10 Common DIY Plumbing Mistakes to Avoid (2023 Guide)

Getting a task done with fewer expenses is what we all wish for. Saving money where we can is one goal we all try to achieve. Upgrading your bathroom and fixing things on your own are some tasks that generally help in cutting down expenses. These practices are what give rise to do-it-yourself plumbers. 

Many well-settled residents all over the world attempt these DIY jobs on their own. But these DIY plumbers face difficulties and consequences at times. The problems range from simple, inexpensive fixes to serious, expensive errors. 

10 Common Mistakes That Must Avoid as DIY Plumbers

1. Not Leaving Adequate Space

vanity-too-closeFrequently, homeowners become too enthusiastic and begin organising their bathrooms themselves. They purchase new bathtubs, showers, and other bathroom fixtures on a spree. They buy all these without taking the necessary measurements.

It creates problems like the toilets being too close to the vanity and bathtubs that are too small in size. A person is unable to sit in them when set up without taking measurements. Due to lack of space, linen closet doors don’t open all the way.

Planning efficiently and creating a scheme with proper measurements is the key to success. After all, a bathroom that your family can’t use comfortably won’t be any good.

2. Trying To Do Tasks You’re Not Qualified For

There are times when some tasks are not something DIY plumbers can do. You must trust and understand us when we tell you that a lot of DIY plumbing jobs and upgrades go wrong. Today the internet provides all the knowledge that one requires to learn anything. But all this knowledge still cannot replace years of formal education and experience. 

You may not have the right idea of how difficult plumbing can be. Call plumbers if you’re uncertain about something or don’t know how to do it. You will save a great deal of money in potential repairs and damage if you let plumbers handle it for you. If you are still too excited to do your DIY project, then getting proper guidance and advice from a plumber is something you must consider once.

3. Using Excessive Force to Open a Stuck Shut-off Valve

forcing-to-open-a-stuck-valveWhen not used for long periods, shut-off valves for sinks and toilets often seize and get stuck. Don’t assume that extra force will help if you can’t turn the knob manually. This can result in the breakage of not just the knob but the valve stem too.

The stem packing seal here wields itself to the valve stem, making it completely impossible for the valve stem to spin. 

The solution to this problem is to break the connection by slightly loosening the stem nut with an adjustable wrench. This allows you to spin the knob. After finishing, tighten the stem nut and check for leaks.

4. Overusing Liquid Drain Cleaner

When it comes to unclogging drains, householders turn to these chemical liquid drain cleaners. But many misuse them as they fail to use them according to the manufacturer’s directions. This overuse of corrosive chemicals can sustain severe damage to the pipes and plumbing fittings. It won’t happen right away but eventually, this misuse will corrode the fittings. 

If you do use such chemicals, use them responsibly and according to the instructions. Also, we advise starting with more organic and ecologically friendly techniques. They don’t cause much damage as they are not corrosive.

5. Not Recording the Process of Reassembling

assembling-bathroom-items-with-manualSeveral times people call plumbers when they have taken something apart in their kitchen or bathroom. They call because they don’t remember the way to put the part back together.

This happens because local people are not used to such tasks. Forgetting the long process, they went through in taking the part off is quite normal. 

To be able to go back and retrace your actions, keep instruction manuals and installation instructions close at hand at all times. Taking a part off the right way as instructed in the manual will make it easier to put it back together too.

6. Not Turning Off the Water

Many DIY plumbers believe they can simply swap in a new valve while keeping the water running. That’s not going to go as planned at all. As soon as you remove the valve full water pressure will flood the area and flood your house if you are unable to install the new valve or faucet. This water will drip to lower levels too eventually. 

Turning off the main water supply valve for just a few minutes can easily save the chance of causing thousands of dollars worth of damage. Experienced plumbers never work without turning off the water. You should follow this too.

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7. Tightening Connections Too Much

volts and-wrenchDIY plumbers’ most common mistake is over-tightening the fittings and bolts of supply tubes, pipes & toilets. This forcefully over-tightening can result in cracks/breaks & leakages for these appliances at the time of installation. The fitting may not break immediately. But due to this tremendous strain, it can break a few days or weeks later. 

Many times plastic fittings on supply tubes for faucets and toilets are overtightened. Simply stated, no extra tension is required to tighten a water supply line.

Hex nuts when overtightened ultimately crack and leak. Moreover, overtightening the toilet closet bolts on the floor or in the space between the bowl and tank might break the porcelain. This can leave your toilet completely damaged.

8. Using The Incorrect Tape or Wrapping Thread Tape Incorrectly

For PTFE thread tape, also known as Teflon tape, to function correctly, it must be wrapped around the threads in a clockwise direction. Still, a lot of DIY plumbers wrap it in reverse, causing the tape to come off the threads as they tighten the fitting. The whole point of using thread tape would be wasted since it won’t be able to seal if it is not ingrained in the threads. 

When you screw the pipe into the fitting, wrap the threads three times, with the last wrap facing to the left. Stop and rewrap it with the final wrap towards the right. Make sure you are using the proper tape as well. Always use thin white or thick pink thread tape for fittings that supply water and yellow gas-rated tape for threaded gas line connections to secure from leakages. On flare or compression fittings, never use thread tape.

9. Using Incorrect Connectors

pipe-fittingA proper connector is required when connecting several pipes. This is important to avoid corrosion of the pipes. Different types of steel are often divided and kept from contacting one another using a dielectric union.

This is done to avoid any chemical reactions among the steel which can be harmful to the pipes. Many inexperienced plumbers attempt to connect pipes using the wrong connectors.

This is due to the unawareness of this. Even though it is crucial to avoid any type of damage to the pipes.

10. Not Prioritising Security

There are frequent cases when DIY plumbers are not wearing the appropriate safety gear. They are not abiding by other safety instructions which can lead to dangerous outcomes. An injury can occur in a matter of seconds, especially when tools and chemicals are present. 

If there are kids or dogs nearby, extra safety measures should be taken. No matter what DIY project you’re working on, you should be careful to take safety seriously. No one would want to see their friends and neighbours harmed and for that taking, necessary precautions are advised.

Related post: DIY Guide for Common Home Plumbing Issues


Saving up money and being excited to do something new can be amusing. Even these tasks can sometimes be a little dangerous. Keeping these small things in mind can avoid many accidents and loss of money. Some plumbing issues are often handled best when pros are working on them.

Many plumbers are offering 24/7 emergency plumbing services to help you all the time. Professionals can also offer good solutions to common issues which can help fix any plumbing problems in your home with ease.

For any plumbing inquiries, contact Damien McEvoy Plumbing at (02) 8599 4593 and get a free quote!

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