Repairing a home involves demolition, plumbing, rebuilding and, in some cases, the use of an open flame. Don't try to do any of this yourself. For some, the idea of making their own pipes is terrifying. Even seasoned DIY enthusiasts have their share of horror stories.
Nobody wants to experience a plumbing problem that they themselves caused. We spoke to our home repair expert for advice. Here's some information that will help you start solving some of your own plumbing problems, without causing more harm than good. As you become more confident in your abilities, your collection of plumbing tools is likely to grow with you.
One or two pipe wrenches, a sink faucet, a pipe cutter, a strap wrench and some specific tools for each accessory may be all you need to look and feel like a plumbing expert. Other problematic drains in the house can be cleaned from time to time by dismantling the P-shaped trap found under the sink and taking the first few feet out of the drain pipe. This is a simple task that can prevent major problems from happening later on. For homes with particularly hard water, you can keep shower heads and faucet aerators flowing freely by treating them with a calcium and lime buildup remover on a regular basis.
Kitchen drain blockages are often worsened by the presence of cooking grease in the pipe. It can be thick and difficult to remove manually. Drain blockage removers are often very effective at breaking these types of obstructions. Just make sure to use them sparingly and only when you really need them.
Your water heater can also be a source of plumbing problems. Learn how to clean it once a year and how to change the anode rod every few years. You'll likely need a plumber to work with anode rods, unless you're very familiar with the process. Paying a plumber to maintain your water heater almost always costs less than the problems created by water heater faults.
Sump pumps that stop working can cause incredible damage to your basement. Test the system from time to time. Be sure to check the backup battery and keep it charged. In addition, make sure that the discharge hose is always free of obstructions.
Take some time to know where all the water shutoff valves are located in the system. Knowing where they are won't stop a water leak from occurring, but you can sure minimize the damage caused by a leak if you can stop the flow in time. Common tactical plumbing mistakes are often simple things. The main ones are tightening the connections too tight, using the wrong pipe glue and crossing the connecting threads.
My best advice is to take your time, make sure that there is no water in the place where you are working and that you are patient with yourself. Keep in mind that plumbers spend years learning their trade. You might not be an expert right away. After spending more than 30 years in residential construction, hiring, remodeling, maintaining and repairing homes, Deane now contributes DIY, informational and financial content as a freelance writer and consultant for several publications.
Throughout his career, he strived to help his clients find the potential hidden within the walls of every home and to empower them to take control of their home repair and remodeling efforts. Deane's main professional goal is to share knowledge related to the home and to provide self-reliance tools to as large an audience as possible. Samantha is an editor who covers all home-related topics, including home improvements and repairs. He edited content on home repair and design on websites such as The Spruce and HomeAdvisor.
He has also presented videos on tips and solutions for DIY home improvement and has launched several home improvement review boards with licensed professionals. While you might save a little money in the short term if you choose to do the plumbing yourself, you could do something wrong and cause numerous problems in the future. Even the slightest error in plumbing can lead to leaks, a malfunction of the fittings and a variety of other serious problems. The cost of repairing any amount of damage caused by water or mold growth is simply not worth it.
When you hire an experienced plumber, you can trust that the job will be done quickly and correctly, which will greatly minimize the risk of problems in the future and save you hundreds of dollars in the long run. It is best to leave this to professionals, as they have extensive knowledge of all plumbing materials and how to use them correctly. Although it's a heavy job, replacing exposed pipes in a basement, mezzanine, or utility room is quite simple, as the plumber can easily access the pipes. We specialize in system replacement, preventive maintenance and repair, all with the goal of keeping your heating, cooling and plumbing systems running at peak efficiency.
A licensed professional plumbing technician has a deep understanding of plumbing codes and stays up to date as they change, so your facilities will always comply with the codes. Because this system is so vital, there are plumbing codes to ensure that everything works properly and that your home stays as healthy as possible. And depending on the configuration of your home, the plumber may be able to access the vast majority of your system this way. This includes not only the kitchen or bathroom pipes that you're going to be redoing, but also any pipes that go through the walls to feed the bathrooms upstairs.
Unless you've just built your house or you're a few years old, there's a chance your plumbing might be out of date. You could simply have a clogged pipe or your pipes could have leaks or holes that reduce water pressure. This doesn't necessarily mean that you need a total revision of the pipes; some pipes just need a good fit. Depending on the year your house was built, different materials were probably used for the plumbing system.
Plumbers have years of training and experience in the field, meaning they possess well-developed skills and knowledge that the average homeowner doesn't have. So, review the home inspection report you received when you bought your home to see what type of pipes you have, or call a trusted plumber for a free inspection of your plumbing system. . .