We’ve all been there: you’re minding your own business when all of a sudden you find a puddle under your sink or a clogged drain. Although many plumbing problems seem to appear out of nowhere, did you know that most plumbing problems are self-inflicted? Careless use, poor maintenance techniques, and delaying repairs when you need them cause most major plumbing problems. Read more to find out how to take care of your pipes and drains to avoid most plumbing disasters.

Ignoring common plumbing problems

The most common plumbing mistake is noticing that you have a plumbing problem and either putting it off until later or ignoring it altogether. When you know you have a problem and don’t take immediate action to keep it from becoming worse, a minor plumbing problem can turn into a full-blown, expensive plumbing emergency.

Not maintaining your plumbing fixtures

Instead of waiting for the warning signs of plumbing failure to check your pipes for problems, set up a once a month self-inspection schedule to help plumbing problems from developing in the first place. With a regular inspection schedule, you can avoid common plumbing mistakes and keep them from developing into disasters.

You should also consider calling in a professional plumber to inspect your plumbing at least once a year. A trained specialist will notice plumbing issues that you may have missed, or may have not even be aware of. Getting a professional to give your plumbing an occasional once over can save you money in the long run by catching undetectable early warning signs.

Using too many chemicals

Another common plumbing mistake is using too much chemical cleaning products when trying to clear clogged drains. Although these products do help as an emergency solution for minor clogs or grime buildup, they can actually harm your pipes if you rely on them too often. The chemical reactions that make these products work can end up eating away at the inner walls of you pipes.

Instead of using these harsh chemicals, try less harmful solutions like as vinegar and baking soda. If you find yourself needing to unclog the same drain over and over with chemicals, call in a professional that can permanently fix your problem.

Throwing things down the toilet or drain that you shouldn’t

Common plumbing mistakes are made through the misuse of pipes, drains, and garbage disposals. Homeowners often try to use their garbage disposals or toilets as garbage cans, thinking that as long as something makes it down the drain, they’re in the clear. This, however, can be a costly mistake that commonly leads to severe pipe damage and buildup later on. Find out if it’s safe to put something down your garbage disposal before it’s too late. Avoid running fibrous or stringy food, plastic wrappers, animal bones, fat or grease through your disposal. As for your toilet, it’s best to only use it to dispose of home waste and toilet paper.

Tackling DIY challenges you’re not prepared to take on

Another extremely common (and extremely risky) plumbing mistake is attempting DIY plumbing repairs without the right tools, techniques, or know-how to effectively fix your plumbing issues. It’s always best to seek a professional plumber’s opinion than get in over your help with difficult do-it-yourself projects. If you do decide to go the DIY route to fix issues with your home plumbing, it’s important to have the right tools on hand.

These tools include:

  • Basin wrenches and standard pipe wrenches
  • A metal file
  • A hacksaw to cut through an existing pipe
  • A plumber’s snake to deal with drain clogs
  • Adjustable, hex-shaped wrenches

When handling repairs on your own, not only is it important to have the right tools, you should also know what part of your plumbing system is causing the problem, and what you should do to fix it. If you don’t know what you’re getting into before you start your DIY plumbing project, you’re likely to only make matters worse. 

Not calling in a professional when you’ve made plumbing mistakes

All of the issues above lead to the same conclusion: if you’ve made a plumbing mistake and don’t know what to do about it, call a licensed plumbing professional before the problem gets any worse. Yes, calling a plumber in to help will cost you money, but it will be cheaper than making the plumbing mistakes listed above.

If you find yourself in over your head with anything from common plumbing problems to failed DIY repairs, check out our directory to find a local plumber right away. Avoid major plumbing disasters by calling in an expert while the problem you’re having is still relatively small and manageable.