Safe Practices For The Amateur Plumber


Plumbing contractors face the possibility of severe injury or illness as they practice their trade, and these dangers are even more pronounced for the amateur plumber. The average homeowner may not be aware of many of the risks, or may disregard them at their own peril.

There is some basic safety equipment that should be acquired and some safety concerns that must be addressed before beginning any home plumbing project.

Basic safety equipment for home plumbing projects

Safety glasses or goggles

Eye protection is paramount in plumbing tasks. Safety glasses should have side protection in addition to the safety glass lens, while googles should fit securely against the face over prescription eyeglasses. While both safety glasses and googles can be annoying because of fogging and physical discomfort, they can protect your eyes from injuries ranging from temporary irritation to blindness.

While actions such as grinding or sawing are obviously dangerous to the eyes, even seemingly benign plumbing tasks can result in materials such as metal flakes, rust, dust, and other debris can enter the eyes when disturbed. Safety glasses offer the added benefit of preventing an amateur plumber from instinctively rubbing their eyes to dislodge a contaminant.

Eye protection can also prevent exposure to harmful bacteria from such actions as plunging toilets and clearing drain lines. 

Dust masks

Plumbing is a dirty job, especially since many plumbing projects are performed on overhead components that have been accumulating dust, rust, and other contaminants over time. These airborne particles can irritate when inhaled, especially in a constricted and/or poorly ventilated area. Dust masks can also inhibit the inhalation of airborne pathogens such as e-coli bacteria from clogged toilets and drain or sewer lines.

Dust masks have a thin metal band that lies across the bridge of the nose. This band should be squeezed to provide a fit that follows the contours of your nose to ensure a proper fit.

Work gloves

Hand injuries, both minor and more severe, are likely the most prevalent forms of injury in plumbing. A slip of a wrench in a confined or constricted space can result in damaged knuckles, while a freshly cut length of pipe provides a razor sharp edge that can slice open hands and wrists and metal burrs that can become embedded under the skin. Severe burns can also occur from soldering copper pipe or working with hot water components. 

Dangers from noxious fumes

There are various dangers associated with potentially fatal gases entering the home through plumbing projects. Natural gas lines must be properly sealed at connection points to avoid the risk of a gas leak and subsequent explosion. Combustible and deadly methane gas can enter the home through opened sewer lines. The adhesives and cleaners used in PVC and CPVC pipe installations can cause severe respiratory distress through prolonged exposure in a poorly ventilated area.

Carbon monoxide is vented outside from gas powered hot water heaters. If this venting system is disturbed, the odorless, colorless gas can kill everyone in the home.

If a natural gas leak is suspected, everyone should leave the home and emergency services notified. If you perform work on drain or sewer lines, stuff rags into the open pipes if you need to leave them disconnected for an extended period.

Open doors and windows when working with PVC and CPVC pipe to minimize exposure to cleaners and adhesives, and try to make as many connections as possible outdoors before bringing the line inside for final connections.

Install a carbon monoxide detector in your home even if you never work on your hot water heater. It could the lives of everyone in your household.

Awareness and preparation are the keys to safe plumbing practices.For more information, talk to a company like All Clear.


1 August 2017

DIY plumbing - can you do it yourself?

When you get a clogged drain or a toilet that just won't flush, do you reach for the phone and call for a plumber? When you have these seemingly simple plumbing problems around your house, you have to make a decision quickly. Do you pay for someone to come out and make the repairs, or do you attempt the repair on your own? This blog is all about DIY plumbing repairs. You will learn the basics and find tips for when to cut your losses and call in for professional assistance so you don't make a small fix one that needs serious repairs.