Ever since the invention of plastic pipe the number of people who think they are plumbers has swelled to include a lot of people who can barely spell plumber. This article will introduce some valuable tips for plumbing to help the weekend craftsman do a better job. Whether a person is an experienced pipefitter or a first timer these tips can help the job go quicker or yield better results.
The first and most important tip is to know your limitations. Do not start a plumbing career by tackling a major project such as a new home construction. The possibilities for catastrophe increase exponentially with the lack of experience a plumber has. Start small for the first project and work up to the larger projects as the skill level increases. Find a couple of professionals who are willing to share some basic information and soak up everything they will divulge. There is a lot more to plumbing than “… Hot is on the left”.
Larger plumbing projects often involve local permits and require adherence to certain codes. If a weekend plumber fails to meet the requirements, the consequences could be catastrophic. An amateur might be required to rip out all the work and do it again; paying a fine or paying a real plumber to make corrections before a home can be sold. A good tip is: “If you don’t know, ask”. Someone knows and most people like to show off by sharing what they know that you don’t.
Another good tip is not to scrimp on materials. Buy materials from a hardware store and not at the local discount department store. Hardware stores have bins of components that can be purchased in small numbers for the same basic price as the discount store parts. The department store will have two elbows or a couple of couplings in a nice package. The buyer is paying for the packaging and extra handling.
To keep the price low, the quality of the prepackaged components is questionable at best.
On the subject of materials there is another tip. Use the correct stuff. Granted any piece of plastic pipe will carry water. The problem comes when the pipe (or glue) is not rated for the water pressure or the temperature. Know and understand the ratings for the materials and parts used and make sure they are adequate for the task. If the incorrect materials are used for a critical project, it is a sure bet the project will fail at the most inopportune moment.
Another important tip for plumbing is: Plan your work. Take some time before starting a project to know where, when and how the project will be completed. Make a list of materials before going to hardware store. Carpenters do not start building a home without some kind of plan so plumbers should not either. Sometimes taking the time to plan a project will help the weekend craftsman realize the true scope of a project. He can then ask for advice or even hire the job done rather than make a mess of it alone.
A final tip is: allow enough time. Do not start remodeling the only bathroom in the home on Sunday afternoon when you have to work the next day. Make arrangements for a temporary restroom and allow the whole weekend for the project. Use one weekend for planning and procuring materials so that everything needed is on hand when the project is started. Nothing wastes time any more than three or four trips to the store to buy parts, glue or that special adapter fitting needed to make the whole project work.
Recapping: Know your limitations – don’t jump in over your head the first thing. Buy good quality materials – cheap stuff equals a cheap job. Plan ahead – know what your plan is and how the job will be completed. Allow plenty of time – the plan may be to get the job done in a couple hours but chances are it will take a whole day or even the entire weekend.