5 Common DIY Plumbing Mistakes (and How to Avoid Them)


We’ve all been there. You think that leak will be easy to fix, but – sploosh. It wasn’t. Don’t worry. We’re sharing common mistakes you’ll be able to avoid.

When a sudden leak or drop in water pressure hits you, it often looks easy enough to handle yourself.

After all, it’s just a small leak!

Taking on a DIY project is always a great option and more and more people are opting for it. There’s nothing like getting your hands a little dirty and fixing up your home – it’s something to be proud of.

That’s why we like to write on topics that could better help our community.

Having plumbing problems in your home is no light problem– you’ll want to get them taken care of one way or another. If not, problems like leaks or backups can cause problems with your foundation and even mold!

Making sure you get your DIY projects completed properly is our goal and we’ve put together this helpful guide to let you know about the 5 most common DIY plumbing mistakes.

So take some notes and grab your tools so that you can take on your own personal plumbing DIY and get it done right the first time!

Why DIY?

There are plenty of reasons why someone would want to “DIY” a plumbing project in their home.

Whether it’s to save some money or learn more about plumbing yourself, there’s no reason to avoid a DIY unless your safety is at risk or the problem is too big for your range of knowledge.

Obviously, we don’t recommend you to try and fix up massive damage that’s happened to your water line. It’s definitely a shame when cheaper work comes back to haunt people when it’s time to sell their home.

There are definitely times to call professionals, and there are some great plumbing companies (like Mango Plumbing and Sewer Service, for instance) when that time comes!

hand tools

DIY plumbing mistakes you should avoid

Anyone in the plumbing business knows it’s fair to say that there’s more than a fair share of plumbing disasters and DIY mistakes.

In the end, a mistake could end up costing you more than if you called a professional company in the first place. But we understand that DIY projects are a fun and efficient way to handle some small problems, so we’ve put together a guide of the top 5 most common DIY plumbing mistakes – and how you can avoid them!

Not sloping the drain enough

Remember in school when we had to do those math problems to figure out the slope of some points? Most of us probably left that behind as soon as we stepped out of the classroom for the day, but figuring out the right slope is a necessity when it comes to plumbing.

One common mistake that DIY plumbers make is not giving the right slope to your drains.

Think about it: if your drain isn’t sloped, what’s stopping the water from just sitting in the pipe since it’s leveled off? Nothing!

This problem can lead to your drains backing up more frequently or your pipes degrading from the material sitting inside of them.

Using the wrong tools

Getting the job done right starts with having the right foundation to set you up on the right path. That good foundation? Your tools!

When you are completing a DIY plumbing job, you don’t want to use a one-size-fits-all approach with your tools. Of course, you’ll have different wrenches and tools, but make sure they’re correct for what you’re doing.

Making sure that the tools are the right size and material for the job are a necessity. For example, you will want to make sure that you don’t use a regular wrench on your appliances or pipes that have a metallic finish.

Why? Because the metal-on-metal contact will damage the finish and perhaps the structure of more delicate structures.

Instead, opt for a strap wrench to save the finish of your items.

You will also want to make sure that you are using the right length screws, the right pipe materials, and so forth to make sure that your work is long lasting!

Not getting the right permits

One major problem with DIY work is when someone skips an important step: getting permits.

If you are about to tackle some DIY plumbing work, make sure to do some research and find out if the work you’ll be doing requires a permit.

Though it’s possible that you won’t get “caught” while you are doing the work, unpermitted work can cost you major bucks if you try to sell your home or renew your home insurance.

If your work is unpermitted, not only could you receive a fine, but you may have to completely remove your work– wasting the money and time you spent. And if it was a necessary structure, you’ll then have to call a professional to redo the work!

Over-using chemicals

When your drains become clogged, it’s tempting to go and buy a bottle of chemical product to unclog your pipes. However, you will want to avoid these items if you are a smart DIY-er.

Why? Because using chemicals like store-bought drain cleaners can damage your pipes in the long run. Sure, they may fix the backup but you will be costing yourself more in the future than if you went ahead and tackled the problem in a professional way.

These chemicals have a bad habit of eating away at the lining of your pipes. Over time, these will become weak and prone to bursting.

Not calling the pros when they’re needed

We’ve all seen those hilarious scenes of the husband or boyfriend “fixing” the sink with duct tape and gum, but this is actually a pretty good example to use.

When we tackle a DIY project, there will be times when it becomes too much to handle on your own. It may be that the problem is larger than expected, you ran out of time, or it’s simply out of your knowledge range.

Many DIY-ers might try to use alternative methods to solve their problem in these cases. But, let us tell you, these “duct-tape” methods may not hold up in the long run. To keep your home as safe as possible, and make sure that more damage doesn’t happen, it’s important to call professionals.

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