Top 5 Common Plumbing Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

Mistake #1:Not Remembering How Things Fit Together

A common plumbing mishap is not remembering how parts fit back together after disassembling them. This oversight can cause confusion, damage, and more repairs. To prevent this, take photos at each step with your phone or camera before taking anything apart. These images will serve as invaluable guides when reassembling the components, ensuring everything goes back together correctly and reducing the risk of errors.

Mistake #2: Using Too Much Force

Applying excessive force when tightening connections is a frequent plumbing error. While it might seem logical to ensure a tight seal, over-tightening can strip threads and split fittings, particularly with male metal parts into female plastic ones. To avoid this, start by hand-tightening the connections (following the “righty-tighty” rule), then make small adjustments—just 1/8 to 1/4 turns—until secure. Always adhere to the manufacturer’s instructions for optimal results.

Mistake #3: Forgetting to Shut Off the Water

A surprisingly common and potentially catastrophic mistake is forgetting to turn off the water supply before starting a plumbing project. This oversight can lead to significant water damage and embarrassment. To prevent this, always turn off the water supply before beginning any repairs. If the fixture you’re working on lacks its own shut-off valve, turn off the main water supply for the house. Knowing the location of this main valve is crucial to avoiding water-related disasters.

Mistake #4: Incorrectly Clearing Drains

Using chemical drain cleaners to unclog drains is a mistake that can cause significant damage to your plumbing and pose health risks. These chemicals can corrode pipes and fixtures and are toxic to people, animals, and the environment. Instead, use the correct drain-clearing tools. Plungers come in different types for toilets, sinks, and tubs. Additionally, there are various augers and snakes designed for different situations, each with specific cable sizes and lengths. Choosing the right tool for the job will help you clear drains safely and effectively.

Mistake #5: Lacking a Proper Plan

Embarking on a plumbing project without a proper plan is a recipe for disaster. Lack of preparation can turn what seems like a simple task into a nightmare, consuming more time and resources than anticipated. To avoid this, thoroughly research the project beforehand and prepare for any contingencies. Gather all necessary tools and supplies, and start early in the day. Consider creating a checklist or printed instructions, with “turn off the water” as the first item. This level of preparation will help ensure your plumbing project runs smoothly.