DIY plumbing can help you save money and keep your home in tip-top shape. Fixing simple household leaks, for example, can save roughly 10% on water bills, the EPA reveals. That said, it’s important to take care to get the job done right by avoiding common plumbing mistakes that may cause expensive problems later down the line.
Wrap PTFE tape correctly
PTFE tape can be successfully used to seal pipe threads, yet it’s key to wrap the tape around the threads clockwise, and not anticlockwise – the latter means the tape will begin to unravel from the thread as you start tightening the fitting, therefore rendering it useless. To wrap PTFE tape the right way, ensure you wrap it in the same direction as you’ll be tightening the fitting. Using the right tape is also crucial. For example, you’ll need to use either thick pink or thin white thread tape for water-related fittings.
Don’t overtighten fittings
Overtightening pipes, bolts, fittings, and supply tubes is a common plumbing mistake, which often ends up causing unwanted cracks in the fitting. And, in some cases, this damage may take a few weeks to manifest and cause a flood when you least expect it. Fortunately, simply placing plumbing tape around the fittings while you tighten them can help avoid this issue. As such, it’s also important to have a good pipe wrench to tighten or loosen fittings effectively as needed. Keeping a basic set of plumbing tools accessible means you can take care of minor issues before they escalate into significant problems.
Don’t solder wet copper pipes
If you’re sweating/soldering copper pipes, ensure all your pipes and fittings are dry beforehand without any water actively flowing through them. Flowing water will interfere with your soldering torch, as well as result in leaking joints. Fortunately, stopping the water flow isn’t a complicated process – simply use either a compression valve or jet swet before getting to work. Alternatively, you can even use a trusted old plumbing trick: white bread (although this won’t work with strong water flows). Simply ball up some white bread and push it into the pipe with a pencil or similar-shaped tool.
DIY plumbing takes a fair amount of time and effort, but you’ll be rewarded in ample money saved. And, by avoiding common DIY plumbing mistakes, you can ensure the job’s done right the first time and keep larger, avoidable problems at bay.