DIY Plumbing: When to Call a Professional Plumber

The cost of plumbing services in San Diego can be pretty high, and if you’re like most homeowners, the last thing you want to do is pay a plumber hundreds or even thousands of dollars for repairs if there’s any way around it. Do-it-yourself plumbing may seem like a good idea if you’re in a pinch, but the fact is, most plumbing repairs can be difficult without at least some knowledge and prior experience. So if you’re thinking about doing you’re own plumbing, it’s important you know when to stop and call a professional.

Having the right plumbing tools

The first problem most do-it-yourselfers run into is not having the right tools to get the job done. Professional plumbers have a number of special tools to get them through their daily tasks. Even a simple repair may call for a specific, not-so-common tool or piece of equipment. Not having the right tools may prevent you from finishing the job correctly, or from finishing it at all.

If you’re going to attempt to solve any kind of plumbing problem, you should at least have a basic set of hand tools. An adjustable wrench, channel-style pliers and a screwdriver set may get you through a small task, but most plumbing repairs and installations require additional tools, such as:

  • Hex wrenches
  • Pipe wrenches
  • Basin wrench
  • Ferrule puller
  • Tubing cutters
  • Soldering kit
  • Water pressure gauge
  • Plumbing snake
  • Reciprocating saw
  • Cordless drill/driver set

There are a number of other tools you may need to get through a plumbing project, but these are the most commonly used. If you don’t have a reliable set of hand tools or you’re not prepared to purchase the tools you need, you should have a plumber write up an estimate. In the end, it may be the simplest and most affordable way to handle the problem.

Plumbing knowledge and experience

Like most home projects – and especially when it comes to plumbing – the more you know about the task at hand, the better your chances of getting the job done right. Few plumbing repairs require no beforehand knowledge. At the start of any project you should know:

  • How to identify plumbing problems, order replacement parts, etc.
  • Which plumbing tools/materials are needed and how to use them properly
  • Current San Diego plumbing codes, health hazards and best practices
  • What to do in an emergency situation

There may be some easy-to-fix plumbing tasks around the house and that don’t require a background in plumbing repair. But to be on the safe side, you should call a plumbing service for help if you’re unsure about any aspects of the job at hand.

Dealing the common plumbing problems

There are many plumbing tasks around the house you can do on your own if you have the right tools and a good idea of how to get the job done. But there are many problems that could arise during the project so you should be ready to call a plumber if you run into something you’re not 100% sure you can handle. These are some of the most common do-it-yourself situations people run into problems with:

  • Leaks – Anytime something’s leaking in your home or on your property, you should call a professional plumber. Some leaks may be easy to fix – dripping faucets, showerheads or toilet connections – but most tend to be a little more complicated. There could be more than one problem behind the leak, or it could involve parts replacement that requires some experience and specific know-how.
  • Stoppages – Some stoppages and drain problems can be easy to fix. Small hand-augers may clear light toilet stoppages. Drain cleaners and drain cleaning tools can improve drainage. Cleaning out drain traps also helps. But most stoppages require knowledge, experience and special equipment to get them fully resolved. Mainline stoppages and severe toilet stoppages can be particularly challenging and should only be handled by a professional.
  • Faucets and fixtures – Replacing or repairing faucets, toilets, garbage disposals and other fixtures are common DYI projects and are generally not too difficult. But it’s not unusual to run into bigger, more complicated problems in the middle of these jobs. Faucets can be extremely difficult to remove, as well as cartridges; closet rings beneath toilets may need to be cut out and replaced, and so on. If at any time your plumbing project starts to get more complicated than you anticipated, you should stop right away and call in a professional.
  • Water heaters – Since water heaters involve gas or electrical connections, harmful fumes that need to be properly exhausted, fuel combustion and large amounts of pressurized water, it’s highly recommended that you only have them serviced or replaced by a professional plumber. Improper installation or repair of a water heater can lead to plumbing disasters, extensive damages and great personal injury.

Saving money on plumbing repair can be a good thing, but it’s never worth the problems that could arise if something important is mishandled. Floods, fires, property damage and personal injury are all potential risks and when it comes to do-it-yourself plumbing – and they do happen. You should strive to avoid plumbing emergencies at any cost, even if it means hiring a professional to do the work for you.

If you have any questions about plumbing repair or you’d like to request a plumber, call Town & Country Plumbing Repair at (760) 744-8672. We offer free estimates and a quality guarantee with all our work.