Image courtesy of Willett Builders, Inc.
If you have ever climbed under a kitchen sink or replaced a sump pump, you are well aware of the inherent health risks associated with DIY plumbing. Before you begin your next project, take some steps to prepare safety equipment appropriate to the task at hand. Equipment such as goggles and gloves protect you from potential injury and help make clean up more manageable.
There are many types of glove options. To determine the best type of glove for the job, try to identify the tasks you will need to accomplish.
For surface level jobs involving smaller parts and less exposure to hazardous fluids or materials, thinner gloves may be a better option. Thinner vinyl or latex-based gloves afford the user increased dexterity, making it easier to tighten knobs or valves and use tools in tight spaces. Thinner gloves may be the best option for DIY plumbers interested in making relatively minor repairs to exterior components of toilets or kitchen sinks.
For dirtier and more expansive jobs, thicker gloves are recommended. Thicker gloves help not only to protect against exposure to potentially harmful materials, but provide additional insulation in encounters with sharp or rusty objects.
Purchase gloves with longer sleeves, especially for jobs where the gloves will be submerged.
One of the more important safety considerations in plumbing is eye protection. Clogged pipes can require the use of cleaning agents that are harmful to the eye. There are additional concerns about contamination related to waste matter.
Plumbing projects may require you to crawl under pipes, which increases risks of potential exposure to harmful substances. Safety goggles should cover the eyes completely, creating an impermeable seal around the surface of the eye. Try also to purchase safety goggles that are certified by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI). The ANSI label can often be found on packaging.
Wearing safety goggles will help prepare you for unanticipated problems in the DIY process and may save you from a nasty case of plumber’s regret.
When you work on plumbing issues, you will want to dress in clothing that covers the arms and legs. Longer and thicker clothing options help to protect against exposure to rust, chemicals and water, and provide additional protection against sharp objects and surfaces. When possible, try to wear water resistant or waterproof clothing as an additional layer of protection.
If you’re feeling unsure of yourself, don’t hesitate to call the Drain Brothers for help on your project. It’s better to get it done right the first time than to accidentally damage your home’s plumbing.
If there’s one post to remember, this is the one.
The main goal is to make sure you’re not coming home to a plumbing emergency.
1. Turn the water off to your washing machine. I’d also suggest installing steel braided supply hoses, just in case you forget.
It’s an unlikely event that a hose will burst while your away from home, but it’s happened to others, it’s best to be prepared and proactive.
2. Don’t forget to turn your water heater thermostat to VAC (vacation) Save some energy while keeping your water warm enough to heat back up to tempature fairly quickly when you return home.
3. Especially important steps to take in winter, keep your home at a reasonable tempature, enough to keep any plumbing from freezing. I’d say, 60° to 65° should be plenty, also open the cabinet doors under all your sinks. This allows warm air to reach the plumbing that would normally have moving water running through it.
Another option would be to completely winterize your plumbing before heading out.
4. Run your sump pump and battery back up system through a few cycles. Ensure the floats are away from the pit walls and moving freely. Check that all pipe is secure and not jostling around when the pump kicks on.
Check the battery of your back up pump and ensure it has sufficient life and properly cycles when no power is getting to the primary sump pump.