It’s all fun and games until your plumbing stops working—it’s the last thing you worry about when everything’s working fine, but it’s the first thing on your mind if your toilet stops flushing and your sink stops draining. Learning some useful plumbing tips can mean the difference between leaving a mess behind and flushing away your problems.

We’ve seen it all over the years, but it’s safe to assume you haven’t (which is okay, because there’s a strong chance you aren’t a full-time plumber. If you are a full-time plumber and some of the following tips are revelatory for you…we’re happy to help, but maybe get a better grasp on the industry before you dive in on your next project). Here are some classic Do’s and Don’ts for DIY plumbing that can make all the difference when you’re in a rough spot:

  • DO: Make sure you have the right equipment before proceeding. Would you use a pipe wrench to work on a compression fitting? Good God, no! You weren’t raised in the Stone Age! Always, always, always make sure the equipment you’re using is suited to the task at hand. Orange juice might taste great, but would you ever use it in a steak marinade? (We assume not, but who’s to say? We’re so dedicated to plumbing, we barely have time for anything else.)


  • DON’T: Leave the water on while you’re working. Turn the water off before you start your project! Messing around with pipes and knobs while the water’s on can have disastrous results if pressurized water is waiting in the wings to further wreak havoc on your plumbing. Proceeding without taking the proper precautions can result in long-term complications for your plumbing—similar to how eating steak marinated in orange juice can make you feel ill if you’re unaware or unaccustomed of how the marinade will affect the taste of the meat.


  • DON’T: Tackle that important project without doing your research. Look, we get it—you want your toilet to flush again. No one’s happy about the smell, least of all you: The Chosen One who has been tasked to banish that stench into the shadow realm. No matter how dire that project may seem, it’s only going to exacerbate things if you don’t take the time to look into the issue before solving it. See that utility line that you’re convinced needs fine-tuning? Take a second, and don’t prod at it until you’re 100% that’s the right thing to do. For all you know, that could be as dumb as putting orange juice in a steak marinade.


  • DO: Acknowledge when it’s time to hang it up and call a professional. We promise, no one will think less of you if you are less-good at plumbing than a trained professional. Messing around with things in areas you don’t know how to navigate can have disastrous consequences on your plumbing, and make the problem significantly worse. You’d leave it to a professional chef with culinary school experience to determine if orange juice is right for a steak marinade, right? Of course, you would, you capable, smart, resourceful human.