Common home plumbing mistakes

home plumbing mistakesEvery year homeowners decide to have a go at fixing their plumbing; the rising trend in DIY is fueled by TV shows and YouTube videos where presenters will make plumbing tasks look easy to accomplish. In addition to poor quality DIY, many people tend to get into bad habits, which result in problems. All too often the plumbing fails and emergency plumbers are called to rectify the work. This blog will cover the ten most common plumbing problems that people have:


Cutting through pipes

common plumbing disastersOne of the most common plumbing disasters occurs when a water pipe is damaged while carrying out DIY repairs. Drilling into walls, floors or ceilings that contain pipes is the quickest way to develop a major leak. To avoid this catastrophe, make sure you check where the pipes are in your home before starting any DIY.

Using the wrong metal pipes

Plumbing pipes must be connected like with like. If different pipes are connected, such as copper and steel, the combination will lead to galvanic action, which causes corrosion. The end result is a leak behind a wall or under the floor that starts small and eventually leads to a major flood if not detected early enough. If different pipes are to be connected an approved dielectric union fitting should be used.

Using venting for cables

Venting is designed to safely carry sewer gases up and away from your home. If vents are accessed so that satellite and Internet cables can be passed through your home, you risk allowing very smelly and potentially dangerous gases into your home. The vents should not be used for anything other than air venting.

Removing P pipes

This is a problem that is fueled by the green movement. The P pipe is removed from beneath a kitchen or bathroom sink so that waste water can be collected and used in the garden. However, the P pipe is there to prevent sewer gases entering the home. Many people fail to realize that the toilet and sink waste is combined in the sewer and the gases can come back.

Push fittings in concrete

One of the most common DIY problems occurs when people use push fit / speed fit plumbing fittings incorrectly. If they are covered in concrete, either to run heat to radiators or to create a heated floor, in time they will fail. Whenever push fittings are used the pipes should run through a conduit with access doors to allow regular inspections and replacement. Push fit should never be encased in concrete, as this would risk wear and tear where the copper pipe enters the plastic fitting.

Throwing trash down the toilet

One of the most common plumbing emergencies is a blocked toilet. In almost all cases a blocked toilet is caused when somebody throws trash down it; either sanitary towels, screwed up paper, condoms, nappies, wet wipes, cotton balls, paint and food.

A toilet is not on its own system; if the waste pipe becomes blocked this may result in many other waste pipes blocking up. If a blockage forms in your main waste pipe no water will leave your house and the result is foul water building up and eventually overflowing into your home.

Treat your toilet with respect. Anything other than human waste and toilet paper should go in the trash bin.

Food down the kitchen sink

When cleaning dishes it may be very tempting to wash scraps of food down the sink. Yes, these will all go the same way as the toilet waste, but they will still increase the risk of developing a blockage.

Even if you have a food disposer in your sink you should avoid putting rice, flour, vegetable peelings and fibrous vegetables down the sink. These will result in blockages because they break down very slowly. Food that has been cooked and is left over on plates breaks down much faster than raw peeling and rice. Never throw fat down the kitchen sink – it will result in solidified blocks of fat that will eventually block sewers.

Using too much drain cleaner

Drain cleaner can be a lifesaver if a small blockage forms. However, when too much is used the chemicals can build up and start to corrode some drain fittings. The cleaner can also lead to more clogging further down the drain and this will eventually need a plumber to clear. Avoid the first two bad habits and you should not require drain cleaner at all.

Leaving outside hoses connected

If a water filled hose is left attached to an outside tap during winter the freezing water will cause damage to the sillcock, which may result in a leak, when the spring thaw comes. The damage to the sillcock usually requires a new tap too. In addition to the damaged tap the water hose may degrade if it goes through many freeze-thaw cycles.

Any or all of the above could be a problem within your home. If you are in doubt contact RupCoe for a plumbing health audit.

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