Top 5 Common Plumbing Mistakes Homeowners Make

February 5, 2022

Taking on home plumbing projects yourself can be challenging. Avoid these common plumbing mistakes that inexperienced homeowners make when they DIY.

Many homeowners take pride in managing their homestead, like handling their own plumbing work. Whether it’s to save money or to learn something new there is something to be said for a can-do attitude. In this article, we’ll share some of the common mistakes homeowners make that can lead to costly resolutions. 

1. Using a Chemical Drain Cleaner

You’ve seen the advertisements or read about it online, companies promoting liquid drain cleaner as the miracle product to solve your drain problems. While a few cups of liquid chemicals down your drain can open the pipes, sending debris and waster water into the sewer, they can have a lasting effect on your galvanized plumbing. Homeowners who use this product on a regular basis can cause their piping to become corroded or leaky.

Fortunately, there are many ways to clear your stubborn clogs without releasing caustic chemicals into your home’s plumbing system:

  • Plumbing Auger: This is a manually powered tool similar to a drain snake and can clean stubborn clogs without the use of chemicals.
  • Natural Products: Clear out a slow drain with baking soda, a few sprinkles followed by some vinegar then left to sit for a few hours can help alleviate the problem.
  • Call a plumber: If your drain is still giving you issues then it’s time to call in your local plumbing professionals. A good plumber will able to assess and solve the problem without damaging your home’s plumbing.

2. Forgetting To Turn Off The Water Before You Begin A Project

For all water-related projects, don’t forget to add a step for shutting off your water. Failure to turn the water off before beginning your plumbing installation or repair can lead to spurting pipes or gushing water which can lead to a small flood. Take time before your next project to get to know your home’s plumbing and identify where your local shutoff valve and water main is located.

3. Performing Unpermitted Work

Making significant changes to your home’s plumbing system without acquiring the proper permits can carry the cost of devaluing your home. Homes with unpermitted work may take longer to sell or may sell minus the cost for repairs to fix the previous work.

Depending on your state you may be required to contact a contractor in order to pull the permits. Regardless, you should be absolutely sure that you have the permits to perform any major work around the house like the installation of a bathroom or repiping. Permits are an important part of the community as it allows local building officials to have oversight over home improvement projects to ensure the safety of the construction of each building. While permits can be an expensive start to any project, a permit will protect you from fines down the road while ensuring that your plumbing project is done right.

4. Connecting Galvanized and Copper Pipes

This is a common occurrence in DIY projects as it requires a certain specialized knowledge beforehand. When galvanized pipes come into contact with copper pipes, corrosion occurs. Homeowners performing their own plumbing work may be unaware of this problem and will repair old galvanized pipes using more modern copper pipes. These pipes can be connected with a special connection called a dielectric union. Dielectric unions are used to join pipes of different metals by providing a barrier against galvanic corrosion.

5. Performing Certain Projects Without Proper Training 

Homeowners taking on advanced plumbing challenges typically do so without a license or insurance (which most professionals provide). Plumbing professionals bring a lot to the table with extensive knowledge of how home plumbing works. They attend vocational training to learn about proper techniques and the best equipment for the job. They go through an apprenticeship and gain years of experience in the field before taking a licensing exam. All of this experience ensures the quality of the work and the safety of your home.

Homeowners who take on projects more advanced than their capabilities risk hurting themselves or damaging their homes. This can result in spending even more money to bring in a contractor to undo the previous work and complete it correctly.

In some situations, it might be hard to tell if a project is beyond the scope of your skill level. When this happens we always recommend reaching out to your local plumbing company before you begin your next project. A good plumber will be able to estimate the complexity of the project and provide a recommendation of whether it’s something you can do yourself or get help with.

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