Whether the sink, toilet, tub, or drain, when you take on a DIY home plumbing job, it can go from “manageable” to full-on “disaster” in a matter of minutes. Many homeowners will start a plumbing project, but quickly end up over their heads in tools, parts, blueprints, sludge, and water. So it is important to protect yourself from plumbing catastrophes like this with proper knowledge, practice, and assistance. Continue reading to learn the top five rules to avoiding do-it-yourself plumbing mishaps and regrets.
Avoid Direct Copper-to-Steel ConnectionsWhen replacing parts of your plumbing pipe, avoid connecting copper pipes and galvanized steel pipes directly. And a thin layer of thread sealant or Teflon tape won’t cut it either. Steel plumbing pipe can begin to corrode as soon as the connection to copper is made tight. Instead, use a fitting device called a dielectric union to connect copper plumbing pipes to galvanized steel plumbing pipes. It is essentially a metal collar that uses isolation brushings, one half steel and the other half copper. That way, each part is kept separate.
Know the Proper Plumbing Code for Big Projects
There are rules to home plumbing and construction, namely codes. These codes are very complex, with meticulous and detailed rules that dictate how, what, and where you can do plumbing work. For instance, you must know how far you can place certain fixtures from a drain waste vent-line according to its pipe diameter and other specifications. These details are important to know if you want to ensure the safety and integrity of your residence and all its utility systems. Purchase a copy of the Uniform Plumbing Code (UPC) and a book called Code Check before attempting any major DIY construction projects.
Know the Exact Location of Your Plumbing Pipes
Before taking a hammer or drill to your drywall, it is important to make sure you know what you are drilling or hammering into. A common mistake homeowners make is rupturing copper or plastic supply or drains inside walls. Purchase a stud sensor to check your walls before any sort of demolition. This device will detect both pipes and electrical wiring.
Always Perform a Water Leak Test Before Finishing Up
At the conclusion of your plumbing project, it is important to always check for water leaks before sealing everything back up. If installing new valve components, you’ll want to check that it opens and closes, and also run hot and cold water through it to see that it drains properly. In fact, you’ll want to check drains and faucets like this. You can purchase a leak detector detergent at a hardware or home improvement store to check for gas line leaks as well.
Never Over-Tighten Plumbing Connections and Components
Since you cannot always trust the fit or quality of all plumbing components, you may be tempted to over-tighten connections to ensure a good fit. But this is not only in-effective, it is detrimental to your plumbing components. A simple half-turn past the tension point is all you need to properly tighten and close up all your connections. Things like brass copper gas fittings are more susceptible to wrench damage than steel plumbing pipes, but in all cases, proper tension should be used.