How do you choose to deal with your plumbing problems? If you’re like most people, you’ll call the pros to repair a broken pipe or leaky faucet. However, some people insist on doing the job themselves, and they aren’t always careful. If you want to prevent flooding your home, take heed of the following useful advice when taking on DIY projects.
Do you regularly rely on the plumbing “expertise” available at your local chain hardware store? Unless you’re fortunate enough to have an ex plumber or professional handyman running the show, the average minimum wage-earning teen or college student who works part-time doesn’t know the difference between a coat hanger and a snake. They gather most of their information from the back of product boxes and by overhearing other conversations between customers. You wouldn’t expect employees at a grocery store to be skilled cooks, so why should a hardware store clerk know how to fix your leaky pipes?
At the same token, don’t depend on the internet to be the solution to all of your problems. It’s probably a better place to start than the hardware store, but the information available can be just as misleading if not downright incorrect. Use tips and advice as guidelines, but exercise great caution when approaching any project that requires skills beyond the most basic. A better place to get reliable information is through the library. Unlike the internet, books are fact-checked and reviewed by multiple sources to ensure a higher level of quality than your typical plumbing forum post. There are also more detailed instructions and diagrams which can be extremely useful.
If you do decide to tackle a plumbing problem on your own, be smart about how you do it. Never assume anything. That means read all warning labels on any products used (this is especially important if you will be using any chemicals such as liquid drainer), take pictures as you dismantle each piece, and bring the parts with you to the store to find the exact replacement. By being a little bit more cautious, you’ll save yourself a mess of trouble later on when you have to put everything back together again.
Timing is another crucial factor when performing repairs. You will likely need a few hours to completely finish many jobs (include extra time for breaks, snacks, and mistakes), and in most instances people aren’t in the position to leave anything half-finished. To ensure your project doesn’t get swept aside and suddenly you’re without a shower for a month, choose to start the job when there is ample time to do so. Don’t start anything before guests are arriving or if you will need to use the appliance later on. Choose a good long weekend if possible and be prepared to borrow someone else’s facilities during this time.
And what is the number one mistake amateur plumbers make? Forgetting to turn off the main water supply. No matter the job shut it down or else you’ll end up with a flood and a huge headache.