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Father Fails: Plumbing Tips 101


Fathers are often the protectors of the household and the ones who are expected to fix problems around the house - c’mon, isn’t that the whole point of gifting dad wrenches, chainsaws, and ladders for Father’s Day?

While we might remember our Dad’s or our husband’s well-meaning attempts to fix things as precious as your plumbing system, some of his plumbing “fixes” might have actually caused more problems in the long-run. If you want to gift dad some helpful tips this Father’s Day, read on to learn the most challenging plumbing fixes that may be better left with the pros.

Installing a Toilet Isn’t Easy

personalinjuriesDid the dad in your life ever try to install a toilet? Installing a toilet deals with one of the most reviled but necessary inventions of modern times. Just think--one wrong move holds the promise of germs or worse, utter grossness.

Did you know that when you remove the toilet you need to put a rag in the drain opening, and remember to take it off before putting on the new toilet? The reason for doing this is to stop all the toxic fumes from coming out of the sewer.

Sewer fumes can contain methane, which is explosive, and hydrogen sulfide, which can be lethal if inhaled in large amounts. Installing a new toilet requires taking off the old wax ring and adding a new one...this wax ring helps prevent fumes and water leaks from coming out when the new toilet is installed.

Some of these water leaks are subtle and won’t be obvious until they’ve damaged your home. And when finishing installation, if you tighten the nuts too tightly it can crack the porcelain! Toilet installation is one of those jobs better left to the pros to reduce the chances of things going wrong.

Duct Tape Shouldn’t Fix Leaks

pipeducttapeIf you happen to find a leak in one of the water pipes in the house, it might be tempting to fix it with duct tape. Duct tape fixes everything, right? No!

Although it can help fix a tiny hole after you turn off the water supply and wait to find an electrician, it isn’t a good long-term option. If you decide to spite professional opinions and use a ton of duct tape to fix a leak, it’s only a matter of time before the leak gets worse or silently causes worse problems, like mold.

Also, handling the pipe too much is risky--the pipe might be on the verge of collapsing and handling it could cause it to break, making your nightmare worse.

Step Away from the Snake!

snakedrainingAnother area where dad might have taken unnecessary risks is drain cleaning. It might be tempting to save money and rent a snake to clean the toilet, but in the wrong hands, a snake is a dangerous tool.

Using a snake with too much force or using it improperly can cause pipes to crack or even break completely. A metal plumbing snake can scratch the toilet’s porcelain and lead to rusting.

There’s also a risk of personal injury: a snake can recoil on you or a powered snake can quickly become a risk if you don’t know what you’re doing. Finally, using a snake can make the problem worse, especially if you miss parts of the blockage or if your pipes are corroding. If you scrape metal off the pipes by misusing the snake, it will add to the blockage.

This Father’s Day, be thankful for all the things he did to help around the house and his noble attempts to fix everything from roofing to plumbing. His heart was in the right place, but if any plumbing issues that he fixed went wrong, then you know why it’s important to hire professionals. That’s another valuable lesson dads teach: learn from the past to copy what’s good and don’t make all the same mistakes he did.