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Disastrous Plumbing Mistakes You Might be Making


YouTube is many DIYers go-to source for instruction on how to do everything from building an indoor climbing wall to replacing their car's battery. It's also home to thousands of basic plumbing videos that show you how to fix a leaky toilet, clear a clogged drain, or repair any number of common home plumbing problems.

Unfortunately, there are very few videos that talk about the mistakes you might be making when attempting to handle plumbing work yourself. From DIY repair to daily habits, here are common plumbing missteps people make that can turn small issues into big problems.

Not Turning Off the Water

It's the first step in nearly all plumbing projects, but it's also the easiest one to forget! Removing a pipe or fixture before turning off the water results in a drenched DIYer and a big mess to clean up. If it hasn't been used in a while, it might be difficult to turn the shut-off valve. A plumber wrench can help.

Over-Tightening of Plumbing Connections

If a tight connection is good, a really tight connection must be great, right? Not so fast! The strain caused by over-tightening pipes, couplings, and joints can crack and rupture fittings. Worse, the damage usually takes a while to occur as consistent water pressure leads to burst pipes that cause indoor flooding. Problems like broken hex nuts and bolts can also occur when too much pressure is applied to plastic fittings on toilets and faucets.

Improper Tape Use

PTFE thread tape, commonly referred to as Teflon or plumber's tape, is a simple but versatile thread sealant and lubricating material. Many DIYers make the mistake of wrapping the tape in a counterclockwise direction around threads. The result? The tape unwinds from the threads as the fitting is tightened. It's important to both choose the right tape and apply it correctly:

  • First, never use plumber's tapeon compression or flare fittings.
  • Thin white or thick pink tapeis used for fittings that carry water.
  • Yellow gas-rated tapeis for threaded gas line connections.

To properly wrap PTFE tape, wind it around the threads three times and make sure the last wrap faces to the left as you screw the pipe into the fitting.

Avoid Chemical Drain Cleaner

We've discussed this topic before but it bears repeating. Store-bought drain cleaners offer a quick, easy fix but regular use can damage your home's pipes. For persistent or stubborn clogs, it's better to:

  • Use a hand augerto extract unwanted material from your pipes.
  • Try anatural drain cleanerlike vinegar, salt, or baking soda added to water.
  • If you're familiar with how to use one,rent a drain snake.

When to Call in the Pros

Many smaller plumbing repairs can be safely made on your own. But having a professional plumber do the work often extends the effective lifespan of many plumbing system components in your Jacksonville, Florida home.

David Gray Plumbing has over 40 crews ready to serve our customers in Duval, Clay, and St. John counties and we can help keep your home's plumbing in tip-top shape, too. To learn more about all the plumbing services we offer, including scheduled plumbing maintenance, give us a call at (904) 724-7211 or contact us online today.

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