DIY Plumbing: Safe Plumbing Practices

Before attempting to do any plumbing repair or project yourself, it’ll help to know the safety precautions to observe. This includes safety tips for handling tools and legal requirements regarding plumbing installations.

Since plumbing involves working with pipes, you should be concerned about what the pipe carries, be it pressurized gas, raw sewage, or water, and the consequences of what you do on the pipes.

The Do’s

Plumbing safely and in a smart way entails thinking about each and every step you take. Taking some time to think about what the pipe supplies or whether it’s necessary to turn off its water supply before doing anything on the pipe can make a huge difference between disastrous DIY scenarios and a simple plumbing project.

  • Always think before attempting to open a drain line: Before detaching drain parts for repair or cleaning, first, ask yourself whether the pipe contents will splash all over you.

While drains run without much pressure, a blockage in them can build some pressure as a result of the weight and gravity behind the blockage.

Most DIY plumbers who don’t observe this safety precaution end up spewing sewage throughout the home, and this can be a major health hazard.

  • Turn off the main water supply: In case your plumbing project involves water pipes, first turn off the main water supply for safety.

What might appear like a beautiful, decorative knob or cap actually holds extreme water pressure. You wouldn’t want your home to flood with water yet you can prevent it before doing any plumbing work.

  • Be informed: You should go through your local codes of construction and plumbing before starting any major plumbing project.

Get to know the kind of plumbing work you may do yourself. Also, know the work that requires hiring an expert. Get a construction permit if needed before doing a plumbing project. Try to learn more about the common plumbing mistakes you should avoid.

  • Keep your eyes protected: Always wear quality safety glasses every time you’re doing a plumbing project, especially when doing an activity that has the potential to damage the eyes.

For instance, work that involves using drills, snaking the drain, hammering, using a reciprocating saw, and working under the sink while facing upwards may be dangerous for the eyes without protection. Also, contaminants such as drain gunk and sewage can splash onto the eyes.

  • Keep your hands protected: You should wear high-quality work gloves when doing plumbing work. Your hands will handle different chemicals and materials. Wearing gloves will keep your hands protected from injuries when working. When using any kind of drain machine, wear high-quality latex gloves beneath leather gloves such that germs found in drainage lines will not get to your hands.
  • Keep your lungs protected: Wearing a high-quality face mask whenever necessary will keep your lungs protected. Plumbing work that entails sanding or sawing will produce dust particles. Wearing a good face mask will prevent you from inhaling the dust particles, thereby keeping your lungs protected.
  • Use plumbing tools safely: You should exercise a lot of caution when working with power tools. Adhere to the recommendations of the manufacturer when using a power tool. For instance, drilling holes for water pipes is a major safety hazard.

Ensure the drill cutter or drill bit won’t bind when drilling. In case the cutter or drill bit stops all of sudden, the power drill will continue running.

Be cautious when using heat on water pipes or soldering, especially near an insulation material or on a wall. Use a high-quality heat shield when soldering to keep combustible materials protected from catching fire when soldering.

  • Read manufacturer labels: Ensure you read instructions and labels on machinery and chemicals before using them. Follow the manufacturer recommendations each and every time.

Also, check for any warning labels that might be on some equipment and products. Know the steps to take whenever an emergency arises.

The Don’ts

Handling a plumbing project can be quite easy and not as complicated you’d think. The key to success in plumbing is avoiding to rush into doing anything.

Always think about your project thoroughly and ensure you have a workable plan before tearing through the pipes or detaching any plumbing fixtures. Here are the don’ts of plumbing.

  • Ignoring code requirements: Construction and plumbing codes are set to protect you as a consumer, your family, and the public.

Thus, code requirements shouldn’t be ignored at any given time. For instance, failure to include a vacuum breaker in the water supply pipe can result in contamination of drinking water.

  • Ignoring gas smell: Whenever you suspect gas leakage or smell it, stop everything else you’re doing and leave the premises immediately.

Turn off your gas line if it’s safe, and contact your gas service provider immediately. Avoid tracing the leak yourself.

  • Cutting blindly: Before drilling or cutting into the floor, ceiling, or wall cavity, ensure you know what exists within the cavity.

Cavities often hide electrical wiring, ductwork, and plumbing pipes among other such things. Thus, be careful not to drill or cut through such essential installations.

  • Misusing equipment or tools: Only use plumbing equipment and tools for the right purpose. Misusing them may lead to injuries and even damaging the tool itself. Also, note that poorly maintained equipment and tools are not safe to use.

Always check each and every power equipment and tool before using it. Only use tools that are in a good working condition.

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