6 Common Mistakes of DIY Plumbing Projects

How to Avoid Being That Person

Everyone has at least one story of a DIY project gone wrong.  We all want to save money and there’s a whole industry built around convincing you that you can tackle a lot of projects without hiring a professional.  Maybe you had a father who was handy or a mentor or friend who taught you some basic plumbing skills.  The key is to know your limitations.  Here are 6 common mistakes that you can avoid, and as always, if you aren’t sure how to do something, you probably shouldn’t be doing it!  When in doubt call a professional like those at The Clean Plumbers.  We’ll do it right the first time.

  1. Now That I Took it Apart, how do I Put it Back Together?

While you can probably survive having left over pieces or parts after helping your kid build his first model, not so much with plumbing.  If you’re going to tackle any plumbing project it’s always a good idea to either take notes as you disassemble or even better, take pictures you can refer to later.  There’s a functional reason for every part and while it may not seem apparent at the time, you’ll find out eventually the hard way if it’s not done properly.


  1. Turning the Water Heater on Before it’s Ready

We don’t recommend anyone trying to install a replacement water heater.  Whether it’s gas or electric, there are just too many variables involved.  Doing it improperly can also create a dangerous situation.  Improperly installed water heaters are like ticking time bombs and can blow up or cause major damage to your home.  If you do install a new electric water heater, NEVER turn it on until it’s full of water and you’ve bled the air bubbles out by running water.  Then it’s safe to turn on.  Turning it on prematurely can cause it to burn up and that’s an expensive mistake!


  1. Installing a New Garbage Disposal? Don’t Forget to Remove the Plug

Installing a new garbage disposal is a common and straightforward project.  The most common mistake we see is when the garbage disposal is connected to a dishwasher.  Every garbage disposal has a “knock out plug” on the disposal.  If there is no dishwasher you don’t remove the knock out plug.  If you’re connecting to a dishwasher that knock out plug must be removed.  Otherwise, the dishwasher can’t drain, and it won’t be long before you realize you’ve got a leaky mess to clean up.


  1. Trying to Attach Different Types of Metal Without Using Proper Connectors

Plumbing pipes and fixtures come in a variety of metals like steel and copper as well as plastics.  When connecting different types of metal, it’s imperative you use the right kind of coupling.  This is called a dielectric union and this special coupler allows two different kinds of metal to be joined using a plastic sleeve and a rubber washer, so the metals don’t touch.  When not used and two different metals are joined together, corrosion will build up eventually closing the pipe.  This can lead to leaks or even burst pipes.


  1. Your Garbage Disposal is Not a Trash Compactor

Perhaps a better name for a garbage disposal would be a Particle Disposal.  Putting garbage down your drain that doesn’t belong there is a common cause of clogs and broken disposals.  Just because its food waste doesn’t mean your garbage disposal can deal with it.  Things like grease, oil, coffee grinds, onion layers, egg shells, pits, seeds, animal bones, rice, and pasta just to name a few should never be disposed of down your drain.


  1. Over tightening Thread Connections

This one may not seem so obvious, but it can lead to serious problems.  A common mistake of Do-it-Yourselfers is over tightening thread connections.  This can cause the threads to be stripped and can lead to leaks or a break.  A good rule of thumb is to hand tighten the threaded connections and then to turn it with the appropriate tool ¼ turn.


Doing simple plumbing repairs can save you money and give you a sense of accomplishment.  When in doubt, think about having that project done by a professional plumber.  Hopefully this blog will help you avoid these 6 common mistakes of DIY plumbing projects. You’ll have piece of mind knowing the jobs been done correctly.  As always, we hope you’ll call the professionals at The Clean Plumbers for all your plumbing needs.