Replacing a faulty washer in a leaky sink is something most people can do. But many other plumbing projects require special skills, the ability to handle a torch and a lot of hand strength. You may also need to spend a lot of time crawling around on the floor or in a crawlspace. Here are some situations where it’s usually best to call in a professional plumber.
When There’s No Room
There are many DIY videos and television shows that make plumbing look easy and convenient. However, one of the biggest challenges when attempting DIY plumbing is that tolerances can be very tight. If you need to work inside a small bathroom, you may find that there’s not enough space for you to get safely up and down. In addition, you may not have the hand strength needed to tighten fixtures appropriately. Too much pressure on a toilet tank bolt can lead to another trip to the hardware store.
When It’s Complex
Depending on the age of your home, it’s important to remember that you may need to join new pipes with aging ones. This can require a special adhesive or cement. This becomes extremely important when working with sewer lines. While many plumbing-disaster scenarios include flooding and fountains, it’s the slow leaks that can do the most damage to your home. Damp spots under sinks become a happy home for mold and insects. If you choose to work on your sewer line outside, you may have an unfortunate experience with phone lines or gas lines as well.
When It’s Dangerous
Copper tubing is the standard for moving fresh water around in your home. To join copper tubing, you need to apply heat via a gas torch. This heat often has to be applied around the wooden studs in your home. It takes a careful touch to apply enough heat to avoid a leak while not burning down the house. Plumbing can be a surprisingly dangerous job sometimes, and if you don’t know what you’re doing, you can get burned or damage your home. Professional plumbers are protected by workers’ compensation, insurance, and personal injury laws. You…not so much. So, before you apply a torch to the stud behind your shower wall, enter that crawl space or try to remove a toilet, remember that your health and home can be easily protected by hiring a pro.
Your home is a significant investment that’s worthy of quality work. If you’re hoping to learn DIY plumbing, consider taking a class at a hardware or home supply store. Start out with a garden bench or garage sink to practice on, and build your skills up slowly. Otherwise, you should call in a professional plumber.