The DIY craze that struck America back in the 1990s made it easy to believe that the average homeowner can tackle just about any project with the help of a knowledgeable hardware store rep and a few hours of videos. DIY enthusiasts have settled down over the last decade, but the most ardent among them still hate hiring contractors. Is that wise when it comes to plumbing?
DIY plumbing is no different from any other type of home improvement project in the sense that you need at least some basic knowledge to do things right. Yet there are some types of plumbing jobs that require more than just a rudimentary understanding. If you do not know some of the more important details, you can seriously break something.
Below are some common plumbing repair and maintenance issues. Each one is discussed from the perspective of doing it yourself rather than calling a plumber.
Clogged Sinks and Toilets
Clogged sinks and toilets are among the most common plumbing issues in residential settings. Sink drains get filled with gunk and stop flowing. Toilets back up when someone accidentally uses too much toilet paper. In either case, the DIY solution is a given. You just grab the plunger and away you go.
Simple clogs that do not occur on a regular basis are candidates for DIY maintenance. But if clogs are persistent, there may be a more serious problems with the sewer line. This is one for which Salt Lake City-based Salt City Plumbing recommends calling in a professional.
Leaking Water Heater
A typical water heater lasts between 10 and 15 years. Anything beyond that should be considered a bonus. Unfortunately, most municipalities do not allow homeowners to replace water heaters on their own. And even municipalities that do allow DIY replacement still require municipal inspections.
If a water heater is leaking at either the overflow discharge valve or the inflow pipe connection, DIY repairs are fine. But if the tank itself is leaking, it is best to call a plumber.
Garbage Disposal Repair
A garbage disposal is a mechanical unit that chops up and washes away food waste. Because it involves both water and electricity in the same space, DIY repairs are not recommended. Ditto for replacing a garbage disposal. Anything having to do with this particular piece of kitchen equipment should be left to a professional.
Toilet Maintenance and Repair
It is pretty common for the different components in a toilet to wear out and break. For example, almost all of us have experienced a worn-out flapper that allows water to continue flowing from tank to toilet. Replacing a flapper is definitely a DIY task. It only takes a minute and requires no special knowledge.
When it comes time to replace a flow valve or float mechanism, you are also talking an easy DIY fix. All the necessary parts can be obtained at the hardware or plumbing supply store. Most products come with instructions. If not, there are plenty of DIY plumbing blogs online.
Replacing a faucet in either the kitchen or bathroom could be somewhat challenging depending on a homeowner’s skill level. The same goes for replacing worn out washers. The nice thing about this particular repair is that it’s easy to learn. Do it once and you should be able to do it a second or third time without issue.
Is DIY plumbing a good idea? That depends on the job in question and how much skill a homeowner possesses. In the complete absence of skill and knowledge, a homeowner is far better off calling a licensed plumber.