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Avoid These Common Plumbing Mistakes

I've seen these same mistakes made over and over. The solution for every one is simple. Let me show you. Julio

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Examples of arrestors in piping | Construction Pro Tips
Construction Pro Tips

Not installing water hammer arrestors

Before these nifty devices appeared, some plumbers installed a tee with an 18-in. section of pipe that would be filled with air uponfilling of the system and cushion any hammering inside the pipes. But these pipes would eventually fill up with water and become useless. To prevent knocking in the pipes, its highly recommended to install dedicated arrestors like these. These are most commonly installed near fast valve closing appliances, such as a toilet or washing machine.

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Image of a re-used hose that is frayed and decaying | Construction Pro Tips
Construction Pro Tips

Reusing flexiblehoses

Speedways, otherwise known as flexible hoses, are one of your homes weakestlink in terms of plumbing. These flexible hoses are made of rubber and have astainless-steeljacket to protect the core from anything that could damage them such as animals and so on. Thesehosesshould be replaced soonevery five years or so.Always replace them when fixing or replacing fixtures.

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Spool of solder that is lead free | Construction Pro Tips
Construction Pro Tips

Lead solder on a potable water pipes

Many homes built before the 1980s used lead solder to join copper pipes together. Modern building codes ban lead solder for potable water systems. Lead has been replaced with 95/5 mix of tin and antimony. Lead solder is still availablehowever, so always check before to make sure you are using the correct one.

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Diagram and image of a knife scraping the inside of a pipe | Construction Pro Tips
Construction Pro Tips

Not deburring the inside of pipes

When a pipe is cut, a burr is formed which reduces the pipes inner diameter and causes turbulence. Turbulence can negatively affect water pressureand can actually prematurely wear away the walls of a pipe. To resolve this issue, always deburr your pipes. You can use a round file, a utility knife or a dedicated reaming tool.

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Fluxuator | Construction Pro Tips
Construction Pro Tips

Dirty pipes and contaminated flux

When soldering, cleanliness is crucial tocreatinga leak free joint. Copper pipe and fittings oxidize when exposed to the air and need to be properly cleaned beforesoldering. You could use a fitting brush,orabrasive paper or cloth. To speed up the process, I cut the handle off the end of a fitting brush and use it in my drill. Also, make sure the flux youre using is clean and free of debris.I use this flux dispenserbecause itdoes a great job of keep the fluxfree of contaminants.

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Construction Pro Tips

Notenough support

Notsupportingpipesadequately can cause joints tofailand lead to expensivewater damagerepairs. To make sure this doesnt happen, always add ahangar at leastevery 6feetwhen working with-in.and -in.copper.

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Construction Pro Tips

Wrong dope/tape order

Theres a lot of controversy on whether you should put your pipe dope on first or after applying your Teflon tape. The answer is simple: tape first then dope.If youapply thedopebefore thetape, the tape will be pushedawayinstead of staying on the threads, possibly causing your joint to leak. The proper way of doingis toinstall your Teflon tape first, then apply your pipe dope if so desired.This method will give you a much cleaner finish andreduce the chance forleaks.

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Construction Pro Tips

Cross-threading a pipe or fitting

Crossthreading, or stripping,is when the threads of a fitting do notalignwith the treads of a pipe. When the misaligned fitting is tightened, new threads are plowed into and over the existing threadsdestroying them in the process. Cross-threaded pipes often leak.This is a common mistake that a lot of beginners and DIYers make. A crossed-thread is easy to diagnose, itll be a lot harder than usual to tighten, andthe pipe will not look straight in relation to the fitting.

To avoid cross-threading pipes and fittings,always startthe connectionby hand,and make surethey screw together smoothly before using awrenchto finalize the tightening process.It also helps tostart off in a counter-clockwise directionuntilyou feel thethreads properly mate.

Next, read through our post-plumbing job checklist.