Dos and don’ts of DIY
When stepping into the world of DIY plumbing, you should be prepared for anything that might happen. So we put together a list of a few dos and don’ts of DIY plumbing.
DO: Begin your solo DIY plumbing career with a relatively small, easy fix, such as installing a new showerhead or replacing a kitchen or bathroom tap.
DO: Make sure that you have the necessary equipment on hand before you get started. Essential plumbing tools include an adjustable wrench, basin wrench, closet auger, fire-resistant cloth, hacksaw, metal file, pipe wrench, plumber’s snake (hand auger), plunger, propane torch, tongue-and-groove pliers and a tubing cutter. You should also have these supplies available: silicone sealant, mastic, Teflon tape, a hands-free flashlight, rubber gloves and a sturdy stepstool.
DO: Turn off all the water in your home before attempting any plumbing repair. If you are stubborn … er … self-confident enough to want to shut off only the valve for the fixture you are working on, make sure you know exactly where the water main is, and how long it will take you to make a mad dash to it, if need be.
DO: Take photos or video of the plumbing setup, which you plan to work on, from several angles. In fact, this is great newbie advice for any home repair project.
DO: Know when to admit defeat. Call in a pro for serious problems such as sewer trouble, leaks inside the wall and any combination of plumbing and electrical work such as installing a washing machine or dishwasher; an amateur installation may void your warranty and more important, it’s dangerous.
DON’T: Neglect your homework. Be sure to check online for how to videos and be sure to check manufacture’s guidelines. Your way may not be the right way, so do a bit of research to avoid causing more harm than good.
DON’T: Attempt a plumbing fix on a Sunday or holiday. If something goes terribly wrong and you do need to call in a professional, it will end up costing you even more money to get it fixed.
DON’T: Use drain cleaners as a quick fix. These are composed of harsh chemicals that wreak havoc on the environment—and on your plumbing pipes. Instead, to clear a clogged drain, start by plunging. If that doesn’t solve the problem, use a plumber’s snake to clear the pipe.
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