DIY Plumbing Projects Without the Mess: Tips for Plumbing Like a Pro

plumbing projects DIY

New to plumbing projects? Shhhh… nobody needs to know. Follow these plumbing tips and everyone will think you’re a pro.

Never connect galvanic steel directly to copper.

Copper to steel can be a problematic connection, resulting in corrosion sooner than later. Be sure to always use a dielectric union when you need to connect copper pipe to galvanized steel. The fitting separates the copper from the steel through use of a steel collar on the steel side and a copper collar on the copper side and isolation bushings in between.

Learn how to use thread tape right.

You’ve probably heard about plumbing adhesive called dope, but really tape is easier for those new to plumbing to use. Tape is as reliable for sealing pipe threads as dope, and it won't get all over your hands and tools or ruin your carpet. Keep the following in mind:

  • Cheap tape works as well as the expensive tape, but the thicker tape is easier to handle and tears more neatly.
  • Only use tape on pipe threads. You will need to graduate to dope if you have to seal compression or other connections.
  • Wrap the tape around the pipe threads three times. No more, no less.
  • It matters which way you wrap. Wrap tape clockwise around the threads so it won’t unwind as you screw the joint back together.

Learn what can be reused and what to replace.

Some plumbing parts can be recycled, but some will cause you more trouble than the saving are worth if you try to reuse them. For example, when replacing a toilet or a faucet, you might think you can reuse the old flexible supply lines but you really shouldn’t. Plastic breaks down as time passes, and supply lines are notorious for cracking. Even a tiny leak can cause costly water damage. Always replace supply lines.

However, you may be able to reuse a toilet ball and flapper, or a toilet handle. After all, if these things break, they can easily be fixed and won’t cause any serious water damage. Always ask yourself (before reusing a part): what’s the worst that could happen if it breaks down? If the answer is water damage, don’t take the risk.

Use caulk instead of plumber’s putty.

The name “plumber’s putty” is deceiving, especially seeing as most of us don’t use it. We know plumber’s putty can damage certain plastics and can cause stains on some surfaces like natural stone. Putty has a tendency to dry and crack, too, which can lead to leaks. Chose silicone caulk; it’s a safer and longer-lasting sealant.

Need a Plumber in the Charlotte Area?

We hope these tips helped you tackle some DIY projects, but if you’ve come across something that's out of your scope, we’re here to fix it for you. Just give us a call at 704-846-5371 and let us know what plumbing project you want a hand with. We look forward to working with you!

plumbing projects DIY

Article Summary

Quick question & answer: What are the best tips for plumbing like a pro?

There are several tips that will help you plumb like a pro. Never connect galvanic steel directly to copper. Learn how to use thread tape right. Learn what can be reused and what to replace. Use caulk instead of plumber’s putty.

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