Top 10 Most Common DIY Plumbing & HVAC Mistakes
We are in the middle of the do-it-yourself craze. With the internet bringing helpful tips and hints on how to fix things, people are trying to save money rather than pay for a repair professional. However, many times these attempts to save money cost much more in the end. Watching a video on the internet can never teach you valuable years’ worth of expertise in a matter of minutes. There are some things that you can save money on by repairing yourself. However, when it comes to plumbing, it’s better left to the expert. Here are the 10 most common DIY plumbing mistakes.
1. Not Turning Off the Water Supply
It seems pretty simple, right? You turn off the main water supply before you begin any work. Unfortunately, if you don’t work with plumbing often, you may not know that there is a primary shut-off valve for your entire home. If you are working on a toilet or a sink that has an individual shut off valve, then there is no reason to turn off the rest of your water supply. However, one of the biggest mistakes is starting a repair without turning off the water first. Everyone should familiarize themselves with the shutoffs in their home.
2. Using Improper Tools
Everyone has those “tools” that you use to get the job done. How many times have you used a butter knife instead of a flat head screwdriver? Well, when it comes to your plumbing system, using a coat hanger or a pot of boiling water may cause you a huge problem.
First, most pipes these days are made from PVC materials. A coat hanger can easily dislodge a pipe causing a huge issue. Also, boiling water was never meant to be dumped in the toilet or pipes either. Did you know that it can loosen the joints causing a leak? Be careful what you put down your pipes as it is costly to repair or replace. Even if a clog moves down a bit, it’s still there and will cause problems later.
3. Thinking Duct Tape Will Fix Everything
Duct tape is a wonderful tool for a short-term solution. When it comes to household repairs on your plumbing or HVAC system, you need something that is a permanent fix and not a Band-Aid. Yes, duct tape is a durable and robust product that has its place, but it doesn’t belong on a repair involving your plumbing or HVAC system.
4. Trying to Clean the Coils on the HVAC
DIY HVAC mistakes are plentiful. One of the most common is trying to clean their evaporator and condenser coils. Sure, taking a broom to the outside condenser unit is helpful, but it cannot get into the unit and get all the dirt off. Plus, if you damage any fins on your unit, it can cause problems with air flow. An HVAC unit has both electricity, water, and refrigerant running through it. Unless a person is thoroughly trained in handling these aspects, they should never mess with their unit.
5. Taking Things Apart That You Cannot Get Back Together
DIY plumbing jobs are a novel idea, but not everyone has the skills to take things apart and put them back together again. Do you know how complicated your plumbing and HVAC systems are? If you start disassembling stuff, you can have a significant mess on your hands. If you cannot get it back together, you will need to call a repair professional anyway. Why not call the expert first and save yourself a headache?
In general, you want to get all plumbing and HVAC screws and joints as tight as you can, right? Well, you want to leave enough room so that the next person doesn’t strip the screw trying to get it out. Have you ever attempted to get a nut or bolt off when the person before you put it on way too tight? It can be a nightmare situation. Make sure not to overtighten anything. Once you get a bit of rust on that fitting, it will be a pure nightmare to deal with in the future.
7. Trying to Patch a Pipe That Needs to be Replaced
While we mentioned earlier that duct tape could not fix plumbing leaks, it’s best not to patch anything. Patches don’t work well on a system where water is continuously flowing. PVC pipes are inexpensive. It’s better to replace the tube and know that it will last for the long-haul. Forget patches as they are a waste of time.
8. Taking on Difficult Plumbing Jobs
One of the biggest HVAC mistakes is thinking that you can do something that is way above your head. Sure, it seems simple to put in a new contactor or to switch out a drain pan, but these units are highly sophisticated. You can find the parts easily from online or a local HVAC supply store, but they cannot give you the years of valuable expertise to get the job done.
One little mistake in your HVAC unit can cause significant problems. If you’re dealing with a compressor issue, then you almost always need a new unit and shouldn’t mess with any attempted repairs. Do yourself a favor and make sure to call in an HVAC technician.
9. Overusing Store Bought Chemicals
There are numerous chemical products on the market that target people with clogs. In some circumstances, these chemicals can wash away the clog. However, be wary because that is not always the case. Some of these chemicals are harsh, and they won’t work on substantial obstructions. If you have toothpaste, hair, soap film or more significant issues keeping your drains stopped up, then you need to call for professional help. These chemicals are dangerous, and if they get in your airways or on your skin, it could mean a trip the ER.
10. Skimping on Products to Save Money
There’s an adage that says that you get what you pay for. When it comes to plumbing, shopping for your supplies at a big box store is not the best option. These stores are not stocked with the highest quality items, so they are not going to last long. If you are trying to save a buck by using cheap materials, it can cost you more time and money down the road. To avoid a disaster that costs you later, never buy materials at a department store.
Kenneth McDonald Plumbing & HVAC is always just a phone call away. Whether you have your drains torn apart, or your HVAC system is on the fritz, and you cannot repair it, we’ve got you covered. We are known as one of the top plumbing authorities in Western Pennsylvania with good reason. We care about our customers. Regardless of what you need, our well-trained technicians can ensure your systems are correctly repaired for an affordable cost.