Performing good plumbing maintenance is the key to getting lower water bills. However, this task becomes counterproductive if it is performed incorrectly.

While fixing plumbing issues that you encounter in your household might seem easy to do on your own, the smarter thing to do is still to call in a licensed plumber to take care of the problem.

It pays to know what mistakes you could potentially make if you attempt to deal with your plumbing yourself. This will help you understand that, while it may be tempting to try to save on the plumber’s fees, it will be more cost-efficient and effective to have experts do handle the plumbing rather than do it yourself and end up with a bigger, more expensive problem.

Here are seven such mistakes to think about:

Excessively tightening plumbing connections

Over-tightening fixtures in the plumbing system may seem like a good idea, but the truth is, it can damage the pipe fittings, supply tubes, and toilet bolts. Excessive cranking may cause cracks on the elbows, tees, coupling, and galvanized pipes which, inadvertently, leads to water leaks.

It could also damage the porcelain fixtures in your bathroom and kitchen, particularly the toilet.

Using inappropriate tools and materials during maintenance

Like any other type of maintenance, plumbing maintenance should be done using the proper tools. Trying to save on upfront costs by using any tools and materials you have at hand that aren’t made for the job may lead to more expenses incurred due to damage to the fixture and the entire plumbing network. This is one of the many reasons why plumbing maintenance should be left to the professionals.

For example, using a hand auger to remove toilet blockages may cause damage to your toilet bowl. On top of that, the problem won’t be resolved since hand augers are only made to remove obstructions from sinks and bathtubs and may break easily when used in a toilet bowl.

Using thread tape incorrectly

Teflon or PTFE tape is used when sealing a plumbing connection. It is wrapped around the fixture in a clockwise motion to keep it nice and tight to avoid leaks.

However, many DIYers make the mistake of wrapping the thread tape in the wrong direction which can lead to the tape unraveling while the fixture is being tightened.

Ignoring signs of leakage

Signs of leakage should never be ignored, no matter how minor they may seem. Aside from wasting water from the constant dripping, not having this type of plumbing issue repaired immediately can lead to worse consequences, ranging from rusty metal fixtures from exposure to moisture to an exploded pipe.

Using chemical drain cleaners

Chemical cleaners are often the go-to solution for homeowners who go the DIY route in fixing blocked drains and sewers. This is not advisable.

Although these chemicals may seem like the easiest solutions for getting rid of the obstruction, they can cause long-term problems for your plumbing system. Aside from that, these products are detrimental to your health and the environment. Also, they merely treat the symptoms, and not the underlying plumbing issue.

Not turning off the water during repairs

Assuming that plumbing repairs can be done quickly without the need to turn off the water flow is a common mistake many homeowners commit when taking on the task themselves.

Seasoned professional plumbers know to request the closure of the water mains tap before they begin fixing the damage. This is because it is virtually impossible for them to do their job with the water pushing its way toward any fixture they are trying to fix or replace.

Not following the local code

Knowing the rules and regulations set by the government in your area is important in ensuring that your plumbing system and entire property abide by the local code. While you may be able to do some research about this, professional plumbers still have the advantage of using their years of work experience in following the code and processing the necessary permits for the job.

There is plenty of room for mistakes when doing plumbing maintenance tasks yourself, especially since different cities have varying rules on the matter. Some areas, for example, only require permits for large scale kitchen remodeling, while others require one even just for installing toilets.

The Takeaway

Plumbing maintenance and repair are tasks that should be left to the skillful hands of professionals. Aside from preventing bigger issues from emerging in the future, it also ensures the safety of your home. Remember, the result of amateur DIY work is much more likely to cause untoward incidents and may even cause problems with your home insurance.


Based in South Melbourne, Blue Diamond Plumbing was founded in 1985, working on new homes, repairs and commercial contracts. Over time they have grown to become some of the best plumbers Melbourne has to offer. Since 2001 the company has specialised in Emergency Plumbing and Property Maintenance, Repairs and Renovations for homes and businesses in Melbourne and inner city suburbs. Owner Rod Diamond has over 30 years experience with emergency plumbing in Melbourne’s inner suburbs.