Plumbing is no small task. When you’re dealing with plumbing, you’re in an area that has been the source of pain and disaster for thousands of unprepared DIY attempts. Don’t let that deter you completely, however. It’s no insurmountable task and we’re here to help you prove that.
So long as you’re prepared and keep the following tips in mind, you should be safe from the more major disasters. No sudden floods for you. So if you’re looking to fix that blocked drain or make some changes to your piping, always keep the following in mind
#1 Have the right tools
It’s an old and universally accepted saying that you can’t have too many tools. For any DIY handyman, a full toolbox is almost mandatory. Not that we’re saying you should buy as many different kinds of screwdrivers as possible (though you should). For plumbing, there are a few essential tools you will need to keep on you. Lifehacker’s list covers just about everything you need. Check the link for more details, but here’s a basic shopping list for the lighter of tasks:
- Locking pliers
- Needle-nose pliers
- Plumber’s tape
- Plumber’s putty
- Basin wrench
If you’re looking to kit yourself out for any DIY operation, be sure to take a look at our must-haves list, too.
#2 Use your shut-offs
Now this really is the traditional DIY plumbing mistake. Before plumbing, know what a shut-off valve is. Know where it is. Most importantly, know to use it before you start working. If you don’t, you will most likely end up with a water damage bill reaching far into the thousands. Here’s a simple guide for finding both your water and gas shut-off valves. You’ll thank us when your house isn’t suddenly flooded during your DIY plumbing venture.
#3 Learn how to sweat copper pipes
This can be an intimidating step for many. There’s metal, fire and lots of water involved, after all. Following the step above eliminates the chances of the latter aspect becoming too disastrous. All the same, sweating copper pipe is an essential step to a lot of DIY plumbing and isn’t as difficult as it seems. As this link describes, preparation is more important and more often the cause of trouble than using the torch. Just follow the guide and you’ll never be intimidated by copper pipe again.
#4 Maintain your sink drain
Sometimes the problem in need of solving is less drastic. Lots of time and money can be saved by properly maintaining your sink drains. This How-To guide goes into detail on how to prevent clogs. If you’re reading this guide, you might be beyond this step. All the same, it’s important to always keep this in mind so you’re not reaching for your tools every few months.
#5 When in doubt, use a professional
You might be willing to tackle any and all problems yourself, but it’s important to recognise when you’re out of your depth. As well giving a yearly check, you should have a professional immediately look at any problems you’re unsure of. This includes problems you’ve caused yourself. Most commonly, they’re much more likely to know the cause of a leaking pipe which can be perplexing at the best of times.
Picture by MoToMo