When plumbing problems arise, many homeowners prefer to try to fix them on their own. While many issues can be handled without calling professionals, it often takes proper tools and a bit of skill to resolve them successfully. There are also cases where calling a professional plumber for plumbing service is much more reliable than attempting a DIY fix.
Here, we’ll outline various common plumbing DIY projects and discuss when it’s best to leave it to the professionals.
Replacing Shutoff Valves
You’ll find shutoff valves under sinks and behind toilets, and they allow you to turn off the water supply to the sink/toilet before making repairs or to prevent an overflow in a pinch. Sometimes, these valves will start leaking, in which case they may need to be replaced.
Replacing shutoff valves yourself
It is possible to replace an old, leaking shutoff valve, but doing so requires the use of tools that many homeowners may not actually own. If you’re lucky, you’ll only need a wrench and pliers, but for old sweat valves which are soldered on, you’ll need a soldering torch, which many people may not own or feel comfortable using.
In addition, parts of compression-style valves may require a bit of cutting to remove before a replacement valve can be attached.
When to call the professionals
If you have a compression shutoff valve that can be removed with just a wrench, this can be an easy DIY fix. However, replacing older sweat valves or stubborn compression valves is usually safest via professional plumbing service.
Sooner or later, most homeowners will have a leaky faucet in their homes. Over time, a leaking faucet can waste hundreds of gallons of water, so getting it fixed is important to keeping water bills down.
Leaky faucet repair DIY
With a few basic tools, you can repair leaky faucets on your own, but it can be a meticulous process. Each part needs to be disassembled and reassembled/replaced in their proper order, so this project is best reserved for those who are good at keeping track of various small parts.
When to call a professional
If you’re not confident in your ability to disassemble your faucet and put it back together again, you’re likely best off calling for plumbing service. Also, if you have attempted to fix a faucet leak yourself and find that it still drips, you’ll want a professional to handle it.
The vast majority of running toilet problems are caused by minor faults of interior components. These are often easily adjusted without the need for specialized tools.
Most of the time, a running toilet can be fixed by making sure internal components behind the bowl are in the right positions.
For instance, the fill tube might have detached from the overflow tube, or the chain attached to the flapper valve may be tangled. At times, the flapper valve itself (found at the bottom of the tank) may need to be replaced. This is generally a simple process if you have the right tools on hand.
When to call a pro
If minor adjustments to the parts in the tank aren’t enough to fix the problem, you may want to call a professional to replace the flapper valve. They’ll know exactly what parts and tools are needed to resolve the issue quickly, saving you the hassle of tinkering with your toilet’s insides.
Unclogging Drains or Toilets
A slow drain can be frustrating, and a clogged drain is completely useless. There are many chemicals on the market that are designed to clear clogged drains, but those can take their toll over time.
Most slow/clogged drains are entirely fixable by homeowners. One method is to use specially formulated chemicals to clear the drain, but those can corrode your pipes over time, and they’re known for being highly toxic.
Often, you can use a plunger to dislodge clogs in drains and toilets. If that doesn’t work, a hook or drain snake may be enough for the situation, but you might not necessarily have one of those available.
When to call the professionals
If you have a drain that keeps clogging, or if you have tried the above methods without success, you’ll likely want a plumber to resolve the issue for you. Some clogs are best fixed by disassembling underlying pipes and extracting clogs manually, and a plumbing professional will have the tools and materials to do so.
As an added bonus, calling for plumbing service will spare you the unpleasant experience of being close to the kinds of the odors that come out of clogged drains.
Calling Professional Plumbers For Plumbing Services
While it is possible to fix various plumbing problems on your own, it’s not always in your best interest to DIY it. In many instances, it’s difficult and tedious, and you might not have all the right tools on hand. In the very worst scenarios, it can be hazardous to your health to perform plumbing services and repairs on your own.
When considering whether to do your own plumbing, take these questions into account:
- Do you have the tools and parts needed to complete the repairs?
- How easy is the part/pipe to reach?
- Are there any potential dangers (fire, fumes, chemicals) involved in the repair work?
- Have you tried these repairs before without prolonged success?
- How much time would it take?
If the answers to any of these questions leaves you in doubt about whether you can DIY your plumbing repairs, it’s probably best to call a professional.