When faced with the prospect of a costly plumbing repair, it can be tempting to think, “I’ll just do it myself. How hard can it be?” For certain repairs, a bit of Internet research and a resourceful attitude are sufficient to get the job done. But for more complex problems, attempting to do the job yourself may only make the problem worse or even put you in danger. Professional plumbers have the training, experience, and equipment to handle these more complicated issues, and in those cases it is unwise to forego their expertise. We’ve put together a guide to some common home plumbing problems to help you understand when it’s safe to DIY and when it’s best to dial a professional.
Clogged drain – DIY
Typically, a clogged drain is a pretty simple problem to solve. Start by using a rubber plunger or plastic snake on the drain. If that doesn’t take care of the clog, buy a chemical drain cleanser and pour the recommended quantity down the drain. If the drain is still clogged or if multiple drains throughout your home are all clogged at once, it may be time to call a professional – it could indicate a larger problem.
Leaking Pipes – Dial
A leaky pipe may seem like a quick fix – tighten a screw here, apply a pipe patch there – but if it goes wrong, you could find yourself with an open pipe that is gushing water into your bathroom or kitchen. Play it safe and avoid this potential disaster by calling a plumber.
Installing a new faucet or showerhead – DIY
Replacing a faucet is simpler than it sounds. Make sure you turn off the water valves (usually under the sink) to avoid taking an impromptu shower when you remove the head. Once that’s done, simply remove the old faucet or showerhead and replace with the new one.
Remodeling projects – Dial
As much as you may like the idea of remodeling your own bathroom, any project that involves moving or expanding plumbing is best left in the hands of a professional who can ensure the safety of your home and understands building codes and permits. Making a mistake during a project of this kind could flood your home and cause untold damage that would cost you far more than contracting a plumber. A good rule of thumb is that a professional plumber should complete any plumbing work that can’t be accessed without going into the walls.
Overflowing toilet – DIY
The sight of your toilet continuing to fill with water after you flush can be stressful, but don’t panic. It’s actually an easy fix. Simply turn of the shut-off valve on your tank by moving the float arm inside the tank so that the flapper valve closes. If after several adjustments and test flushes the toilet is still overflowing, it’s time to get an expert on the phone.
Appliance replacement – Dial
If any water-using appliances in your home need replacing, such as your sump pump or water heater, hire a plumber. Only a professional will have the skills and tools necessary to handle the replacement safely. If you attempt to take on a project of this magnitude on your own, you risk doing damage to your home or even hurting yourself.
If you’re not sure whether you can handle a plumbing repair yourself, give us a call. When it comes to the safety of your home, it’s better to err on the side of caution.
8 thoughts on “Dial or DIY: When You Should Call a Plumber”
I never realized that leaking pipes would be too difficult to fix on my own. There are few pipes that drip in my bathroom and basement that I have been planning too fix soon. I definitely don’t want to make the problem worse by causing an even bigger leak, so I will take your advice and call a plumber!
My husband and I moved into a new house, and the basement is unfinished. We are going to need to hire a contractor to help us get it all done, but we are also going to need to need to hire a plumber. We are going to be putting a bathroom down there, and also a kitchen area, so we are going to have to get someone to put those in for us.
My wife called me at work this morning to let me know that our bathroom is flooding because she found a leaking pipe. You mentioned that a leaky pipe may seem like a quick fix, but if it goes wrong, you could find yourself with an open pipe that is gushing water into your bathroom or kitchen. Do most plumbers repair the pipe at this point or would they need to just replace it? Having a plumber come and look at it might be a good option.
Thanks for the question, Derek. Our company will not only replace the bad section of pipe but will work to find the root cause of the problem. There are certain areas in the Twin Cities that have very hard water and sometimes this water will cause pin hole leaks (among other issues). If we can find the root cause and solve that, the customer is better off than just having us make a band aid repair.
I like that you point out that fixing a leaking pipe seems like it would be an easy fix, however, trying to do it yourself could lead to more problems. My sister is thinking about buying a house that has some pipe corrosion. I’ll have to see if she has thought about having a plumber come in and take a look at it before she decides whether or not to buy the house.
Those seemingly minor problems can often become big headaches if not handled properly. I would definitely recommend having your sister’s house inspected. Great idea!
That’s a good tip to not risk it with a leaky pipe. You wouldn’t want a pipe like that to become a gushing pipe. I just bought my first home, so I’ve been really vigilant about my plumbing care.
We have a leaky pipe in our basement right now. I thought to do some research, because my first thought was to DIY the repair. However, I definitely don’t want any gushing water, so I’ll have to look for a plumber to call.
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