If you are someone who likes the do-it-yourself approach, then your first instinct when something goes wrong with your plumbing is probably to fix the problem yourself. This isn't always a bad idea, but there are some common DIY plumbing approaches that can cause more problems than they solve. Here are some of those "bad" DIY ideas — and better alternatives.
Putting Drain Cleaner Down the Toilet
The bottle says "drain cleaner," so it makes sense to use this product to clear a blocked toilet right? Wrong. General drain cleaner is not strong enough to break through many toilet clogs. So, it just sits in the toilet causing damage to the bowl. Or, it splashes all over when you flush, which can lead to caustic burns.
To deal with a clogged toilet, reach for the plunger. If plunging your toilet doesn't get things moving, you need to call a plumber. They will use a plumbing snake or an auger to clear the clogging material and get things moving again.
Putting Plumber's Tape or Putty Over a Leak
If you find a leak in a pipe, it can be tempting to put plumber's tape, plumber's putty, or even both materials over the leak. This might fix the problem for a day or two, but these materials are not really made to be permanent leak fixers. You really do need to call a plumber to fix a leak. They can cut the damaged pipe and put a new, non-leaky section in. This is a much longer-lasting, sturdier fix than trying to put a bandaid on the hole.
Putting a Brick In Your Toilet Tank
Do you have an old toilet that uses a lot more water than you'd like? A quick fix is to put a brick in the toilet tank. This takes up space so the tank doesn't fill up with as much water. Sadly, though, this can lead to poor flushing and can also damage the components inside the toilet tank. A better option is to have your plumber replace your old toilet with a new, water-saving model. They are not as expensive as you might assume, and they use even less water than an old toilet with a brick in it.
Not all DIY plumbing projects are good ideas. If you run into a plumbing issue such as a little leak or stubborn clog, call a local plumbing service.