When to Leave Plumbing Repairs to the Pros and When to DIY

Basilissa westhillsmall

Your home is a huge investment, and taking good care of it should be a priority. But life often gets in the way, and sometimes little nagging issues turn into big problems.That’s why it can really pay off to know how to handle small household repairs on your own. You can confidently fix something when it first breaks down, without having to call in a handyman every other week.

Your home’s plumbing system is bound to present you with regular maintenance opportunities, so a little know-how can go a long way.

Basic Plumbing – DIY

Modern life relies very heavily on plumbing, so it’s a good idea to get some basic plumbing tools and skills under your belt so that you can swiftly fix a clogged drain or leaky faucet before they interrupt your life. Calling out a professional plumber is an unnecessary expense for some of these minor problems.

  • Clogged or slow drain – A homeowner’s drain snake costs about $25. It may not be very pleasant to unclog a stinky, icky drain, but it is pretty straightforward. The tricky part is feeding the drain snake through twists and turns in the pipes. The spiral spear on the end of the snake will pierce through the clogged mass and remove it. Job done.
  • Running toilet – The mechanical components of a toilet flush will corrode over time due to being constantly submersed in water. If your toilet runs, it means that water is constantly filling the tank due to a flap that no longer covers the valve properly. This is something you should fix ASAP, because it will send your water bill through the roof. Buying a replacement toilet flapper and following the directions on the packaging is all you need to do. If you know how to use a wrench, you can fix your running toilet.
  • Leaky faucet -Typically, all you need to do to fix a leaky faucet is to replace a washer in the handle. Disassembling the handle to reach the offending washer may seem intimidating, but you should be able to find how-to videos online that show many different kinds of faucets.
  • Replacing a faucet – This is about as intense as DIY plumbing jobs get. You’ll need to lie on your back under the sink to unscrew the nut that holds the faucet in place. You may need some special equipment, like a basin wrench, to reach this tight space. Otherwise, your new faucet should come with all of the connectors that you need to get water flowing again. Removing the old water supply lines and attaching the new ones is, again, as simple as using a wrench.

 

Leave plumbing to the professionals if you want to install pipes from scratch, have to replace badly corroded pipes, think you smell sewer gas, need to access pipes that are in the wall, crawl space or foundation, or generally find yourself needing expensive and specialized equipment. If you think it will take you more than a few hours to do a plumbing job yourself, go ahead and call a professional. He or she will get the job done fast and will ensure that you aren’t without water for too long.

Sometimes plumbing is a job that’s not for the faint of heart. Plumbers have to work in cramped spaces and still manage to wield tools and see what they are doing, so physical flexibility and strength are paramount for plumbers. They might need to get into the crawl space of your house, a place that makes even the spookiest of attics look warm and inviting, so a certain level of bravery and fortitude is required. And if the work requires digging outside, professional plumbers have access to a whole team of people to dig long and deep trenches by hand or to operate specialized digging equipment, which will make the job go so much faster.

Complex plumbing jobs also often require the plumber to know geometry and algebra, as well as general knowledge of construction. In other words, plumbing is a specialized trade for a reason, so if you feel out of your depth, don’t hesitate to call a pro.

Cathy Habas is a writer and editor from Louisville, Kentucky. She enjoys covering almost everything – tech, business, finance, gardening, home improvement, DIY and more! Her latest work credentials are for DirtWirx as website content writer and for HRC as article contributor.

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