Just like most household repairs, with a few tools, a little elbow grease and the right know how, simple plumbing jobs can be done without calling a Kelowna or Vancouver plumbing company. That said, it is most important that you have the right knowledge about the task at hand. There’s no gain from making a small plumbing repair yourself, if you are causing a much larger issue down the road. That said, we’re going to help and give you advice on the top DIY mistakes when it comes to plumbing! Especially in Okanagan Valley. This plumbers from Kelowna shared with us a popular DIY plumbing mistakes that they had to fix.

 Not Turning off the Water

This one should be the most simple. Don’t for a second believe that this isn’t a necessary precaution. Never start any work on a plumbing problem in your house, without first finding your main water shut off, and making sure it’s in working condition. If you don’t turn the water off, water shooting out of a connection can easily cause a very expensive problem. Professional Vancouver plumbing companies do it, so why shouldn’t you?

Not Having the Right Tools or Parts

This one can be frustrating because plenty of households don’t have a full set of plumbing wrenches and tools. Kelowna plumbers make it look easy because they have the right tool for every task. Before attempting to dismantle or install any plumbing in your house, look up or ask a Vancouver plumbing company what tools should be on hand. Here are a few common examples:

  •  Using slip joint pliers on the wrong connection can break or strip your parts.
  • Use a pipe cutter for perfect square cuts rather than eyeing your cut using a hacksaw
  • Knowing that you need to use thread tape on a connection

Not Using the Right Tape on a Connection, or Wrapping it Backwards

 This one is common, and can be tricky to remember. PTFE tape (known commonly as thread tape or Teflon tape) needs to be wrapped clockwise on a thread for it to function properly. If you wrap the tape backwards, it will actually unwind as you tighten the thread, defeating the purpose of using the tape at all. This creates a poor seal and will leak. Here’s a Vancouver plumber pro tip: wrap the threads three times around. Make sure when you’re screwing in the connection the tape is facing left. If it’s facing right, take it off and rewrap it. Also ask a Vancouver plumbing expert about which type of tape to use.

Over Tightening Connections

 This one of the most common DIY mistakes. Over tightening the plastic fittings on a toilet or a faucet supply tube occurs all the time. You want the connection to be a tight seal, but that doesn’t mean cranking as hard as you can with a wrench. Doing this will a crack the part, causing a leak. Over tightening may not even crack the part for weeks, and will happen later, causing all sorts of problems if left unnoticed. It’s hard to know without getting the feel for it, but you wants the parts to be snug enough and leak free when you test the water, without breaking a sweat with the wrench. This also applies to galvanized fittings, black pipes, couplings, tees and elbows, so be mindful. 

Breaking Stuck Shut off Valves

 Shut off valves can go long periods of time without being operated which can cause them to seize. If the knob is not turning by hand, don’t grab it with two hands and turn it as hard as you can. This will cause you to break the knob (you’re stronger than you think!) and can also break the valve stem at the same time. You don’t want to make your plumbing repair list longer as you work. The cause of the seized knob is that the stem packing seal has welding itself to the valve stem. Grab an adjustable wrench and loosen the stem nut just enough to break this bond. Then you should be able to turn the knob. Afterwards make sure to tighten the stem nut back up.

Not Knowing the Proper Setup

Mixing up tees, wyes, and elbows is easy to do. In fact, there’s a lot of variation in how a setup needs to be done house to house. If you’ve installed a pee trap once, the setup may need to be different the next time you need to do it. Contact a Kelowna or Vancouver plumbing professional for the correct answer before starting. One common symptom of installing a pee trap set up incorrectly will be a bad smell. What’s happening is that the water is draining too much, allowing air to come through. Air from the sewer! It’s important to follow code to avoid these DIY mistakes.

 Hopefully on your next DIY plumbing project, you’ll be able to avoid these mistakes! Whether in Kelowna or West Kelowna, please contact Lillie Family Plumbing for all your plumbing needs!