Your Home consist of many areas that need maintenance and the washroom and bathroom is one of them. Maintenance is needed and sometimes plumbing issues might occur. If you’ve had the opportunity to check out our previous blog posts, you know just how intertwined your plumbing system is with everything that goes on inside a home daily. From the water heater and various fixtures to the sewer line and so much more, it certainly does quite a bit of work behind the scenes. Having said all of this, it’s always going to be in your best interest to have all of these elements working properly at all times. It’ll take plenty of stress off your shoulders and allow for that constant piece of mind knowing you don’t need to worry about a pipe springing a leak!
When it comes to residential plumbing, there are all types of plumbing issues in any given week! Some of the time, it’s a routine problem that was due to pop up as a result of general wear and tear. Other times, it’s to upgrade fixtures to improve the overall aesthetics of a room. Lastly, there are times where we’re called out to repair a DIY repair gone bad or any other lackluster plumbing job!
When it comes to plumbing, there’s a fine line separating projects that can be done by any ambitious homeowner and those that are best left for a plumbing pro! In this week’s blog, we’ll take an inside look at why certain projects should never be considered a “DIY” and the mistakes that follow.
Water Heater Installation
We all know how important our water heaters are to providing comfort for everyone occupying the house. There’s no denying that! However, if you’ve never installed a water heater before, we would strongly recommend leaving this project up to an experienced plumber. After all, the water that’s inside the tank is kept at extremely hot temperatures capable of causing personal injury or property damage. Here’s a few of the reasons why we would avoid DIY’ing a water heater installation:
Know the Right Product to Install – Over the years, the arrangement of water heaters have grown steadily. You have conventional storage tank water heaters (electric or gas), tankless water heaters, heat pump water heaters, condensing water heaters, solar water heaters and so on! This doesn’t even account for gauging the quality of the many manufacturers currently on the market. A trained plumber will be able to discuss what your needs are as a household, as well as your budget for the project, and find a solution that fits perfectly.
I know what you’re thinking…“Can a water heater really explode?” While it isn’t something that happens all that often, it actually is a possibility. Particularly with the gas models, you need to be wary of any potential gas leak. If some gas were to leak out around the tank, the ignition flame could ignite the gas, creating a potentially dangerous situation. Aside from this scenario, you also need to be mindful of proper maintenance or a lack of regular inspections. Think items like flushing out your water heater to reduce sediment build-up! While this might not cause a massive house fire, it could result in your water heater dying out before the expected lifespan.
Leaking Deadly Carbon Monoxide – Our final example is yet another potentially hazardous situation for all occupants of the house! If a water heater isn’t correctly installed or vented appropriately, it will run the risk of leaking carbon monoxide. Considering carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless gas, you may not know something is up until members of your household start feeling the adverse effects of carbon monoxide poisoning.
You have a drain that’s running slow or may even appear to be completely clogged up. What’s the first thing you grab? Hopefully, not the liquid drain cleaner that’s hiding underneath your sink! Even though drain cleaners seem like the perfect solution for these types of problems, the truth is they typically end up causing more harm than good.
Damage to your Pipes – When you use a drain cleaner, it will likely appear that the product did it’s job once the clog has been cleared. However, it’s the long-term effects to your pipes that you should be worried about. Most of these drain cleaners are designed to “liquify” the blockage in an effort to clear the passageways. All good, right? Well, the heat that’s generated from this chemical reaction will lead to a gradual demise of your pipes.
Damage to your Fixtures – Just as it’s not going to provide any benefits to the lifespan of your pipes, it’s certainly not going to be helpful on your fixtures either! The strong acids found in chemical drain cleaners can easily wreak havoc on the enamel-based finishes of your fixtures. As a result, a simple drain unclogging turns into a new fixture being needed!
Licensed plumbers will understand the proper way to clear a sink clog is with a snake on most occasions. They should have the equipment on their truck capable of clearing a routine clog in a timely manner.
Every plumber that’s been in the industry for more than a couple months should know the importance of turning off the main water supply valve before doing any plumbing work. Unfortunately, a decent number of DIYers might think they can make a quick valve swap without turning off the water main. Trust us, this is something that can easily transform a quick repair into a much larger plumbing project!
As is the case with nearly every profession, you’ll likely receive plenty of training and education on the in’s and out’s of doing your job. Plumbing is no different! As members of the Plumbers & Gasfitters Local 8 here in Kansas City, our licensed technicians have the experience and training necessary to complete any plumbing job! Our technicians understand the various drain fittings that comprise residential and commercial plumbing projects! Furthermore, they’ll understand how these tie into the various codes to ensure no violations.
While some DIYers might be up to speed on the local plumbing codes, I’m going to take a guess that’s not the case with the majority! After all, unless you’re regularly in the plumbing world, chances are you won’t be aware of any code changes or the general codes to begin with. If “wyes, tees, and elbows” aren’t in your regular vocabulary, it’s probably best to leave any type of plumbing installation like this up to a licensed plumber.
Our final DIY gone wrong involves anything to do with standing water. One of the most prevalent events that fall under “plumbing emergencies” involves flooding inside the home. Whether that’s in the basement, which is the most common location, or anywhere else, it’s important to act quickly. Having said that, it’s always going to be best to get a plumber’s opinion on this topic. Sucking out all of the water with a sump pump isn’t enough. You need to ensure there’s no chances of mold growing, know whether or not walls/flooring need to be torn out and how to replace any piping. Don’t wait until the mold has already been spreading to get a professional’s opinion!
We certainly hope this blog didn’t scare you away from attempting a DIY project, but rather hopefully it encourages you to act with caution before getting started! As can be said about any other home improvement project, if you don’t feel 100% comfortable making the repairs, it might make the most sense to leave it up to a pro that does this type of work each and every day.