Common Plumbing & Electrical DIY Mistakes

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Common Plumbing & Electrical DIY Mistakes

There are plenty of things you can do at home to protect your plumbing and electrical system, but there are also plenty of mistakes you might make that could drastically impact your entire home's functionality.

In the worst-case scenarios, these plumbing and electrical failures could lead to major breakdowns and expensive damages. Read on to discover six of the most common plumbing and electrical mistakes so that you can avoid making them in your own home.

1 - Not Installing a GFCI Outlet

A ground-fault occurs when there is a break in the low-resistance grounding path from a tool or electrical system. The electrical current may then take an alternative path to the ground through the user, resulting in serious injuries or death. The ground-fault circuit interrupter, or GFCI, is a fast-acting circuit breaker designed to shut off electric power in the event of a ground-fault within as little as 1/40 of a second. It works by comparing the amount of current going to and returning from equipment along the circuit conductors. When the amount going differs from the amount returning by approximately 5 milliamperes, the GFCI interrupts the current.

The GFCI is rated to trip quickly enough to prevent an electrical incident. If it is properly installed and maintained, this will happen as soon as the faulty tool is plugged in. If the grounding conductor is not intact or of low-impedance, the GFCI may not trip until a person provides a path. In this case, the person will receive a shock, but the GFCI should trip so quickly that the shock will not be harmful.

2 - Using Chemical Drain Cleaners

While they can be a fast way to unclog a sink, liquid drain cleaners contain numerous harsh chemicals that erode your pipes, making them more likely to leak. The best way to unclog a sink or drain is to use a snake tool or remove the P-trap pipe and manually remove the clog.

When in doubt, calling a plumber is the best choice. Professionals can quickly unclog a drain for a low price.

3 - Not Using a Junction Box

Electrical junction boxes house wires or cables to protect homes against sudden sparking, electrical fires, and shock. Junction boxes are made of steel, plastic or another solid, hard material, and they are already included in most homes, but not all.

You should never have exposed wires or new connections made in your home outside of the junction box.

4 - Leaving the Water Valve On

If you ever need to unclog your toilet or install a new faucet, turning the water off by the handle isn't enough. You should turn the main water valve off whenever you are working on your home's plumbing to prevent sudden flooding or leaks.

5 - Cutting Wires Too Short

Whenever you're installing new wires into a junction box, leave at least 3 inches of cable visible. Shorter wires increase the risk of shock and malfunction. Electrical work is not meant to be left to amateurs and YouTube tutorials. While there are many great resources available online, you should always consult with a professional for any new installations or repairs.

6 - Over Tightening Connections

Tightening a pipe too much can cause it to crack, leading to subtle leaks that contribute to water damage and mold growth. You may not have any leaks initially, but a cracked fitting on a pipe weakens the entire structure, making it more likely to burst and cause a flood.

Plumbing & Electrical Service in Virginia Beach

For all of your Virginia Beach plumbing and electrical needs, contact American Mechanical today. We offer 24-hour emergency plumbing and electrical repairs as well as new installations and routine fixes. Reach us directly at (757) 347-8549.