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Should You DIY Plumbing Tasks or Hire a Pro?

As the popularity of DIY shows continues to grow, so too is the number of homeowners willing to try their hand at a few DIY projects of their own. And with the amount of useful information now available via places like YouTube, it is no wonder people are feeling more confident than ever about DIY. In fact, some homeowners may even feel comfortable DIYing minor plumbing repairs or installations. However, like some electrical DIY not all plumbing projects are safe to take on yourself. In general, it will usually save you a lot of extra time, effort, and money to call in a professional for your plumbing work. That said, there are some plumbing maintenance repairs that are perfectly safe for you to learn and do by yourself. Here are some of the easier DIY plumbing projects you can try: 

DIY Home Plumbing Repairs 

Before you start any DIY make sure you have the proper time, tools, and patience to dedicate to the project. 

  • Fix a Leaky Faucet: Worn-out or misaligned washers are often the cause of a leaky faucet. Before you start this repair make sure you shut off the water to the faucet (usually located under the sink in the cabinet). Once the water supply is off, you can realign or replace the damaged washer (don’t forget to turn the water back on when done).  

  • Clear Everyday Clogs: Rather than turning to chemicals that give off harsh fumes and can corrode your pipes over time, you can clear most clogs with a plunger. If a plunger just won’t get it done, then a drain snake could be the ticket. This steel, flexible cable is designed to help you reach deep into your pipes to dislodge even the most stubborn clogs. 

  • Stop Running Toilets: Water that continues to leak from the tank is usually caused by a faulty flushing mechanism or flap inside the tank. Remove the tank lid to get a closer look. First, check to see if the chain is hung up or disconnected from the flushing lever (if so, reconnect it). Also, check to make sure the flushing mechanism is not damaged, disconnected, or broken in any way. If okay, check to see if the flap is maintaining a proper seal (flappers do wear out and warp over time). 

  • Close a Water Valve or the Master Shut-off Valve: In the event of an emergency, the speed of your response could be the difference between dealing with a puddle of water or a flooded house. Therefore, it’s important to know where your main water valve is and how to shut it off if you notice a leak. Even a small leak can quickly become a big problem if not addressed quickly. It’s also good practice to know where other water supply valves are located just in case you must shut off water to a specific appliance, like your dishwasher and/or water heater. 

  • Fix Poor Water Pressure in Your Shower: Decreased water pressure can often be traced to mineral buildup, which can be fixed by giving your showerhead a good cleaning. One way to do this is by filling a plastic bag with vinegar, secure it to the showerhead with a rubber band, and let it sit overnight. If the issue persists the next morning, use a toothpick on each jet opening to clear out any remaining mineral deposits. 

  • Install or Replace Aerators: Aerators are faucet attachments that introduce air to the water flow to maintain a consistent water pressure while simultaneously reducing water usage. If you need to install or replace an aerator, simply unscrew the screen from the faucet and either clean off the sediment buildup and reattach it or replace it with a new one. 
     

Plumbing Jobs for the Pros 

Although smaller projects are perfectly fine to DIY, some larger plumbing projects come with more severe consequences if something goes wrong or if the work is not done correctly. These projects are usually beyond even advanced DIY skills. For these projects it’s best to avoid the potential headache, hassle, and expense and leave the job to a trained, skilled, and licensed plumbing professional. 

  • Well Pumps: When damaged and/or not working properly, a well pump can build up excessive water pressure that can damage your plumbing system if not addressed promptly and correctly. Therefore, it’s best to avoid trying to repair a faulty pressurized system that could result in injury to you or others. 

  • Water Heaters: Scalding hot water, gas, and electricity are all great reasons to avoid this repair. In addition, an installation that was not done correctly could result in a flood that does extensive damage to your home. This is one repair or installation best done by a professional plumber.  

  • Sump Pumps: Working with sump pumps requires a certain level of technical expertise. Therefore, it is not advised to try to diagnose or repair a sump pump yourself. 

  • Septic System Repairs or Cleaning: Because of specialized training, equipment, and licensing needed to work on septic systems, you are better off calling a professional to do any cleaning and/or repairs. 

  • Working on Gas Lines: If you smell a gas, get you and your family outside immediately, and then call your gas company. A gas line that is leaking is dangerous and a potential hazard for anyone in the area. The fumes can cause lightheadedness, nausea, and even death. And if the gas is ignited by a spark or flame, it can cause a fire and/or explosion, resulting in extensive damage.  

  • Moving Plumbing Lines for Renovations: If you are having renovations done to your kitchen, bathroom, or other area where plumbing lines may need to be moved or disconnected, this complex work is not worth attempting yourself. There is too much margin for error and any mistakes could lead to bigger, more extensive problems and damage. 

  • Replacing Main Bathroom Fixtures: You may think installing a new bathtub is an afternoon project, but there are complications that can arise which makes this type of project a lot more involved than most people think. In addition, mistakes can lead to property damage and some extra expenses. 
      

Know Your Limitations and Call an Expert 

Completing a few DIY projects around your home can give you a great sense of satisfaction and accomplishment. But before you take on such projects it is important to understand your limitations, especially when it comes to plumbing and electricity. Although some DIY projects for regular plumbing maintenance can save you money and make you feel good about solving a problem, there are other projects that are best left to a professional who is trained and experienced. Hiring a pro will not only save you time, but it could ultimately save you a lot of money too! Your local Mr. Rooter Plumbing has years of experience and is prepared to help you with all your plumbing needs. Give us a call at (855) 982-2028 or request an estimate online today.