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Top Plumbing Mistakes that You Should Avoid

It is easy to repair most plumbing problems at home, or update existing fixtures with just a few tools.  Some work is easy. You should be better informed about the various types of fittings, pipes solder and glue as this is an area that DIY enthusiasts often fail to understand. 

DIY enthusiasts also make common mistakes such as using the wrong parts. These are the top plumbing mistakes to avoid in order to do the job correctly. 

Over Tightening Plumbing Connections 

The most common plumbing mistake is over tightening plumbing fixtures. This includes toilet bolts and pipe fittings. Excessive turning on galvanized, black, or galvanized pipe fittings, elbows and couplings can cause damage. Although cracking is not likely right away, excessive force can break fixtures a few days to weeks later. This can lead flooding. 

You should also tighten the fittings in your toilets and supply tubes that connect faucets. You can seal your supply tubes with little pressure. The nuts should not be tightened too tightly as they can break and leak. 

Do not tighten the toilet’s closet bolts. If the tank or bowl are too tight, your toilet may crack porcelain. 

Wrapping Thread Tape Backwards 

Teflon tape, also called PTFE, must be wrapped clockwise about threads in order to work properly. DIY homeowners often wrap the tape in a reversed fashion so it doesn’t unwind while tightening a fixture. This renders the tape ineffective as it won’t seal properly. 

Tip: Wrap the tape three-times around the fixture’s threads. As you attach the fixture, make sure that the final wrap faces left. If the last wrap is to your right, stop screwing and wrap again. 

You should only use the appropriate tape 

  • To thread gas line fittings, you can use a yellow gas-rated tape 
  • Water supply fittings should be made with thick pink and white tape 
  • Never use thread tapes on flares or compression fixtures. 

First Choice: Drain Line Cleaners 

You can unclog your kitchen and bathroom sinks by using a snake or barbed drain cleaning tools. Another option is to remove the drain P-trap and then pour the material that caused the blockage. Most DIY enthusiasts, however, use liquid drain cleansers as their first choice and pour too much down the drain. 

This is a huge error, since liquid drain cleaners don’t work well. These cleaners often create more problems than the ones they solve. 

  • If the liquid cleaner does not clear the drain blockage, it is possible to end up having to take out the drain trap arms. 
  • Use of too much cleaner, or using it for longer periods than necessary, can damage metal pipes and traps. This could cause leakage. 
  • Liquid cleaners destroy rubber gaskets in couplings. This may lead to future leakage. 

Starting Plumbing Jobs without the Spare Parts 

DIY homeowners often forget to buy the washer and cartridge they need for fixing the faucet. You might need to replace the cartridge or washer if it is worn. Failure to replace O rings, gasket, stem, or washer when replacing cartridges or washers can lead to a leaking faucet. This means that you will have to visit the hardware store once more and disassemble the faucet and reassemble it. These peripheral components are very affordable, so it is worth buying them in advance. 

You should also do the same thing when you are fixing drain lines. If you must disassemble any metallic arms or p traps, make sure that you have enough rubber seals to replace any missing gaskets. You can reuse bevelled washers for PVC arms and traps. 

Keep spares handy in case you find a broken or lost washer or are working on a plumbing fixture. 

Not Turning Off Water 

Most people assume they can leave the water on and then quickly change the valve. It’s not the best way to do it. If you can’t repair a valve or faucet quickly, water can flood your home. It could also flow to other rooms on the same floor. 

Don’t risk your money for something that you don’t have the time or patience to do. First, turn off all water supply to the fixture. Expert plumbers will turn off the main valve. Do the same before making any repairs. 

Using Excessive Pressure on Valves Stuck On Shut Off 

Most toilet and sink valves fail to turn after being inactive for several days. The problem cannot be solved if you can’t turn the valve by hand. The knob could be broken and the stem may even be damaged. This is typically due to the packing sealing welding onto the stem, which causes the valve not to turn. 

You can loosen the stem by using a wrench. This will allow the knob to move freely and break the tight bond. Now tighten the nut so that no leakage occurs. 

Sweating Copper Pipes with Water 

Copper fittings or pipes should not be wet before being sweated. Joint leakage can occur if water is present near the area where you are working. The torch is not able to heat the water in order to make it evaporate. This will cause the copper to become brittle. Steam will create pinholes in soldering. You will soon notice water jets coming from the soldered spot and you will have to start over. 

White bread is a great solution to the problem. This plug is similar to a capsule. This can be done before you use the torch to make plumbing fixtures. 

Lacking Tools 

Plumbers make plumbing look simple because they have all of the right tools. DIY-lovers are often using the wrong tools, which is when things go wrong.  

You can break galvanized pipes by trying to remove them with plier. It is possible to avoid these damages by investing the right tools. 

You can find a set of affordable pipe wrenches at your local hardware store. The same applies to all plumbing repairs and installation. 

  • Strap wrenches can cause damage to the faucet’s finish. An alternative is to use electrician’s adhesive tape to cover the contact jaws. 
  • Use an adjustable basin wrench for stubborn faucet fasteners and supply tube removal. 
  • A combination of interior and exterior wire brushes can accelerate copper burnishing. 
  • Avoid using a hacksaw for cutting squares. Use a tubing cutter that is suitable for cutting squares. 

Mixing Elbows, Tees, And Wyes 

It is essential to understand the proper fitting for each application. This will help you avoid plumbing code violations and bad odors in your house. 

A wye is used to connect the drain pipe to the p-trap. An elbow at 45 degrees for horizontal connections can look great. This is a violation in plumbing codes, and can lead to major problems. The slope will allow water to drain faster and can cause water loss from the drain p trap. This would allow sewer gasses into your home. 

It is best to choose the right sanitary tie. Tees cannot be used in all drainage situations. When connecting horizontal pipes to vertical drains, or connecting horizontal pipes to vertical pipes, you can’t use a tee. You may need a different type of elbow for different applications. You cannot use a 90° elbow to change the direction of your drain unless it can withstand frequent unclogging. This is why it is important that you know which fitting is suitable for which application. 

Tutorials may help you to identify the correct applications for different fittings. For more information, contact your local plumber inspector before you buy any fittings. 

Installing Saddle Valves In Humidifiers Or Ice Makers 

Today’s plumbing codes don’t allow saddle valves. Old furnace humidifiers and some icemakers often came with saddle vales. 

You can still find them at your local hardware store, this is a huge error. These valves can cause leaks when they are used too often for shutting or opening. Leakages can be hidden in these fittings, which may make them difficult to detect and could lead to mould problems. Instead, you should use ball valves with such fittings. 

If you have fittings with saddle valves replace them with ball vales before saddle valves cause leakage. 

Inadequate Slope 

Excessively steep slopes are not good for plumbing. If you think higher slopes will make it easier, you are wrong. Higher slopes mean liquids will move faster while solids will slow down. Problems can result when solids are left behind. The ideal slope should be 1/4″ for every foot. 

Inadequate Clean outs 

Cleanouts sometimes are not placed in the right spots. A drain line should have sufficient clearance for repair. Cleanouts cannot be installed beyond your first floor. 

They may also be installed. It depends on the design of your drain to allow you to install cleanouts. 

If horizontal branches are less than 100ft from sanitary stacks, every one of them should have a cleaning. They are necessary if the line goes in a different direction than 45 degrees. They are recommended to be used between the drains and the sewer within a distance of 10 ft. 

Spacing in Toilets 

The minimum distance between the toilet (and the side wall) is 15 inches. Also, 18 inches is the recommended minimum distance between the toilets & the front wall. 

Ignoring Codes Local 

A plumber should be familiar with all local plumbing codes. A plumber licensed and experienced must know all the plumbing codes in the local region. The regulations are not something that average homeowners know. 

Therefore, it is recommended that you check with the local authority before starting any plumbing project. Without knowing the regulations that apply to plumbing projects, you could get in trouble with the authorities. The work involved will determine whether or not you need a permit. 

This will vary depending on the city or state. Some cities require permits to install toilets. Others only need permits to do large-scale remodelling and renovations. It is important to find out about the plumbing codes in your area before starting any DIY project that involves plumbing. 

Is it not necessary to comply with local regulations? It is possible that local authorities won’t come to your house to inspect the plumbing or your bathroom. However, plumbing work performed without permits could cause many problems. 

After all, unlicensed DIY work is amateur work. Videos tutorials and written material might not give you enough knowledge and experience. Even though a plumber can do small jobs with ease, professional plumbing technicians are needed to properly handle larger projects and comply with all set codes. 

If your DIY installation fails or leaks, you’ll need to contact a plumber. Insurance problems may arise if your property is damaged by extensive leakage. 

Insurers will often decline to pay for damages caused by projects without permits. You may be fined if you are caught using permits that were not required. The area you are located and the severity of your violations will impact the amount you pay. 

Pouring Grease & Oils down Your Drain 

It’s tempting to pour grease down the drain when cooking. It is not advised. Grease is the main cause of clogged drains. Boiling water can not clean out the entire drain. After a while, it will harden and clog your drainage. 

Flushing Any Material Down Your Toilet 

People flush materials down the toilets even though they know it’s bad practice. Although it looks big, the toilet piping actually leads to a smaller 3 inch pipe by most standards. This is the pipe that your home drains into. It is possible to block your entire drain by flushing more material than the pipe can hold. 

Every homeowner should remember that pipes are designed specifically to help with plumbing and not for any other purposes. 

It’s also important to know the causes of clogging, and what damages pipes. You will still need to call a plumber in the case of a plumbing emergency. But it’ll be easier to avoid making mistakes.