While fixing your own plumbing is a great DIY project, it doesn’t take much for a quick plumbing fix to become a full-fledged, whole-house, 3-inches-of-water-in-the-living-room plumbing disaster. The repairs you make could end up costing you more than if you had a professional make them in the first place. In certain cases if something goes wrong the result could even mean loss of insurance coverage.
Learning to fix your leaks or replace your toilet can save you money, but DIY plumbing can turn to disaster quickly if you’re not careful. While some problems can be avoided, many nightmares are inevitable, especially if you have old or poorly installed plumbing. Even so, there are steps you can take to either head off problems before they begin or minimize the chaos once it starts to unfold.
Know Where Your Shut-Offs Are; Before you start any plumbing project, even if it’s tightening your toilet seat, you should locate all of your shutoff valves and know what they control. If you have a nice system that was installed with some thought, you might even have shutoffs for each bathroom. Most of these valves are found in the basement, though some might be hidden behind access panels. If you’re unsure what a specific valve controls, just close it off and start turning on your faucets and flushing your toilets. Most importantly, always know where the main house shutoff is. It’s usually right where the water line enters the house. Keep in the back of your head the fastest route to the shutoff. You could be sprinting there someday.
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