One of the most dreaded sights on any homeowner’s list is seeing a pool of water coming from an appliance or fixture—whether it be the toilet, a pipe or your hot water heater. Some plumbing repairs can be handled at home, but others require the skill and knowledge of an expert. Knowing the difference between the two can save you time and money—not to mention your sanity!
Depending upon your skill level, many homeowners can fix minor plumbing repairs at home. With a repair manual and the proper tools, novice handymen and women can repair a leaky kitchen or bathroom faucet or swap out the fixture for a new one. Likewise, installing that new massaging showerhead you’ve been wanting is also a fairly easy install. If you’re not quite sure yourself, a handy friend or relative can usually do this with ease. Many people are also adept at changing their whole house water filter without extra help.
As unpleasant a task as it may be, most of us can get out the plunger and unplug a toilet, tub or sink. Sometimes using a plumber’s tool called a snake is necessary; if the obstruction doesn’t respond to that, then it is time to call in for professional help.
Professional home improvement companies should all have plumbers on staff, or you can ask your friends and family who they recommend. Certain projects and situations require professional expertise, so you don’t create a bigger problem than what you’re starting with.
For example, if you’re undertaking a bathroom remodeling project and you’re changing the configuration of the fixtures, you’ll need to hire a plumber to reroute the plumbing. If you’re installing a new hot water heater, you’ll probably want expert help. When fixing a leaky pipe, you may be able to do this yourself, or you may need assistance depending upon the type of pipe. If the pipe is a rigid pipe, an expert should probably be called in, especially if it will require welding or soldering. Flexible pipes, on the other hand, are much easier for a homeowner to work with.
Often homeowners are more comfortable with a plumber handling the installation of new appliances, such as garbage disposals, dishwashers or sump pumps. Additionally if you want to add an outside faucet where one does not currently exist, you’ll need a professional home remodeling expert for this complicated process.
A final problem that you should leave for the experts is frozen water pipes. This winter problem requires the right finesse to fix; otherwise, you will end up with burst pipes and a huge, expensive mess to clean up.
Plan ahead and be prepared for that next plumbing emergency. Have some supplies on hand for do-it-yourself fixes and have the number of a reliable plumber when expert help is needed. Being prepared will help you to quickly contain the problem and minimize the expense.