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Are you the sort of person who gets the duct tape out when you spot a leaky pipe, or who turns to the plunger for any sort of blockage? If you love to DIY instead of PSETDIFY (Pay Someone Else To Do It For You), it’s always worth reminding yourself of what not to do first, and that some things are actually best left to the professionals. Here’s our list of the most common plumbing fails and how you can avoid them.
This has got to be our number one plumbing fail. Whether you’ve detected a leak or you’re about to start taking pipes apart, always remember to turn off the water first. Your family will never let you live down the Great Flood if you don’t.
No one wants to get their hands dirty when it comes to drain blockages, but simply throwing drain cleaner into your system every time can actually do more harm than good. The harsh chemicals in most drain cleaners will eventually corrode your pipes if used too frequently so turn to more eco-friendly substances like baking soda, soda crystals, vinegar and lemon juice to save yourself cracks and leaks.
Drains are meant for water and liquids and not much else – putting anything else down there is a big plumbing faux pas. So keep the grease and coffee grains out of the kitchen sink and the nappies out of the toilet.
As much as it is hard work, plumbing also requires a light and expert touch at times. Lots of DIY plumbers make the mistake of being too heavy handed in an effort to solve leaks and drips; in fact, over tightening taps can cause them to break, just as over tightening connectors can cause threads to break and pipes to leak. It pays to be gentle.
If there’s one thing you need to know about plumbing, it’s that it’s very easy to take apart, not so easy to put back together! Lots of home plumbers plunge headlong into repairs without actually putting a plan together first. From forgetting to leave enough space between fixtures to attempting to join mismatched pipes and connectors, a lack of planning can mean catastrophe. There’s a reason professional plumbers undergo years of training.
If you’re sensible with planning, there are some plumbing jobs you can do quite easily yourself. Changing a tap or clearing a minor blockage? Fine. Accessing the mains water supply or getting at pipes behind walls? Not so much. As with any DIY, it’s important to know your limits – turning to a professional might just be the most cost-effective solution when you factor in the price of a plumbing catastrophe.