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Common Mistakes Both Amateur and Professional Plumbers Make

6 Common Mistakes Both Amateur and Professional Plumbers Make

In a year, 12 percent of your household water use is wasted on leaks. For those living in counties with metered water bills, those leaks add up. 

Save some money by ensuring all the plumbing in your house is in working order.

Some plumbing issues, like replacing a toilet handle, are easy DYI projects. For serious plumbing problems like water leaks, you might need a professional plumber.

Taking on a project that's beyond your skills is one of the most common mistakes with plumbing repairs. Even professionals sometimes underestimate the complications involved in a repair project.

To make sure your plumbing repairs go without a hitch, watch out for these other common mistakes.

1. Relying on Drain Cleaners

The easiest plumbing maintenance possible is to keep the drains clear. Water drains need to handle at least two gallons of water per minute. If they can't keep up, your sink or shower will back up. 

Everyone's instinct when they need to clean a drain is to grab chemical drain cleaners. They're easy to use, so it's understandable.

The downside to chemical drain cleaners lies in the same reason they are so effective.

These powerful chemicals eat through everything in your drains. If you use them too often, those chemicals will eat through the drain pipes. 

Tracking down a burst drain pipe under your home is an expensive repair.

The next time your drains are slow or clogged, try a drain snake. Inexpensive snakes are good to keep on-hand for emergencies. 

Tip: Do not use too much force when operating a drain snake. If you're too rough, it could crack the drain pipe.

2. Over-Tightening New Plumbing Pieces

Tighter isn't always better when it comes to putting together plumbing pieces. Yes, you want to make sure the new pipes won't leak but going too far has consequences.

Despite their appearances, plumbing supplies can't withstand a ton of abuse. If you put all your weight behind tightening a threaded ABS fitting, it'll crack.

Over time the cracked fitting shifts from temperature changes and the crack widens. Then one day when you're doing the dishes, dirty water floods the kitchen. It's an expensive mistake to clean up and repair it again.

3. No Ventilation for Drains

Drain pipes balance air and water pressure to push water out to the main sewer line. To equalize the pressure in the drain pipes, plumbers install vents. 

Most homes are built with vertical vents that come out through the roof. Older homes often do not have covers over the vents, leading to clogs.

How can you tell when your vent is clogged? The drain will gurgle and run slow.

Clearing out a clogged vent is best left to a professional plumber. They have the equipment to make working on the roof safer.

4. Improper P-Trap Installation

A P-trap is a U-shaped pipe installed below the drain assembly. The purpose of this part is to create a water barrier between the drain and the house.

If the P-trap is installed at an angle, the water inside drains out. A cracked P-trap leads to the same problem. To be effective, the trap must hold at least two inches of water.

The water in the P-trap keeps sewer gas from seeping into your home. Minor exposure to these gasses doesn't cause noticeable health issues.

Long-term exposure to sewer gas may lead to:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Fatigue
  • Problems remembering 
  • Headache

What is the easiest way to tell if your P-trap isn't blocking sewer gas? The affected room will smell like rotten eggs. This smell comes from hydrogen sulfide, the primary part of sewer gas.

5. Not Having the Right Tools or Parts

Professional plumbers need thousands of dollars worth of tools to do their jobs. Even then, sometimes they need to order specialty tools for certain projects. 

Most homeowners do not have repair budgets large enough to buy all the right tools. Instead, they try to make do with the handful of tools they have. Using the wrong tools leads to more expensive repairs later on.

If you're new to plumbing repairs, you won't know what parts you need to buy. Online guides can give you a decent start on your shopping list.

The problem is, the plumbing in your home might not be the same as in the guide. You'll waste money on items that won't work.

A plumber with years of experience can adapt to unique plumbing issues in your home. They keep parts on-hand to cover any potential plumbing problem. When they don't have the part, professionals know how to get it quickly.

6. Not Enough Space Around Bathroom Fixtures

You finally saved up enough money to do your dream bathroom renovation. To make it work, you did the renovation yourself with plumbing help from handy friends.

But you forgot the one important rule for installing bathroom fixtures. Always make sure there's room to move around.

There are standards for the spacing between bathroom fixtures. Think of them as guidelines more than rules, though. If you can put in more space to move comfortably, do it.

The guidelines for fixture spacing state:

  • There should be at least 15 inches between the toilet bowl and any solid object
  • Leave 18 to 24 inches between the front of the toilet bowl and the wall
  • Make sure there are 18 inches between the sink and the wall in front of it

There is no point in renovating a bathroom if it isn't comfortable. Make sure to measure everything before beginning renovations. Otherwise, you might have to call in a professional to fix the problem.

Don't Fall Victim to Common Mistakes While Fixing Plumbing Issues

Owning a home is expensive enough without adding plumbing problems to the mix. Preventative plumbing maintenance will keep the costs down but they must be done right. 

Common mistakes in plumbing can lead to serious water leaks. A flooded basement could cost thousands of dollars to repair. Flooding feeds molds that could make your family sick.

It's better to be safe than sorry when it comes to plumbing issues. Contact the professionals at Mr. Rooter Plumbing of Austin. Our plumbers are ready to lend a helping hand with all your plumbing problems.

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