We are a do-it-yourself society brought up by craft- and tool-loving parents, who taught us to have a “can-do” attitude. Though you may be tempted to make every plumbing repair a DIY project, at times it’s best to leave a repair job to experienced professionals. Making a mistake with your home’s plumbing can result in a messy and expensive disaster—often bigger than the problem you started with!
Still, a successful DIY project is no myth! If you’re facing a fix you feel up to handling, read these DIY plumbing tips first. They’ll boost your success and help you stay safe.
1. Learn About Your Home’s Plumbing System Before You Start Work
Plumbing may seem simple, but it’s a fairly complex system, and it helps to learn about it before taking on a do-it-yourself job.
Understand where and how the water flows through your house. Learn the difference between a vent pipe and a waste pipe. Get the lay of the land in terms of where your home’s drain lines, sewer lines, and pipes are located.
2. Know Where Shutoff Valves Are Located
You should get familiar with shutoff valves as you educate yourself on your house’s plumbing in general, but valves are so important, it bears repeating! It’s very important for DIYers to know where shutoff valves are located. You’ll find you have a number of them spread throughout your home. In many cases, there is one for each bathroom and a separate one for the kitchen.
Though it’s a good thing to know where each is and how to access it, what’s essential is knowing where the main water valve is located. Look in the basement or near your hot water tank.
Before you begin any plumbing repair, check that the main water valve is easily adjustable and not rusted shut. This ensures you can access it in a hurry, avoiding water damage should your DIY repair spring a leak.
Knowing the location of your main water valve is important even if you never do DIY plumbing repairs. Should you ever experience a plumbing problem, you can take the first important step of turning the water off, preventing more extensive harm to your house and plumbing system.
3. Arm Yourself with the Right Tools
Before you get started, take a careful inventory of your toolbox to make sure you have all the equipment and supplies you need for your DIY plumbing job. There’s nothing like the frustration of clearing your schedule, changing into your work clothes, and shutting down your entire household’s water supply only to find that you need to run to the hardware store to buy solder and flux. Do your homework, and make sure you have the right tools on hand.
Here are some plumbing tools and supplies you’ll most likely need for a range of DIY plumbing repairs:
- Drain snake
- Teflon tape
- Paper towels
4. Try to Avoid Chemicals
Many homeowners turn straight to the chemicals when they’re experiencing a plumbing clog. But these solutions can be harmful to your health, your plumbing system, and the environment. A good DIY plumbing tip is to do your best to avoid the chemicals and use greener alternatives instead.
Here are some mixtures that can solve the problem of a drain clog in a jiffy!
- Baking soda and salt
- Baking soda and lemon juice
- Baking soda and cider vinegar
- A drain snake
- Boiling water
- Enzymatic drain cleaners
Using chemicals can seem like an easy fix, but over time they can cause bigger issues. Help yourself, the environment, and your plumbing by opting for other remedies.
5. Turn Off Appliances and/or Electricity
Sometimes as you work on your plumbing, you come in close contact with electrical appliances, such as your dishwasher, water heater, or garbage disposal. We do not recommend handling these plumbing projects on your own, but if you do, turn off these appliances before you get started. Gas water heaters should also be turned off.
And always make sure the power is off before you start on any plumbing work that may involve electrical or gas appliances or hookups.
6. Know When to Call a Professional
One of the signs of a successful DIYer is knowing when you need help. While some plumbing projects can definitely be handled by a homeowner who is also a handyman, the biggest DIY plumbing tip is to know when to call it. Getting in touch with a plumber at the right time can help keep a small problem from becoming bigger.
If you’re ready to have a plumbing technician take over or you just want a little advice before getting started on your own, we invite you to give us a call! We offer appliance installation, leak repair, renovation assistance, 24/7 emergency repair, and more. You can reach C&W plumbing at 972-395-2597.
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