DIY projects can be fun and enormously self- satisfying. Unfortunately, when you do not have the knowledge of a qualified plumber, making the smallest mistake during a DIY plumbing project can end up costing you a great deal of money in having it fixed. You end up spending more money on correcting your mistakes than you would have if you initially called in a professional. Here are a few of the DIY mistakes plumbers are called in to fix on a regular basis.
7 of the Most Common DIY Mistakes
1. The Wrong Toilet Placement
Replacing a toilet is a relatively simple project, provided that you shut off the water lines and empty the water already in the toilet, before removing the toilet. However, the problems mostly occur when the new toilet is fitted and it doesn’t fit as well as the old toilet used to.
This mistake is the result of an incorrect ‘rough-in’, the measurement that determines the distance from the finished wall to the toilet’s nearest floor bolt. In modern homes the standard rough-in is around 30 cm, but the rough-in of older homes it could range from 25 to 35 cm. If you cannot find the correct toilet replacement, you may have to move the drain, which can be a major and expensive job.
2. No Slope in the Shower Floor
Plumbing relies on gravity and when water cannot flow downwards, it becomes a stagnant pool that is a breeding ground for mold, mildew, and bacteria.
If you have decided to renovate your bathroom and add in a shower, the shower floor needs to be at an angle so that water can flow to the drain. Typically, the shower floor should drop roughly 1 cm for every 30 cm there are from the shower wall to the drain. Not taking the slope into account during installation can lead to expensive problems later.
3. Mismatched Pipes
Modern plumbing systems rely on a wide variety of pipes of different materials, such as plastic, brass, copper or galvanized steel. For someone who does not have much plumbing knowledge, the different pipes and their uses can be confusing, and thus some people just try to ‘make it work’. This can be dangerous as pipes need to fit together correctly, otherwise they pose a leak risk. Additionally, some pipes are not meant to be mixed or connected under any circumstances, which can cause big and expensive problems.
4: Over-tightening Connections
Plumbing connections need to be watertight, but most connections already make a watertight seal, and do not need to be greatly tightened. Over-tightening damages the fittings and breaks the rubber or plastic washers that create the built in seal. It can also strip pipe threads or crack plastic fittings, making the connection useless. Loosening an over-tightened connection can result in snapping the pipe or wearing down the fittings so that they can only be removed by cutting the pipe.
5. How Do I Put This Back Together Again?
It happens all too often as it is too easy to forget how the pieces of a fixture or a drain trap goes back together. Newly bought fixtures may have an instruction manual, but you may have no point of reference for old fixtures. It may not seem like a big deal but assembling the pieces correctly does matter. For example, a drain trap that is incorrectly assembled can allow sewer gas to waft up through the pipes. Incorrect assembly can also result in damaging leaks. It is advised to take a picture of the plumbing and its parts before you disassemble the whole fixture.
6: The Excessive Use of Drain Cleaner
Although drain cleaner may seem like a great quick fix, over time it can damage your pipes and fixtures. Excessive use of drain cleaner can also cause a build up around the clogs they are meant to clear. Due to the chemicals in the cleaner, this creates a toxic hazard and even a breathing hazard if fumes from the cleaner waft up through the pipes. It is better to rely on more natural methods and a drain snake. If the clog can not be dislodged by this method, you should call a professional.
7: Leaving the Water On
Easy DIY projects can turn into expensive disasters when you forget to shut off the water valve. Water flowing onto the floor or inside the walls causes damage to your home, which is why it is important to know the correct valve to shut off. Additionally, shutting off the valve does not mean there is no water left in the pipes. To make sure there is no left over water in a pipe, run the kitchen or bathroom faucet for a few seconds.
DIY plumbing projects can often spiral out of control and become more complicated than expected. When you are faced with an issue you do not have full confidence in solving, turn to the experienced plumbing professionals at Inspector Jet to make sure the job is done right.