9 Common Plumbing Mistakes You Must Avoid

By: John Garcia | Date Posted: July 21, 2022

Plumbing for new homeowners is more stressful than for others, thanks to the immense pressure of moving. Clogged pipes or broken appliances can cause sudden accidents that can leave your bathroom flooding. New homes require proper inspections to find out problems that may become major concerns later.

Keep reading below if you want to find out the nine common plumbing mistakes that you should absolutely avoid!

Basics of Plumbing

When to Call a HVAC vs. Plumbing Tech 1

Before starting your plumbing project, you should know what constitutes a plumber’s job. You need to focus on three major areas where plumbing work is generally required. For instance, in your bathroom, kitchen, and outdoor water and drainage systems.

Heating and cooling systems, waste removal, and water delivery systems may also require plumbing work. Your fixtures and fittings should be done according to the National Plumbing Codes. The building or community you are living in may also have its own set of codes that should be followed.

In the end, plumbing works in a home are connected to the health and sanitation issues of an entire community. So you should be careful about the fixes and be prepared to undergo inspections.

Mistakes You Should Avoid

Below is the list of the most common plumbing mistakes that you should and can easily avoid:

Not Having the Right Fittings

Replacement of Kitec plumbing fixtures in apartment buildings

Not having the right fittings can be the biggest mistake while fixing your new home’s plumbing. The right fittings for pipes and water heaters can make the repairs last longer.

Similarly, having the wrong fittings can damage your appliances and water lines. You should use the proper bolts, tapes, sealants, glues, and pipes to prevent leaks and damage to your appliances.

Correct materials should be used for pipes, valves, and fixtures. Use stainless steel, copper, or PVC where required. You can also use standard or extra heavy fittings according to your plumber’s advice.

Correct measurements for fixing pumps, gauges, meters, heat exchangers, filters, and control systems should be correct. The distance between the fittings and the materials will have to comply with the plumbing codes. The fixtures should not be too tight or too loose.

Using the Wrong Appliances

You should use proper appliances to get good results out of your plumbing. For example, you can use water softeners to reduce hard water problems.

Water softeners can filter heavy metals from water and can keep your pipes and other appliances from damage or clogs.

Water heaters can be used to regulate the temperature of the water. Furthermore, you can replace the anode rods in your water heaters to reduce the bad smell of water. There are different anode rod types in the market, so take professional advice on which one you should get.

UV water sterilization can be used to sterilize your water supplies. Backflow preventers are used to stop contamination that can spread due to the backflow of water to the source. Make sure you are setting up the right appliances that are suited to your needs.

Avoiding Professional Help

While working on the plumbing of the house, you should always consider the help of a professional plumber. Professional plumbers can help you with tricky fixes with expert insight.

Sometimes there may be leaks or running water in the bathroom that may seem like small problems but require professional help. Not calling a plumber may make these problems bigger if you accidentally damage water or drainage lines while fixing them yourself.

Plumbers have a keen eye and can also advise you on potential fixes. You can also get to know about the proper cleaning materials and maintenance of your plumbing system.

Forgetting to Shut Down Water Lines

Forgetting to Shut Down Water Lines

It may seem obvious, but many first-time homeowners may not realize the simple fact that water lines should be shut down before starting a plumbing job.

If it is not possible to shut down the main water line, then you should at least close off the water valve of the place you will be working. Otherwise, you may risk serious water damage to your home.

The valves can usually be found under the sink or connected to the toilet or appliance. There may be different valves for hot and cold water. So make sure you turn off the correct one. There are always at least two main water valves. One inside your house and one outside. You can shut down the main water line by using any one of these.

Not Getting a Sewerage Inspection

Sewerage inspections that are done before buying a home only check the visible fixtures. These inspections usually only check the house’s pipes, fittings, and fixtures. The initial inspections done by the real estate companies may not be very extensive because these don’t inspect the wider sewerage system.

For a thorough checkup of your sewerage lines, pipes, and underground connections, a second inspection using a sewerage camera is always necessary.

Not having a second sewerage inspection after the initial inspection can be a mistake most new homeowners make. A sewerage inspection can give you a heads-up about the kind of problems you may face in the future. You will also know the kinds of appliances you will need to treat the problems.

Rushing the Job

As a new homeowner, you may rush through the plumbing repairs because you may be under too much pressure. But you should still make plans and be cautious about seemingly simple things.

Using the wrong tools or cleaning materials can cause damage or may even be the cause of water-borne diseases. Liquid drain cleaners may not always clean the clogs and can cause more damage if it doesn’t clear up by themselves.

Water valves should always be closed before plumbing, and the pipes should be drained. You can know if a valve is open or closed by looking at it. Open valves have handles lying parallel, and closed ones have handles lying perpendicular.

Make sure the pipes and fittings are set at a slope of 1/4th inch per foot as required by plumbing codes.

Delaying Fixes

As a new homeowner, most plumbing appliances of your home should be working properly. For instance, there should not be any leaks or water dripping from the faucets. A toilet with running water or small leaks from kitchen pipes is a major red flag and should be treated as such.

An always-running toilet may create water damage within the walls, can burst a pipe, or flood the entire washroom. Dripping faucets or kitchen pipes also carry risks of flooding.

Delaying these small fixes can result in greater damage, and an extensive repair job may be required later, resulting in higher expenses. So, it is better to have regular plumbing work done.

Not Adhering to National and Local Plumbing Codes

Plumbing jobs need to be done following national and local codes. For instance, the national plumbing codes in the USA require that plumbing pipes and fixtures be lead-free and conform to the Safe Drinking Water Act.

You must follow these codes to pass a health and sanitation inspection.

  • Notable codes on plumbing require that you never put the fixtures too close to each other.
  • The pipes and fittings should be of the right sizes.
  • Make sure that the valves are fitted, taking water pressure into account.
  • It is important that the plumbing job does not cause the weakening of the structure of a house.
  • Use primers to seal PVC pipes, so they don’t leak.

These are the basic codes that you should follow. There are local and building codes as well. Make sure your new home’s plumbing system adheres to all of these.

Avoid Rookie Mistakes

The devil is in the details regarding plumbing, and it is very easy to commit rookie mistakes. So you should always do your research first.

Make sure you know about all the fittings, the right sizes, and what goes where. You should know about the right glues, tapes, and primers that you can use.

Fittings should not be too tight. Teflon tapes should be turned clockwise, so it doesn’t unwind while screwing later. Liquid chemical drainers should not be used in a heavily clogged drain. Use a wrench to loosen the stem nut of a tight valve.

Use proper tools such as strap wrench, extendable basin wrench, or tubing cutters. Owning these will make fixing small plumbing problems easy.

Always have spare washers, nuts, and bolts in case you need to change any fitting that seems to have the wrong measurements.


You may forget some necessary things about plumbing under all the stress. It is better to make a list of everything that should be taken care of. Research is unavoidable before starting a plumbing job. If work seems tricky, then call for professional help before meddling yourself.

Hope this article has enlightened you on the most common plumbing problem that you may face as a new homeowner! Keep them in mind and put them into action whenever you need to! Best of luck!

Thank you for reading!


John is the founder and chief editor of Homienjoy. With over 15 years of experience in the home improvement industry, John is passionate about helping homeowners confidently tackle their projects. Holding a civil engineering degree and working as a contractor, project manager, and consultant, John brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to the Homienjoy community.

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