The first thing to keep in mind when executing home-sized projects is to take care not to damage anything more than necessary. This seems like an obvious piece of advice, akin to telling a boxer about to step in the ring not to get punched, but it’s frequently neglected and often the reason DIY-ers have to call plumbers to fix their mistakes. Even if it takes more time than you’d expected to handle all your pipes, tools, and other equipment Cutting or unscrewing old pipes is something you have to be very careful with, since they’re typically more fragile than newer ones, and might have some internal features you’re not aware of (corrosion or adhesions you didn’t expect to find, for instance).
In order to ensure you’re gentle with your plumbing, we’ve developed a few general tips to keep in mind. First, if you need to unscrew a pipe, use two wrenches, one to keep the fitting in place, and the other to operate on the pipe. Use one at a time, but keep the other around for stabilization. Some plumbers heat fittings with torches to make things a little easier for them. If you choose to do this, make sure you keep a fire extinguisher around, just in case, and be sure to ensure the surrounding area is free of wood or flammable solvents.
Larger plumbing projects involve water and drain lines. Most professionals start with installation of the latter, since they’re bigger and more stationary. It’s important to pay attention to local regulations, however; they’re typically in place to ensure functionality, so even if they don’t make complete sense to you at first, it’s a good idea to follow them. They lead to functional plumbing and well-built houses, so just stick with them. Many of these larger projects are inaccessible to amateur plumbers, though. This is why turning to plumbing NYC services might be a good idea.
Many plumbing NYC specialists take much of their knowledge for granted. For instance, any professional would install waste and vent pipes along slopes with a negative gradient. This is because sewage naturally flows downhill, and it would be silly to install an unnecessary pump system to fight gravity. However, many amateurs don’t think about this, and many of the professionals they consult fail to bring this up because they forget it actually needs to be instructed. The minimum grade is usually ¼ inch of drop for every foot of run, but the steeper the slope the more efficient the passive transport.
Another set of knowledge plumbing NYC experts would have is the required thickness of certain pipes. Toilets take 3” – 4” waste pipes and at least a 2” vent pipe, and showers, sinks, and washers take 2” waste pipes and 1.5” vent pipes. It can be easy to forget these things in the heat of installation, so make sure to remember them.
The age of the home you’re working on is also a significant factor in determining how to work. Old homes usually have smaller pipes than newer ones (toilet pipes are an exception), so they stop up more frequently. A natural answer to this problem would be to replace the pipes with larger ones, but this isn’t always legal or functional. It usually is, but consulting a plumbing NYC expert is a good way to ensure you know if it’s game. Another thing to be careful about is the pipe itself. Some older pipes are made of lead, which can obviously be toxic if ingested. Now, we know you aren’t going to go chewing on an old pipe (or a new one, for that matter), but heating the pipe can result in inhalation of toxic vapors, and even moving it could lead to the aerosolization of lead dust that you can then breathe in. It’s good to know what you’re working with, and wear a mask no matter what.
Things to Keep in Mind
There are a few things every plumber should know when he or she gets to work.
- Plan Strong
- The reason many plumbing projects go wrong is because they weren’t planned the right way. It’s important to survey the pipes you plan to replace or modify, an it’s important to keep an eye to the future to ensure your installations will be maintenance and repair-friendly. Make sure to take your measurements carefully, and to measure twice, at least – you don’t want to install pipes that are the wrong size, or buy the wrong size, and realize later that you needed smaller or bigger vents.
- Be Aware of the Type of the Pipe
- Pipes come in a wide variety of shapes, sizes, and materials, and choosing the right one is a crucially important decision every plumber must make prior to installing or repairing anything. There are pipes made of PVC, brass, bronze, copper, PEX, and iron, and all serve different purposes. Do your research to figure out which are applied in what contexts, and consult a plumbing NYC expert if you have any doubts.
- Keep Water Down
- It’s important to only use as much water as you need. Installing a plumbing system the right way helps a lot with this. Efficient transfer of water from source to sink in each individual sector of your plumbing is a prerequisite to a generally efficient drainage system. You can also choose certain sinks and toilets for their high efficiency ratings, something you should probably do if you want to make the most of your water supply.
- Close Valves
- Before you get to work, make sure all the valves related to anything you’re operating on are closed. This means you should turn everything off and use the wrench to manually and completely close anything that could interfere with what you’re doing. It’s useful to have a set of the plans for the structure you’re repairing. This way, you know what to close.
- Install Vents
- Many people seem to think that vents aren’t necessary aspects of plumbing, but they’re included in building code for a reason. Choosing not to install them to save a little bit of money will be very expensive in the long run, and so is definitely not worth it. Vents serve a number of purposes, but the most important are its regulation of water speed and ability to keep water in water traps, which keeps your home smelling the way you want it to – not like sewage.