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March 24 2023 | Home Renovation

Home Maintenance Tips – Common Plumbing Mistakes

It is no secret that the cost of everything is up right now. As a Toronto real estate agent, I often deal with my clients’ home maintenance issues. The cost of calling in a plumber can get really pricy. We spoke to a plumbing expert, Geoff Burke, and here is what he had to say about “how to avoid spending your hard-earned cash on unnecessary maintenance calls regarding your pipes!”

Over time, Geoff observed a surge in calls following a long weekend. It seems as though homeowners tend to take on those pesky do-it-yourself home maintenance tasks over an extended weekend. The problem is, these endeavours often don’t go as intended and result in calls from exasperated partners or those who concede defeat. In this post, we’ll discuss how to reduce these calls by examining the most prevalent blunders made by DIY plumbers.

Stop Using Draino or Similar Products

Even a single drop of drain cleaner can cause future issues. Although they may temporarily alleviate the issue, they can cause more significant issues in the future. Not only do drain cleaners erode pipes over time, necessitating the removal and replacement of walls and floors, but they can also exacerbate blockages by interacting with the material inside the drain. If a drain cleaner fails to clear the blockage, it will linger in the pipe and combine with the obstruction, forming a white substance with a soap-like consistency that frequently obstructs the entire drain. This creates a very challenging situation for us to handle when we eventually receive the call.

Think Twice Before Installing Your Own Toilet

This is something Geoff witnesses quite often: someone attempts to replace a toilet, which appears to be a straightforward task, but a week later, they begin to notice water damage on the ceiling. As a DIY enthusiast, you recognize that you’ve made an error.

When you were putting the toilet onto the wax ring, you couldn’t get it to fit correctly. The toilet may have struck the bolts, or it may have been too bulky to position correctly. Perhaps you even sensed the gasket shifting as you finally placed it in position.

While plumbers typically don’t do it this way, the simplest approach for a DIYer to install a toilet is to keep the tank and bowl as two separate pieces, avoid installing the seat, and simply position the bowl directly onto the gasket. This technique makes the toilet lighter and easier to maneuver. Afterwards, take care of the other connections.

Be Careful When Turning Off the Water

Typically, the first step in most DIY plumbing projects is to turn off the water. While not necessary, many people prefer to shut off the water to the entire house to feel more secure. However, just because you’ve shut off the water to the house does not mean that the water lines are empty. In fact, they are still under pressure! After turning off the water, it’s critical to take the time to open a few faucets in the house, especially in the basement if you have one.

For instance, if you’re cutting open a water pipe in the basement without draining the system first, you’ll be deluged with the entire contents of the house’s water piping. Although it’s typically no more than a gallon or two of water, it can be unsettling if you’re unprepared or unaware of what’s happening!

Don’t Overtighten Connections

This advice may seem counterintuitive: you might assume that the tighter the connection, the less likely it is to leak water. Unfortunately, that is not always the case. This is a difficult lesson to learn since it is heavily reliant on feel, and it takes even our apprentices a while to develop that sense. Over-tightening connections can lead to pipes cracking or rubber gaskets tearing, so it’s critical to exercise caution. Some connections, such as the connection between the water supply and the toilet, should only be tightened by hand.

Well, there you have it folks. Our general instincts as a homeowner and DYIer can sometimes land us in some deep doo-doo! If you need a referral to a plumber, we would love to help. Feel free to give me a call or shoot me a text and I will set you up with the best!