumbing system in your home may look simple but it's actually a delicate balance of many factors which ensure that clean water comes in where you want it and wastewater and sewage are removed from your house effectively, never to return. Getting the balance wrong can result in it all going so very wrong. Before you take supermario4792's advice, take a look at our list of DIY plumbing mistakes to avoid.

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Dripping tap

Common DIY plumbing mistakes

Not turning off the mains water before starting work

Imagine putting the garden hose through the kitchen window and turning it on full just for a few minutes, or about the time it would take you to run from the kitchen to the water mains outside the house. Best case outcome, it's a bit of a mop-up job, worst case scenario - electrical appliances need replacing, cabinets swell from the water, the carpets of adjoining rooms gets wet, not good at all.

Over tightening plumbing fittings

Sure, your time at the gym is paying off, maybe you can bench press a small car, we're sure the ladies are impressed (nothing says husband material like this valuable life skill). But overdoing the muscle while tightening the fittings on the taps is not going to end well. Over tightening fittings can result in stripping the threads causing them to leak or ultimately break.

Reassembling plumbing components incorrectly / forgetting how the bits go back together

Did the washer go in next or was it the little screw or maybe it was the connector thing. Mmmmm, maybe supermario4792 will know. The correct reassembly of fittings is essential, unfortunately, different manufacturers can vary components slightly even with similar looking parts.

Joining different metals without the right connector

A 'dielectric union' is not a marriage between a mortician and an electrician, it's a coupling which acts an electrical barrier between two different metals. Metals such as copper and steel can corrode if the correct connector is not used. The 'dielectric corrosion' can build up over time and block the pipe.

Using the wrong tools

So you've just finished replacing those loose decking boards, just enough time to haul the toolbox to the bathroom and fix that leaking pipe under the vanity before Saturday night dinner. (Don't worry if it all goes wrong we have an emergency plumber on hand so you don't miss your steak and chips.) Unfortunately, most home DIY toolboxes don't contain the specific plumbing tools you could need for your DIY plumbing project. Having the right tools and knowing how to use them effectively could make or break your simple Saturday arvo job.

Using the wrong method to unblock a drain

Having a crack with the plunger, OK. The occasional chemical drain cleaner, not so bad. DIY drain snake, not such a good idea. Different drains, such as the bath, washing machine or toilet, require different tools, tool sizes and techniques to clear blocked drains. If you pick the wrong method for the drain you could do more damage than constructive unblocking.

Doing work which is required be carried out by a licenced plumber

This is the big one everyone thinks they're going to get away with. Save a few bucks, surely no one is going to check up. Or will they. It could be days, months or even years but it will catch up with you and probably cost a lot more than it would have if you got the work done by a licenced plumber in the first place. Taking on projects such as renovations without the knowledge of local building regulations or the necessary permits or licences can cause all sorts of headaches when it comes time to sell or get other plumbing or building work done professionally.

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Licenced Plumber

She'll be right

Almost, looks similar, good enough, just about, nearly, approximately, roughly - none of these sayings should be applied to plumbing work. If it's not done right, it's being done wrong.

Do yourself a favour and call a licenced plumber next time you need plumbing work done around the house. Put your DIY skills to use in other areas of the home.

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