2 Plumbing Mistakes That Can Cause Big Problems Later

Nothing is worse than being forced to deal with a plumbing emergency. A flooded basement or an uncooperative plumbing fixture can destroy your entire weekend in an instant. Fortunately, you might be able to avoid rescheduling events by making the right decisions beforehand. Here are two plumbing repair mistakes that can cause big problems later, and what you should do instead.

1: Not Winterizing Your Outdoor Plumbing

If you are like most people, you probably remember watching your dad spend an entire Saturday getting the outdoor plumbing ready for the winter. Although he swore it was necessary, you may have wondered how much of a difference it actually made. In an effort to save time, you might decide to skip the yard work, and focus on putting up those Christmas lights. Unfortunately, failure to winterize can cause these problems:

  • Spigots: It might seem harmless to leave those spigots uncovered, but having them exposed during the winter might leave them open for damage. If your kids use faucets and don't shut them off all the way, a small drip could cause ice to build and block the spigot entrance. As pressure builds behind that outdoor faucet, it could cause the attached pipe to burst, which could flood your home. To avoid trouble, always cover spigots with tamper-resistant, insulated shields. 
  • Outdoor Hoses: If you leave hoses attached to spigots, they might let water pool inside the faucet and hose, where it can freeze and expand. Before winter, always remove outdoor hoses and watering lines.
  • Sprinkler System: Always turn off and drain your sprinkler system before the cold season. If water is allowed to sit in underground pipes, it can freeze and burst the lines, destroying your system.

To help you to remember to take care of these important tasks, make winterizing your outdoor plumbing fixtures part of your regular fall yard-cleaning regimen.

2: Using the Wrong Parts During A DIY Repair

Although most people avoid complicated plumbing tasks like replacing a toilet or taking care of a sewage clog, fixing a leaky sink might not seem like that big of a deal. To save money, many homeowners make the mistake of attempting their own DIY repair, even if they don't have any plumbing experience. Unfortunately, unless you know what you are doing, it can be really easy to buy the wrong materials. Here are a few issues that can stem from accidentally using improper parts:

  • Pipes: When you start shopping for pipes, it can be easy to assume they are all the same. However, each different type of pipe is created for a different purpose, and mixing them up can create problems. For example, there is PVC piping created for indoor use, and similar-looking PVC piping made for outdoor sprinkler systems. If you accidentally use the outdoor stuff for your kitchen sink, it might not stand up as well against the cleaning chemicals and food particles that constantly flow through your system. 
  • Connectors: If you can't find the right connectors, you might decide to make do with what you have and seal the area with caulk. Unfortunately, ill-fitting connectors can create pipe blockages and leaks. If you seal the area with caulk, it can be more difficult for a professional to correctly repair the pipe later.
  • Joint Compound: To create a tight, waterproof seal, plumbing lines have to be joined together with joint compound made specifically for the pipe. Unfortunately, if you use the wrong compound, water can easily penetrate the small gaps between pipes, leak, and erode plumbing lines.

If you want an easy way to avoid these problems, hire a professional plumber to do your repairs. In addition to fixing your plumbing the first time around, a professional can analyze your system, and let you know what caused the issue in the first place.

Being proactive about the health of your plumbing might help you to avoid surprise hassles, so you can do what you want with your free time.