It's not so hard to pick up do-it-yourself plumbing skills with a bit of practice. If you are careful and dedicated, you can save yourself big money on repair bills by taking care of small problems on your own. But be forewarned – just owning a pair of channel-lock pliers doesn't make you an expert plumber. Make sure you steer clear of some of these common mistakes that can foul up your system:
- Leaving the water on during repairs: If there's one cardinal rule to follow when undertaking a plumbing repair, it's to turn the water off before you begin. Either switch off the main shutoff valve where the water enters your home, or close the localized valves that are found near your sinks and toilets. Failure to stop the water supply can lead to a huge mess when the water comes gushing out at full pressure of whatever pipe you just loosened.
- Being careless with the soldering torch: Soldering pipes together isn't necessarily a difficult job, but it can be a dangerous one. When you break out the torch, make sure to protect any flammable areas near your work space, and never set the torch down unattended when the flame is turned on.
- Flushing trash down the toilet: It can be tempting to use the toilet as a garbage can, but you should never flush anything but toilet paper and human waste. Sending trash or other bathroom products down the drain can clog your pipes in a hurry, and potentially cause the toilet to overflow in a nasty and hazardous mess.
- Putting grease into the sink drain: Cleaning up bacon grease can be annoying, and it seems easy enough to just wash it right down the sink. Bad idea. That fat and grease can clog your drain badly enough to force you to call a plumber. Plumbing works best when it's well cared for – not abused with grease.
- Leaving exposed pipes in the winter: When the temperatures drop below freezing, the pipes in your home should be protected by your heating system. But any plumbing that goes through unheated parts of your home or is exposed to the outdoors is liable to freeze, and possibly burst. Make sure you drain your irrigation system and insulate any pipes that could be at risk before you have to deal with a frigid flood.
- Refusing to ask for help: Sometimes, you just need to know when to surrender and call in a plumber. Plumbing work can be tricky, and even jobs that look like they should be simple can produce serious complications.
Professional Plumbers Plumbing Professionally
When you aren't sure if you can handle a job yourself, remember that it's easier to bring in a professional from the start than to call them up to clean up your emergency. If you need help on any household plumbing projects, contact an expert plumber today.