It can be easy to think that plumbing problems can be easily fixed without the help of a professional. But the harsh reality is that trying to repair pipes, sinks, tubs or tap can sometimes make an easy to fix issue so much worse.
The best way to prevent any type of plumbing meltdown would always be to enlist the help of a reputable plumber. However, if you’re serious about taking your plumbing problems into your own hands, below are 5 tips that should help you to avoid disaster.
- The right cut creates the right fit.
The only way to ensure that your water or gas joints can fit together seamlessly is to start with well-cut parts. One of the only ways to ensure you can get a clean and precise cut is to invest in specialised cutting tools such as tube cutters, reciprocating-saws, hacksaw blades or plastic pipe saw blades.
Spending money on the correct tools will ensure all of your joints will fit together much better than if you were to cut them with cheap equipment. This investment and prior preparation can help to avoid plumbing issues due to poorly fitted joints later down the line.
- Seal the deal.
Every joint in your plumbing system requires some sort of sealant.
Unless of course the joint or connection has been soldered or glued. So if you’re intending on fixing any type of joint or connection in your plumbing system be sure to do your research on the type of sealant you will require for the job. Hardware stores usually stock sealant tape which normally comes in two varieties. Sealant tapes for water pipes are often blue whereas the yellow sealant tape can be used for gas pipes.
However, just because your local hardware store only stocks these general materials this does not mean that they are correct tools for the job. There is a wide range of sealants that professional plumbers use depending on the type of joints they are working on. It’s best to head down to a more specialised plumbing supply store to find out if there are any sealants that are better suited to the issue you’re dealing with.
- Avoid over-tightening.
Many DIY plumbers think that the more you tighten plumbing components, the more secure they will become. However, this could not be further from the truth. Over-tightening joints can cause severe damage to your pipes, which could lead to the pipes needed to be replaced entirely. Steel pipes and components tend to be a little tougher than brass or copper and therefore are usually more forgiving.
Yet it’s still wise to be careful with the wrench at all times and try to resist that extra half a turn. If your plumbing joints have been created by a professional and have therefore been fitted correctly, properly cut to size and also sealed, then it usually does not require that much tightening.
- Know where your pipes are.
It’s never a good idea to start hammering nails or drilling screws into an area unless you know for sure where all of your pipes are located. The best way to avoid making any mistakes is to rent or buy a stud sensor. This device can detect pipes or wires giving you the peace of mind that your pipes are out of harm’s ways. Another way to detect pipes without the use of a device is by simply cutting a hatch in order to see into the wall or area you’re working in.
- Always do a ‘leak test’.
This may seem obvious however it’s still worth a mention.
If you have completed any type of plumbing, no matter how big or small the job was, it’s always a good idea to test for leaks prior to covering the work and moving onto the next household chore. Water always finds a way and so it’s essential to thoroughly test or check for leaks to ensure the job is done correctly the first time around. You do not want to come across a nasty surprise days or even weeks later when the issue has surpassed a ‘quick fix’. If it is a valve that you’ve been tinkering with then be sure to test the valve aggressively. Open and close the valve numerous times as well as running both hot and cold water through just to be sure there are no problems.
The simple and easy to follow tips that are listed above should ensure that you avoid any serious plumbing disasters. Not only can plumbing meltdowns be expensive, but they can also disrupt a household and wreak havoc on your home.