TV shows and online videos can make anyone look like a home renovation master. Sure, there are plenty of DIY projects to be found around your house, but some areas are better left to the professionals.
While we don’t recommend that inexperienced homeowners take on complicated plumbing projects, there are some instances when you may want to repair a leak or replace an old pipe yourself. When installing new water lines, it’s important to have the correct pipe material, pipe size, fittings, and installation methods.
Here are our top five tips for installing water lines DIY-style.
1. Start with PEX
If you’re new to plumbing but attempting a repair yourself, we recommend using PEX pipes. Made out of plastic instead of metal, PEX is cheaper than copper, flexible, easy to cut, and can be connected with simple fittings. PEX can make your life (and project) much easier, especially if you’re replacing a small section of the water line.
2. Use the correct pipe sizes
When installing new water lines, size very much matters. The main water line is typically 3/4-inch in diameter until it passes the water heater. From there, branch water lines are most commonly ½ inch pipes. Of course, it’s always crucial that you follow your local codes.
3. Be careful mixing pipe materials
If you’re repairing a section of water lines, pay attention to what material the old and new pipes are made from. If copper and galvanized steel directly contact each other, it can cause a reaction and accelerate corrosion at the joint. The solution is to install a dielectric union with a washer that creates separation between the opposing metals.
4. Focus on the fittings
The fittings are where two pipes are joined, often to change directions of the water line. Fittings are one of the most challenging aspects of running water lines, and the section most likely to leak if not installed correctly. Different types of pipes call for different fittings. Copper pipes must be soldered (also known as sweating the pipes), a technical process that requires the right tools and skills. PEX pipes can use push-on or clamp fittings, which are much easier to handle but are also more expensive.
5. Cut, dry fit, then connect
It’s never a good idea to rush through the process. After you cut a pipe (regardless of the material), dry fit it in place. Once you’re sure that you have the correct length, you can make the permanent connection, whether it’s soldering copper, a push-fitting for PEX, or gluing PVC.
Professional plumbers in Evansville, IN
If you decide that installing water lines is beyond your plumbing capabilities or want peace of mind knowing the job is done correctly by a professional, call Baylor Heating & Air Conditioning, Inc. Our team is ready to help in any way we can. To schedule an appointment, call 812-425-8435.