Plumbing problems are among the most frightening things for a homeowner because most need immediate attention and can cause great damage. Trying to fix the problem yourself may seem like a good idea, especially if you're handy around the house. Nonetheless, amateur work can cost you more than if you'd let professionals handle the job in the first place. Below are three common mistakes DIY-plumbers make and why they're so costly.
1. Not considering pipe material
Just because a pipe is the right shape and size doesn't mean it's the correct pipe for that installation. Many DIY-ers fail to consider piping material, which affects the behaviour of the pipe over the long-term – expansion, contraction, vulnerability to elements etc. If installing pipes of different sizes, ensure that you use the correct connector for proper sealing; just holding together is NOT a sign of proper sealing. Do not use galvanized metal pipes next to copper pipes. The two materials react and will corrode, causing leaks soon after your installation. Separate the two pipes using brass or another material.
2. Not disconnecting your external plumbing in winter
Frozen pipes are a big problem in winter and the cause of many indoor floods once temperatures start to rise. Disconnecting your garden hose and draining the pipes in preparation for winter temperatures are easy things to do but are neglected by many homeowners. Leaving water inside the pipes will cause them to freeze, and the expansion will break the pipes, leaving you to deal with replacement come the spring. If you're not at home, burst pipes can cause flooding in your basement, resulting in additional damage to your home and whatever was stored therein.
3. Splurging on drain cleaning chemicals
Drain cleaners, even those made for home use, are highly concentrated and harsh chemicals intended for periodic use. Pipes are made of hard materials, but continuous exposure to these chemicals will corrode the pipe slowly, whether it's a PVC or metal pipe. The result is that you'll have leaks in unexpected places that will be costly to replace. The ideal way to keep your drainage free of clogs is to install a drain sieve that will stop large particles from passing through into the system. In the event of clogging, natural methods such as vinegar, baking soda and hot water should be tried first, only turning to harsh, store-bought drain-cleaners if these don't work.
If you have a persistent clog in your pipes, the best thing to do is to call a plumber to identify the root cause of the problem, rather than pouring harsh chemicals down the drain. Persistent clogs indicate a bigger problem in the system, such as having something stuck in the pipes around which the clog forms each time.