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Safety Tips for Do-It-Yourself Plumbers

Planning a home plumbing job?

Here are some tips to consider before you start; they can help avoid annoyance, injury, or even a much bigger plumbing problem.

1. Before you begin, check local plumbing and building codes and regulations. Many projects require a professional; in that case, do consult the experts at Albuquerque Plumbing, Heating & Cooling. Many other jobs require a permit, usually available through your county building and safety department. Search their website for “plumbing permits your county.”

2. Before you begin, it helps to get a sense of the system as a whole and map out the main lines: where pipes are behind walls; where shut-offs are and what they control. Be sure you know where the water line enters your home and where the main waste line is.

3. Make sure you have the right tools for the job. Nothing is more frustrating than discovering, half-way through, that you’re short a necessary gizmo.

4. “Tools” include protective equipment. Wear safety glasses, especially if you are using a sawzall, snaking a drain, or hammering metal. Protect your hands with work gloves, especially when using a drain machine. Working on drain lines? Wear latex gloves under other gloves to protect against germs. And you may want to wear a face mask so you don’t inhale dust, mold, etc.

5. Check your power tools before using them; poorly maintained tools are a safety hazard. Read their directions for use and obey them. Use tools only for their intended purpose. Use both hands when recommended and concentrate—don’t get distracted. And be sure you know what to do in case you suddenly face an emergency.

6. Don’t carry tools around in your pocket; a sudden lurch or slip, and you’re injured.

7. Don’t be too proud to get help when needed, e.g., for projects using a drain machine.

8. Don’t ignore the smell of gas—it is a warning signal. If it is safe to do so, turn off the gas and call the gas company; don’t try to find the leak yourself.

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