How to approach your plumbing like a pro

DIY can be a lot of fun. But there's a world of difference between stripping wallpaper and flooding the ground floor. So if you're determined to tackle a plumbing problem yourself, the least you can do is find out where you might be going wrong. We've partnered with blogger Jenny from Let's Talk Mommy to bring you some advice on preventing some of the most common DIY plumbing mistakes – the kind of mistakes that a Dyno professional could help you avoid.

Don't rush in

A professional plumber always starts with a proper understanding of what they're getting into. It can be tempting to dive right in, but unless you already know what you're doing, the best way to start any job is with some research. There are plenty of decent guides and video tutorials online that can give you an idea of what to expect – and lots of really good ones in our Help and Advice section – and taking a few minutes to read or watch them could save you hours of stress and hundreds of pounds later on.

Do switch off the water supply

You wouldn't open the bonnet of your car with the engine still running. So don't make the same mistake with your pipes. It might sound obvious when you read it, but it's an easy thing to overlook when you're eager to get into some DIY. Before you start fiddling with anything else, you'll need to find and close the stopcock to temporarily cut your home off from the water supply. This is usually found on the ground floor of your home, under the kitchen sink. If you want to see exactly how it's done, take a look at our video on how to turn off your stopcock. If you can't find a stopcock inside, you can try to find one outside, which is usually found under a square cover. It could be at the end of your drive, or near the public pavement. If the outdoor stopcock is broken, you'll need to get in touch with your local water supply company.

Don't rely on harsh chemicals

Plastic pipes can quickly get eaten away, and even metal pipes can take a lot of damage over time, especially if the blockage hasn't cleared and the chemical stays sitting on top of it. Even worse, drain cleaner can sit in toilet bowls for much longer than you might think, and some of them heat up, which can crack the porcelain. Instead, stick to less harmful methods, such as the careful use of a plunger or some baking soda and vinegar. You can see detailed guidance in our videos that show you how to unblock a sink and how to deal with a blocked toilet.

Do use the right materials for the job

You might think that any watertight material is good enough for your plumbing. Unfortunately, things aren't always so simple. Some types of piping won't work well with hot water, and some pairs of materials are incompatible, reacting with each other to cause corrosion. So before you try to re-use old parts or replace damaged pipes with your own makeshift ones, do a little research to help you make the right choice for the job.

Don't be afraid to get help

Unfortunately, some plumbing jobs simply go beyond the limits of DIY attempts. If you're struggling to fix the problem, or you just don't want to risk a flood, it's never a bad idea to call on professional help.

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