Plumbing 101 – DIY vs. Hiring a Licensed Plumber

photo 5Many homeowners don’t mind doing some DIY plumbing work around the house, especially when it comes to something simple, like changing a shower head, replacing toilet hardware, or unclogging a drain. With other projects, like replacing a toilet, shutting off the water to your house, or installing an irrigation or sprinkler system, homeowners are better off hiring a professional plumber, lest they cause damage or seriously injure themselves. If you’re unsure about any aspect of your plumbing project, or feel that the job in front of you might best be left to a professional, then you should definitely consider hiring a licensed plumber. A botched DIY plumbing project could end up costing you a fortune, should something go wrong. A licensed plumber will have the knowledge and training to complete the project, and many licensed plumbers are insured. Be sure to consider all of the options before attempting a DIY plumbing project that might better be left in the hands of a professional, licensed plumber.

DIY or Licensed Plumber?

Before beginning any DIY plumbing project, be sure to research the project you are performing, and then make an honest assessment of your skill level, in relation to the project’s level of difficulty. Don’t be embarrassed if a plumbing project seems beyond your ability – professional plumbers undergo extensive training and apprenticeships, and most are required to take an exam before being licensed. Review the project below to determine whether or not you should hire a licensed plumber for your next plumbing project.

DIY Projects

Replacing a Leaky Faucet

Doing minor work on your faucet, or replacing it entirely, is normally a relatively easy task. A new faucet can be purchased at most hardware or plumbing stores. The basic steps involve turning off both the cold and hot water valves below the sink, removing (or fixing) the existing hardware, and connecting the new faucet. If valves are damaged or connectors are rotted and/or rusted, you may need professional help, but most new faucets come with installation instructions and should go in easily enough, if no damage exists.

Clogged Drainpipe

Many times a clogged drainpipe can be fixed by either snaking the drain or using a liquid plumber product. However, if this does not solve the issue, a professional plumber’s help may be required. Some clogs are deep, beyond the reach of an average-length snake. Others require pipes to be removed entirely, to get at the clogged section. If the standard over-the-counter methods of unclogging your drain don’t work for you, consider hiring a licensed plumber.

Projects for the Licensed Plumber

Clogged Sewers

If your sewer is backing up, not draining, or is full – you need to contact a licensed plumber. Attempting to fix a clogged sewer on your own is extremely difficult. In many cases excavation needs to be performed, and heavy machinery is required. Licensed plumbers are trained to repair, unclog, and maintain sewers and septic systems. Not only is the task onerous, but is can also be extremely difficult and dangerous. Do not attempt to unclog a sewer or septic system on your own, unless you have had professional plumbing training.

Renovations or Additions

If you’re performing renovations on your home, adding on a bathroom or bedroom, or performing any sort of remodeling that requires plumbing work, it is best to consult with a plumbing professional before beginning the work. Internal plumbing requires care and understanding – a misstep here could flood your entire house or apartment, cause extensive water damage, and end up costing far more than a professional plumber would. Plumbing renovations often require completely shutting off the water to your home, which can cause pipes to burst if done incorrectly. If you’re unsure about how your house’s plumbing system operates, hire a professional, licensed plumber.

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