Things You Should Know About DIY Plumbing – Forbes Advisor

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For some, the idea of ​​doing their own plumbing can be scary. Even experienced do-it-yourselfers have their share of horror stories. Nobody wants to experience a plumbing problem that they caused themselves. We spoke to our home repair expert for advice. Here is some information to help you address some of your own plumbing problems without doing more harm than good.

Q: What plumbing jobs can you do by yourself?

A: Surprisingly, there is a lot of plumbing that you can do yourself. With a few inexpensive tools, even a beginner can save big bucks by clearing clogged drains, fixing faucets, fixing leaks under a sink, or taming uncooperative toilet problems.

Q: What tools are needed for home improvement installations?

A: An auger and basin wrench are the only special tools needed to get started. The rest of what you need is likely already in your basic tool kit. An adjustable wrench, pliers, large sewer lock pliers, hacksaw, and a couple of screwdrivers do most of the small jobs. I find that when doing plumbing it is almost always handy to have needle-nose pliers close by.

As you become more confident in your skills, your plumbing tool collection will likely grow with you. A pipe wrench or two, basin wrench, pipe cutter, tape wrench, and a few jig-specific tools can be all you will ever need to look and feel like a skilled handyman plumber.

Q: Do you have any tips on pipeline maintenance?

A: Plumbers are often called in to fix problems that simple maintenance could have avoided. Adding a lint catcher to your washing machine drain hose and replacing or cleaning up any dirtier ones is the easiest task a homeowner can do to minimize clogged laundry drains.

Other annoying drains in the house can be cleaned from time to time by dismantling the P-trap under the sink and unwinding the first few feet of drain pipe. This is a simple task that can avoid major problems later.

In households with particularly hard water, you can keep shower heads and faucet aerators flowing freely by treating them with a limescale remover on a regular basis.

Q: What should you know about chemical clog removers?

A: Chemical clog removers should generally be considered unsafe. They are toxic to people and pets, and can seriously damage pipes, seals, and porcelain fittings. Using an auger rather than a chemical clog remover is almost always preferable. That is, they have valuable uses.

Kitchen drain clogs are often made worse by the presence of cooking oil in the line. It can be thick and difficult to remove by hand. Drain blockage removers are usually very effective at clearing these types of blockages. Use them sparingly and only when you really need them.

Q: How can you avoid plumbing emergencies?

A: The best thing you can do to avoid a plumbing emergency is to be careful about what you put down your drains. Otherwise, maintenance is the be-all and end-all. Regular cleaning of drains is great, along with an eye on exposed plumbing fixtures. Look for any mineral buildup or discoloration that could indicate something is wrong. Tube fittings often alert you that they need attention before they cause a major problem.

Your water heater can also be a source of installation problems. Learn how to rinse it once a year and have the anode rod changed every couple of years. You will likely need a plumber to do anode rod work unless you are very familiar with the process. Paying a plumber to maintain your water heater almost always costs less than the problems caused by water heater failures.

Sump pumps that have stopped working can do incredible damage to your basement. Test the system from time to time. Check the backup battery and keep it charged. Also make sure that the drain hose is always free of obstructions.

Take the time to learn where all of the water stop valves are in the system. Knowing where they are won’t prevent a water leak, but it can definitely minimize the damage it causes if you can stop the flow early.

Q: When should you call a plumber?

A: Use a plumber whenever you feel uncomfortable with a plumbing problem. Your gut feeling is often correct. As you gain experience with minor plumbing repairs, your confidence and skills will increase too. That way, you can get bigger and bigger tasks done in comfort. Hiring a plumber is required for larger drain protection, installing new plumbing, or anything with gas piping.

Q: What are the most common DIY installation mistakes?

A: Probably the most common mistake is the thought of not being able to carry out simple repairs to pipelines yourself. With a little research you can reduce your reliance on your plumber. Always play it safe, but you will be surprised what you can really do.

Common tactical installation mistakes are usually simple things. Over-tightening fittings, using the wrong pipe adhesive, and crisscrossing fitting threads are the most important. My best advice is to take your time, make sure the water is turned off at your workplace, and be patient with yourself. Remember, plumbers spend years learning their craft. You may not be an expert right away.

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