Avoid These Common Plumbing Errors

Plumbing can be tricky, and making mistakes is easy. Common errors include overtightening pipes and fittings, which can cause leaks or breakage. It’s important to wrap thread tape the right way, with clockwise turns for a good seal.

Drain cleaners are handy but using them too much might damage your pipes. Always have extra parts like gaskets and O-rings ready when fixing taps or valves to stop leaks from happening.

Before starting any plumbing work, remember to turn off the water supply to keep your home dry and safe. Avoid using wrong tools or mismatched materials because they can lead to more issues in your plumbing system.

Proper venting keeps drains running smoothly without bad smells or dried-out traps. Knowing when you need a professional plumber is key; it saves time and money while keeping things up to code.

With these points in mind, let’s learn how to avoid common plumbing blunders so that your DIY projects succeed every time! Keep reading for some top tips on getting bathroom plumbing right.

Common Plumbing Errors

Avoid these common plumbing errors and save yourself the headache of leaks and clogged drains. From overtightening connections to using incorrect plumbing tools, there are several mistakes that can be easily avoided with the right knowledge and caution.

Overtightening Connections

Tighten connections with care to prevent damage. Going too far when screwing pipes and fittings together can cause them to crack. This mistake often leads to serious leaks in supply tubes and toilet bolts.

It’s a common issue with plastic fittings on faucets and toilets, which can break under too much pressure.

Make sure you don’t overdo it, especially with toilet closet bolts. Overtightening these can harm the porcelain of your toilet bowl. For both metal and plastic plumbing systems, use the right touch to keep everything sealed but not broken.

If unsure about how tight is right, consider asking a professional plumber for guidance or look up specific recommendations online for the materials you’re working with.

Misuse of Thread Tape

Just as overtightening can weaken your plumbing, so too can the wrong use of thread tape cause trouble. It’s crucial to wrap Teflon tape clockwise around the threads. This helps create a seal that prevents leaks.

If you wrap it counterclockwise, the tape might unravel when you screw the fitting into place.

Remember to not go overboard with PTFE thread tape. A few wraps are enough—usually three turns should do it. Too much tape can make it hard to tighten fittings and may even lead to cracked pipes, costing you more in repairs.

Also, be sure to pick the correct width and type of thread tape for your task; they’re not all alike! For instance, thicker tape is often needed for gas connections instead of water lines.

Excessive Use of Drain Cleaners

Using too much drain cleaner harms your pipes. These powerful chemicals can eat away at metal traps and rubber gaskets. This damage may cause leaks that are expensive to fix. Drain cleaners should be a last resort, not your go-to fix for clogs.

Be careful with chemical drain cleaners. They offer a quick solution but using them often can lead to bigger problems down the road. Try using a plunger or a barbed drain cleaning tool instead.

These tools don’t damage your plumbing and are safer for repeated use.

Lack of Spare Parts During Plumbing Jobs

Running out of spare parts during plumbing can bring your project to an unexpected stop. Always have extra stem seals, gaskets, and O-rings ready. These small parts are crucial for replacing washers or cartridges effectively.

Without them, you might find yourself rushing to the shop in the middle of the job.

Make sure all needed tools and supplies are gathered before beginning any work. This preparation stops you from damaging pipes or hardware. It also helps keep your focus on the task instead of worrying about missing pieces.

After securing spare parts, it’s important to remember to turn off the water before starting any repairs.

Not Turning Off the Water

Always turn off the water before starting any plumbing work. This stops floods and saves money on fixes. The main water supply valve is your best friend in this situation.

Ignoring to shut off the tap can unleash a wave of problems. Floods damage homes and lead to higher repair costs. After closing the valve, open nearby taps to drain remaining water from pipes.

Next, be careful not to apply too much force on stuck valves.

Applying Excessive Force on Stuck Shut Off Valves

Be gentle with shut off valves that don’t want to move. Forcing them can break the valve, leading to a bigger problem than just a stuck valve. Try using internal pipe wrenches if you need more grip without the risk of breaking something.

If a valve really won’t budge, there may be another way to fix it without brute force. You could use penetrating oil and give it time to work, or lightly tap the valve with a hammer to loosen it up.

Never try to solve this by pushing harder; you might end up needing costly repairs.

Sweating Copper Pipes With Water in the Line

Sweating copper pipes means soldering them to join together. If there’s water in the line, it can turn into steam. This steam creates pressure and can cause leaks when you’re trying to sweat the pipe.

Stop this problem by making sure the pipes are dry before starting.

You might use white bread or special plugs to help keep the line dry while sweating copper pipes. Push a small piece of white bread into the pipe ends. It will absorb any moisture left inside.

The heat from soldering will later turn the bread into crumbs that get flushed away easily without clogging. Always remember, after using this trick, run lots of hot water through the system to clear out all residue before using it normally again.

Using Incorrect Plumbing Tools

When tackling plumbing tasks, the right tools are pivotal for success. Using incorrect plumbing tools can lead to frustration and potential damage. For example, using an adjustable spanner instead of a basin spanner to tighten nuts on taps may cause scratches or even slip off due to its larger size and non-grip jaws.

Hence, it’s crucial to utilise appropriate tools like pipe cutters for cutting pipes and a pipe wrench for securing pipes without causing undue harm.

Another common misstep is utilising pliers instead of a proper tubing cutter when working with copper tubes, leading to uneven cuts that compromise the connection quality. Proper tools not only ensure better results but also help maintain the integrity of your plumbing system over time.

Mixing up Wyes, Tees and Elbows

Using the correct plumbing fittings is crucial to avoid leaks and maintain efficient water flow. Wyes, tees, and elbows are distinct in their functions. A wye allows for horizontal drainage branches, while a tee creates a perpendicular junction.

Elbows change the direction of the pipe, ensuring smooth water passage without blockages or interruptions. Misidentifying these fittings can result in improper water distribution and drainage, potentially leading to system malfunctions or even damage.

It’s essential to understand the differences between wyes, tees, and elbows when planning plumbing installations as each serves a specific purpose. Incorrect usage may lead to reduced efficiency and potential system failures which could be costly to rectify later on during maintenance or repairs.

Improper Installation of a Saddle Valve for Ice Makers or Humidifiers

Improperly installing a saddle valve for ice makers or humidifiers can cause leaks and costly damages. It’s crucial to use a ball valve instead of a saddle valve for these appliances to avoid potential issues.

Saddle valves are prone to failure and may not provide adequate water flow, leading to problems with the appliance’s performance.

When improperly installed, saddle valves can gradually lose their grip on pipes, resulting in slow leaks that are hard to detect until significant damage has occurred. Moreover, the piercing needle used by saddle valves can contribute to mineral build-up and blockages over time.

Tips for Better Plumbing in Your Bathroom

  1. Use a low – flow shower head to conserve water and reduce your utility bills.
  2. Install a water softener to prevent mineral build – up in your pipes and extend the lifespan of your fixtures.
  3. Insulate exposed pipes to prevent freezing during cold weather, avoiding potential bursting and costly repairs.
  4. Check for leaks in taps, showers, and toilets regularly to save water and avoid water damage.
  5. Regularly clean out the p – trap under sinks to prevent clogs and odours from developing.
  6. Consider replacing old flapper valves in toilets with newer models to improve water efficiency.
  7. Use drain screens in sinks and showers to catch hair and debris, preventing clogs in your pipes.
  8. Invest in a programmable thermostat for your water heater to save energy and maintain consistent hot water availability.
  9. Keep an eye on the water pressure regulator to ensure it is functioning correctly, preventing damage to your plumbing system over time.
  10. Familiarise yourself with the location of the main shut – off valve for emergency situations such as burst pipes or leaks.



In conclusion, being mindful of common plumbing errors can save time and money. Proper techniques such as avoiding overtightening connections and using the correct thread tape are essential.

Always remember to turn off the water before starting any plumbing project. Knowing when to call a professional is just as crucial in preventing costly mistakes. Keep these tips in mind for better and trouble-free plumbing experiences.

For more helpful insights, ensure to read our guide on tips for better plumbing in your bathroom.


1. What plumbing mistakes should I watch out for with pipes?

Be sure not to mix up different types of pipes like PVC and PEX tubing, or use a sanitary tee incorrectly. These errors can cause leaks or blockages in your drains and pipes.

2. Why is it important to choose the right cleaning products for my plumbing?

Selecting proper cleaning products is crucial because some substances may damage materials such as polyvinyl chloride (PVC) pipe, leading to costly repairs.

3. How do I prevent hard water from harming my water heaters?

To protect heating elements inside your hot water heater from hard water build-up, regularly flush out the tank and check the anode rod to extend its life.

4. Can using tools like plumbing snakes be tricky?

Yes, if you’re not careful with tools like plumbing snakes, you might puncture a pipe or not effectively remove a clog. Always follow instructions precisely when dealing with blocked drains.

5. How can I stop unpleasant sewer gas in my bathroom?

Ensure there’s enough water in all toilet traps since they block sewer gas from entering your home through toilets and showerheads; fixing any siphon issues also helps keep the air fresh.

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