There are many projects and jobs that are perfectly acceptable for the motivated homeowner to tackle on their own. Consequently, there are those tasks that are best left to professionals. Do-it-yourself saves you money, helps you learn or refine your craft skills, and leaves you with a feeling of pride and accomplishment when you finish.
On the other hand, having a professional do a job means that, even though you’re paying a sometimes hefty fee, you’re getting an experienced hand to do the work and take the risks, and if it’s not done correctly, you can get redress.
So, where does plumbing fall? Is this a do-it-yourself job that you can tackle, or is it time to summon that expensive plumber? Are you ready for this? Let’s find out …
Not All Jobs Are The Same
The article “Expert Interview Series: Greg Chick on DIY plumbing” notes that not all jobs present the same level of difficulty. There’s a difference between replacing a shower head and replacing an entire kitchen faucet setup.
The first thing you should consider is just how much experience you have in matters of plumbing. Have you dealt with issues like clogged pipes, dripping faucets, and replacing worn-out parts, or is your experience limited to jiggling the chain inside the toilet tank to make sure the seal is falling properly?
Know your limitations before you start. In the long run, you’ll save yourself a lot of aggravation (and money!).
Do You Have Good Instruction Resources?
Thanks to the Internet, you can learn anything from how to bake the ultimate soufflé to assembling a small thermonuclear device. It’s pretty much a given that plumbing jobs fall somewhere in the middle of that range.
Seriously, the Internet is replete with DIY sites (such as the link above), YouTube videos, and other resources. Of course, if you’re more of an old-school sort, there are numerous series of books out there, many of which can be found in major hardware chain stores, which give you all the information you need to conduct repairs.
If you’re a quick study and have the time, motivation, and equipment, then sure, it may be worth a shot. Just make sure that, in an effort to save money, you don’t end up taking up far too much time trying to do the job. Remember, time is money, after all.
Avoid These At All Costs …
No matter how great of a do-it-yourselfer you are, there are certain jobs that you just flat-out shouldn’t tackle and instead leave to the professionals. Unless you’re an actual plumber doing work on your day off, steer clear of the following.
If it has anything to do with sewage and septic systems, you should not attempt it. That’s a mess you don’t want to get into, figuratively or literally.
The second “avoid” is anything to do with natural gas or propane. Your supplier has professionals who tackle that sort of thing safely. The risks are too great.
Finally, there are electrical appliances that have some connection with plumbing, such as washers or water heaters. You’re asking for trouble if you tackle these kinds of repairs.
Do-it-yourself is an excellent way to spend an afternoon working with your hands and saving a few bucks on what amounts to an easy fix. Just know your limitations, and when in doubt, give the repair person a shout!