DIY Plumbing 101: Safety Dos and Don’ts

May 25 2019

Faulty sink trapYou take pride in your home. So when issues arise or you’re making improvements, it’s understandable that you may want to try a DIY approach. For many homeowners, plumbing is one of those areas.

If you’re ready to take on a common plumbing project or plumbing repair, we encourage you to do to so if you feel confident and want to save money. However, no matter your skill level, it’s very important to be aware of basic safety guidelines.

Plumbing Dos

  • Know where the shutoff valve is. This is the valve that turns the water on and off for your entire house. For jobs involving pressurized lines, you’ll need to turn the water off before starting any work. And in the event of an emergency, you’ll want to be able to shut off the water fast to prevent flooding or water damage.
  • Understand what type of pipe you’re working with. Is it pressurized, drain, or sewage? If you open up the wrong type of pipe without taking necessary precautions, you could have a giant mess on your hands.
  • Wear protective gear. Based on the job and the materials you’ll be coming in contact with, wear the appropriate goggles, gloves, masks, and clothing.
  • Follow instructions. Whenever you’re using power equipment or products with harsh chemicals, read the labels and follow the instructions. Pay close attention to the health warnings and steps to take in an emergency such as getting chemicals in your eyes.
  • Be aware of codes. Before starting a major plumbing project, check the local building and plumbing codes. You may be required to get a permit or have a professional come in for complex work.

Plumbing Don’ts

  • Ignore the smell of gas. If at any point of your work you notice an odor that reminds you of rotten eggs, it’s a telltale sign of a gas leak. Turn off the gas of your house, call your utility company, and get out of the home until a professional arrives.
  • Use tools you’re not comfortable with. Misusing tools is a major safety hazard. If you don’t know how to operate machinery, find someone who can help you. And only use equipment the way it is intended to be used (this goes back to reading the instructions recommendation).
  • Cut or drill into materials without knowing what’s behind it. This goes for walls, ceilings, and floors. You don’t want to damage any hidden wiring, plumbing, or ductwork.
  • Overlook codes and safety requirements. Just because you’re doing the work yourself, it doesn’t mean you’re exempt from building and plumbing codes. Not following the requirements could put your household and the public in risk, not to mention cost you money and legal headaches if an inspector finds out about your work.

Completing a home project can be a very rewarding experience. At the same time, plumbing is very complex. Above all, make sure you follow these guidelines and put your safety first.

Any time you need help with a plumbing upgrade or repair, you can trust the professionals at Emergency Plumbing & Solar. We service Oahu and Maui 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. To schedule an appointment, call (808) 691-9309.