Many homeowners attempt to avoid hiring professional plumbers believing the tasks are not that difficult or because they are trying to save money. This DIY approach can cause all sorts of plumbing calamities not to mention potential health risks.

In this article, we will learn about the many requirements needed to successfully complete plumbing repairs safely. From the proper protective gear to the expensive and specialized tools we will see there are many areas that commonly trip up DIYers. Read on to learn about the precautionary steps needed to avoid common plumbing accidents.

Wear Proper Attire

Proper clothing is suggested to protect yourself from mishaps. Wrap-around eye coverings are a must since you may be positioned in a tight space under a sink where you will not have the room to quickly turn to protect your eyes. Eye protectors can also guard your eyes from sewage splashes contaminated with bacteria or exposure to harsh chemical cleaners used to break up drain clogs.

Gloves are also useful for protection against germs and harmful substances. Even homes that appear spotlessly clean may contain contaminants or substances that can harm your skin.

A good quality face mask may be needed for work in areas where mold may be present. You do not want to breathe in black spore mold and risk the health of your respiratory system. Adequately ventilating the area will also be beneficial.

Quality protective gear will help you avoid exposure to hazardous and biohazardous materials such as toxic chemicals, lead, mold, asbestos, and sulfur dioxide. Play it safe and dress properly to avoid plumbing accidents.

Now that you are suited up correctly to protect yourself it is time to get to work.

Turn Off the Water!

Before attempting any type of plumbing repair to your home you will need to turn off the water. This could be an individual fixture shutoff, if only one isolated issue needs attention, or it could mean turning off the water supply to the entire house.

Individual shut-offs are located where the water supply line is first exposed below the fixture and when it is engaged it will stop the water from advancing to the fixture. Once the valve is manually shut, the remaining water in the fixture should be drained leaving a water-free zone in which to work.

Full-home shut-offs are located on the interior wall facing the street in either the basement or crawlspace. For homes built on concrete slabs, the shutoff is frequently installed next to the water heater or in the garage. After turning this valve to the closed position all of the lower level faucets should be opened to allow the water in the hose to drain.

Once a year every shut-off valve should be inspected for water leaks and to be certain the valve has not frozen where it is inoperable. A plumbing emergency is no time to discover your shut-off valve is malfunctioning.

Clear all unnecessary items away from your work area so you will have full access to the plumbing fixture, pipe, appliance, or whatever you are inspecting. Drills, saws, and other equipment may be required and you will need an unobstructed area in which to work.

Proper Plumbing Tools

The next area to focus on to avoid plumbing accidents is the tools you will need. DIYers often skip this important step and attempt to utilize tools they already own as substitutes for the proper equipment. One of the main reasons homeowners hire a professional plumber is because they already own the specialized equipment to complete even the most complex plumbing tasks.

Purchasing the proper tools will help make your plumbing repair go smoothly and without danger whereas improvising could create a serious problem for you and your home.

Here is a basic list of commonly needed tools:

  • An assortment of wrenches
  • Assorted pipe cutters
  • Plumber’s torch
  • Sealing tape
  • Pliers
  • Press fitting system
  • Augers, snakes, and plungers
  • Protective gear

Common Plumbing Mistakes and Common Sense

As you perform plumbing tasks there are several common mistakes many homeowners make. Some of them are more common sense rather than dependent on any plumbing skill. Avoid using harsh chemical cleaners even though they are excellent at relieving blockages. The chemical reactions that clear the pipe are damaging to most pipes and can cause leaks, thinning of the pipe material, or loosening of the pipe joints.

Another rule based on common sense is to promptly respond to every plumbing problem no matter how minor they may appear. Low water pressure may present as annoying but in fact could be a sign your water heater is about to explode. All plumbing issues should be treated as if they are major issues or you may be facing some messy cleanups requiring expenditures for which you did not budget!

Many plumbing mishaps are the result of careless behavior. Using your toilet as a trash can is one such issue. It is of the utmost importance that you educate yourself about proper disposal practices in both the kitchen and bath and then be diligent about adhering to them. Do not neglect to inform visitors about your home rules dealing with plumbing safety.

Common skill-based errors would include improperly winterizing your home. For example, although you may have anti-frost outdoor faucets that do not require shutting off the water if you neglect to detach the hose for the winter months your interior pipe will burst.

Other winterizing errors would include not wrapping your water heater in an energy loss reduction blanket or neglecting to wrap your plumbing pipes in insulated pipe sleeves. This can lead to a loss of heat and higher-than-necessary energy bills. It can also lead to a plumbing disaster if your pipes freeze and burst flooding your home.

Installing plumbing pipes and fixtures are tasks that can lead to accidents. A lack of understanding about different pipe types can leave you trying to join pipes that were not meant to go together. Perhaps the biggest mistake DIYers make is overtightening connections causing elbows, tees, and galvanized pipe to be easily damaged or cracked. Tighter is not better in the plumbing world!

Need A Plumber In Oklahoma?

Here we have learned tips on how to avoid plumbing accidents and precautionary steps that can be taken to keep yourself and your home safe. Perhaps the best tip of all is to recognize you do not possess the necessary skills to perform major plumbing procedures with the aptitude of a professional plumber. It is probably best to leave the plumbing repairs in the hands of those who received years of education and apprenticeship to learn a valued and respected craft.

Before you plunge ahead and attempt to tackle a major plumbing job, think about whether you are skilled enough to complete the job. Will you know how to follow the local plumbing codes and regulations or are you setting yourself up for violations that can cost you money or harm those you love?

Contact our team of plumbing experts today for professional help with your plumbing problems!