As a professional plumbing company, our first recommendation when it comes to any type of plumbing problem is to give us a call. We understand that you might not always want to or be able to do that, however. Maybe the problem you’re having is especially small. Maybe you want to prove to your spouse that you’re handier than they think you are. Or maybe you lost your cell phone and literally can’t call anyone for help. There are all kinds of reasons to try DIY plumbing.
If you’re interested in trying to solve your plumbing problem yourself, then our next recommendation is to make sure you’re doing it safely. This means making special considerations to protect yourself, your family, your home, and your home’s plumbing system. To help you accomplish this, we’ve listed our most important DIY plumbing safety tips below.
Know where your water main shut off valve is.
Before you do anything with your home plumbing, you need to know where your water main shut off valve is. You really don’t want to take on projects involving water if you don’t know where to shut that water off.
In most homes, the water main shut off valve is on the outside perimeter. Look for it wherever your water supply pipes first enter your house. Go outside, in the front, and look at the side of your home that faces the street. Look for a red valve. If you can’t find one on your first approach, check the inspection report from when you purchased your home. Your inspection report will contain a plumbing section that will list where the shut-off valve is.
Have the proper tools.
Doing your own plumbing isn’t as simple as using a plunger and a wrench. You’ll need proper plumbing tools to get different things done. You might need adjustable wrenches, plumber’s tape, saws, screwdrivers, flashlights, pliers, a trowel, files, towels, spanners, augers. Not to mention the various fixture-specific nuts, bolts, and other small bits that might be needed. Plumbing is a tool-heavy gig, and for good reason. You never know what surprises might pop up, so you have to be prepared for all of them.
Have the proper protective equipment.
Doing DIY plumbing means doing it right. Doing it right starts with using the right protective equipment. Protect your eyes using safety glasses. You want to avoid any potential sewage getting into your eyes. Protect your hands with work gloves. To be especially careful, you could layer latex gloves beneath work gloves to protect against all potential contaminants.
Protect your lungs by wearing a face mask any time you’re going to be sawing or sanding. Inhaling dust particles can be incredibly damaging to your lungs over time, so don’t risk it. Never take short cuts when it comes to safety. The extra time and resources you spend to protect yourself are always worth it.
Don’t cut anything.
Some plumbing safety articles are going to say it’s ok to cut into walls as long as you’re careful. We don’t think it’s a good idea to cut into anything at all.
Simply put, there are just too many risks to cutting into parts of your home. You could run into pipes, wiring, ductwork, or scaffolding where you least expect it. The wrong excavation could spell disaster for you and your home. It’s not worth the risk. If your home needs “surgery,” call in the pros to do it.
Think before you open drains.
Just because you shut the water off doesn’t mean all the water has left the pipes. Before you open any drains or pipes, make sure you know where leftover water will flow. Are you certain of the direction water will drain in? Are you prepared for what will happen in case the worst happens and water (or worse – sewage) gets everywhere?
And, for our final tip: have the number for Ben Franklin Plumbing on hand in case an emergency happens. We’ll be able to pick up where you left off, and we’ll leave our DIY plumbing judgment at the door. Guaranteed.