It is entirely possible for homeowners to repair leaking pipes or install new plumbing fixtures on their own. However, it's always best to be prepared before attempting any kind of maintenance or repairs. Here are a few tips that can help your first plumbing project go as smoothly as possible.
Locate Shutoff Valves
While leaking pipes can lead to serious water damage if left unchecked, you will only cause more damage if you attempt to patch or replace a pipe without shutting off the water first. Before attempting any plumbing projects, it is a good idea to learn the location of every shutoff valve in your plumbing system as well as what they control.
While you can always close your home's main shutoff valve, typically located on your basement wall, this can sometimes be inconvenient if other people in your home need to use water. If you are working on a bathroom or kitchen sink, look for a shutoff valve under the sink connected to the pipes that lead up to the faucet. Toilet shutoff valves are usually found near the bottom of the toilet on the back side. Bathtub and shower shutoff valves will either be located under the sink or between the floor joists below the tub or shower. Shutoff valves below the floor will be accessible from the basement.
Assemble the Right Tools
Few things are as frustrating as getting started on a project, only to find you don't have the right tools to complete the job. Even if it is your first project, it is a good idea to assemble a basic plumbing toolkit, as plumbing repairs have a tendency to become more complicated than you initially expected.
Many hardware supply stores sell basic plumbing kits that, depending on their price point, may offer more or less than you need to finish a project. Whether you buy a starter kit or decide to assemble your own kit, there are a few essential tools that you should always purchase.
Pipe wrenches, basin wrenches, and tongue-and-groove pliers all play essential roles by helping you grip pipes and turn stubborn nuts and threaded pipes effectively. A tube cutter, propane torch, flux, solder, and emery cloth are all essential for sweating copper pipes and fittings. Finally, don't forget to pick up a hand auger to assist with one of the most basic plumbing tasks: removing clogs.
Use these tips so you will have a solid starting point to dive into the details of virtually any plumbing project you would like to accomplish. If there's a task that might be too overwhelming for you, consider contacting a local plumber, such as Mr. Rooter Plumbing, to get the job done.