While being your own plumber may not fit the definition of glamorous, having the skills of a well-versed handyman can be very useful, especially in cases of emergency. Homeowners and business owners alike can find great benefits in being their own go-getter. No area is off limits, and that includes self-inspecting your commercial plumbing.
The “do-it-yourself” option has become an increasingly popular choice among those looking to save money or simply wanting to gain the experience. The good news is the internet is loaded with tutorials and informational sites to guide you through the process, without the risk of creating damage. To get you started, here are a few helpful tips when preparing to check your pipes.
Understand Your Plumbing
Have you ever driven a car that wasn’t yours? Even if it’s the same brand as the one you own, the make and model might be slightly different. The same can be said for plumbing. Residential and commercial piping vary depending on their application and location of installation. Stainless steel, copper, PVC, and other styles of piping all have their own degrees of usage and effectiveness, making their potential problems unique as well.
If you’ve had a building or home inspection, you should already be aware of the type of piping built in and if there were previous concerns that needed attention. Doing routine checks are important, and even professional plumbers recommend an inspection every two years. In some cases, frequent checks are necessary if you live in an older home or if your property has mature trees, since the roots can push through underground piping.
Know What Problems to Look For
Just because you can’t see the plumbing, doesn’t mean a problem couldn’t exist under the surface. It’s a large reason why an initial inspection is done when someone buys a new home; this ensures that no issues which could cause continuing damage go left unchecked. This circles back to all the research you’ve done thus far.
It’s important to know the actions or telltale signs of faulty or old plumbing. Finding leaks or signs of corrosion are a good indication your pipes may need replacing. Don’t forget to check all faucets and sinks, and flush every toilet to look for drips or evidence of clogging. Another vital item to inspect is the water heater. Depending on how excessively it has been used, or if there is rust or corrosion, the lifespan of the heater could be reached and a new one should be installed.
Have the Proper Tools
No self-respecting plumber does any job without his tool kit, so why would you? While you won’t need the most expensive tools or complex gadgets, any local hardware store should carry the bare essentials for minor repairs.
A pipe wrench, screwdriver, faucet packing, and washers will help loosen or tighten fixtures and manage leaks. Investing in a quality sink snake is another handy tool that will allow you to break up a clog in your drain, so the materials are easier to scoop or flush out. Make sure you’re dressed for the part too. It’s more than likely you’ll get a little wet and dirty, so wear clothes you won’t mind messing up a bit.
Research Different Tutorials
Whether you want a simple step-by-step instructional video, or just an article explaining the plumbing basics, any questions you have can be answered on the internet. YouTube is the obvious choice for all things video and allows you to be as specific as you want when searching for tutorials. Plumbing websites are another valuable resource as they usually contain a blog page with useful tips and how-to’s for the plumbing novice or expert. And even if you’re looking for highly-detailed instructions or breakdowns, there are plenty of magazines, study guides, and PDFs available for download with a quick Google search.
Thanks to modern technology, anybody can be their own mini-professional with the right knowledge and tools! Not only do you save time and money, but you can be sure you are prepared for any issues that may suddenly affect your plumbing and require immediate attention. Professionals are necessary on occasion, but there is a lot of power that comes from counting on yourself!