If you are the do-it-yourself type, there are a few things you should know about at-home leak repair. Anyone can repair a drain, replace a toilet, or even change a water heater. You need to make sure you follow the same regulations that professionals are restricted by, but otherwise, you are free to do whatever is in your power.
Before you roll up your sleeves and get started with your at-home leak repair, here are a few do’s and don’ts to keep in mind.
Do: Find the Source of the Leak.
Of course, the first thing to do, which you’ve no doubt already done, is locate the source of the leak. This doesn’t just mean where the leak is showing in your home; this means ripping up drywall and exposing the very source of a leak.
It can be hard to spot exactly where a leak is coming from. Often, leaking pipes occur in the seams between connections. Occasionally, you may find a leak caused by a cracked or broken section of pipe nowhere near a connecting point, but these leaks are rare.
Locate the seam or crack that is releasing water. Be sure you have enough room to work beyond just where the leak is, allowing room to use tools and add other pipes and pieces.
Don’t: Make Repairs Beyond the Main Water Shutoff.
The main water shutoff is likely located in the basement or crawlspace of your home. This little nozzle controls the flow of water into your home. It leads in directly from your water source, either a well or a local source of water.
Repairs made past this point are very tricky and may require special tools or permits from your local government. While it may be possible to replace parts of your main line, it could be safer to call in a local expert to confirm what you can and cannot do.
Do: Make Sure Your Water is Off.
An important step that can be easy to overlook is forgetting to shut your water off and drain your system before beginning work on your pipes.
It should go without saying that you could be facing problems worse than a small leak if you forget to turn off your water. Prying open a pipe connection can escalate the problems you face controlling flooding in the area you’re trying to repair.
Likewise, forgetting to drain your home’s plumbing from the lowest faucet in the home has consequences. You risk releasing water from the leftover water in your system that’s contained in the pipes after your water shutoff valve.
Don’t: Neglect Important Safety Measures.
Be sure you are using common sense protection when working on your pipes. If you are changing a drainage pipe, be sure to properly sanitize yourself and your workspace after completing your work.
Likewise, be familiar with the tools and equipment you will need to use to make the repair to avoid any further damage to your home or injury to yourself.
Do: Use the right tools.
Plumbers are trained to use very intense and specialized tools. Many of the more dangerous or complicated tools require intense training and certification. Tools like welding torches and drain cleaning drums are dangerous and can cause severe damage to you and your home.
On top of knowing your tools, you should know what situation calls for them. Know when to use a crimping tool or what connections you should use tape or glue for.
Don’t: Put anything down your drains.
Once you start working on your pipes, be mindful of how to fix them. Don’t pour any strong chemicals down a drain without knowing where they will come out and what to do with them when it does.
Fixing a pipe from the inside isn’t unheard of, but it defeats the purpose if you’re cutting into your drains. It’s best to keep anything from going through your pipes while you’re repairing them.
Do: Properly seal your pipe.
Many pipe leaks are caused by a bad sealing job or eroded caulk and tape. Prevent the leak from happening again (or at the very least for a long time) by sealing, gluing, taping, welding, crimping, or otherwise firmly shoring up the damage to your plumbing.
Without taking the proactive steps to seal your pipes, you may end up with the same problem, only a little poorer and a little older. Save yourself time later by being vigilant now.
Don’t: Ignore flood damage from grey or brown water.
Flooding can cause severe health problems for you if you don’t clean up properly.
Homeowners are at risk of molding and other fungus-related problems from floodwater. Make sure to completely dry everything that’s exposed to the water, and sanitize it so that nothing ends up growing between your walls or under your subfloor.
Do: Double check your work.
Before you make a cut or seal a line, be sure to double-check your measurements are correct. As the saying goes, measure twice, cut once. Not only does double-checking the connection help save you from having to use new materials, but it also saves you time in the long run by ensuring you don’t need to redo work.
Don’t: Restore full pressure without testing your line.
Before you patch up your wall or place everything back under your sink, be sure to test the new fix to ensure it will hold. It is best to do this part with two people to avoid water damage, in case something didn’t set right.
Do: Call Quick Quality Plumbing if you need help.
Sometimes an at-home leak repair doesn’t go quite right. Fixing one small connection turns into seven feet of pipe and half a dozen new connectors.
No matter what part of the process you’re in, call Quick Quality Plumbing if you run into a situation you can’t resolve.
Our professionals are available whenever you need them and are skilled to handle almost every plumbing scenario with professionalism and quality. Call now if you need help with your plumbing!