Quick and easy plumbing fixes like a toilet clog or faucet aerator replacement can often be DIYed. Because of this, many homeowners wonder what else can be easily fixed without the help of a plumber.
The truth is: not much.
Plumbing is a complex system, and DIYing can quickly lead to disaster in the form of leaks or more costly repairs.
Learn more about which common plumbing problems can be DIYed, and which should not.
Common Plumbing Problems and Whether You Can DIY
When it comes to plumbing, DIYing isn’t often recommended. When done incorrectly, plumbing repairs or installation can lead to more costly plumbing issues or even hazardous sewage backups.
That being said, some simple tasks don’t require much expertise.
Related Content: 8 Essential Tools for DIY Plumbing
Can I DIY a Clogged Drain?
It depends on the severity of the clog, but usually, yes! Most clogged drains can be cleared with a plunger, a plumbing snake, a natural drain cleaning solution, or by removing the P-trap to pull out the clog.
- Drain plunger. Unlike a regular toilet plunger, a drain plunger has a shorter handle and a flat, narrow cup. When placing a drain plunger, roll it onto the drain instead of applying it straight down. This way, you don’t trap any additional air. Then, fill the sink slightly with water and begin plunging up and down until it becomes easier to pump. This is usually when the clog has loosened or cleared.
- Toilet plunger. While you can also use a regular toilet plunger for the job, we don’t recommend cross-contaminating, especially between your toilet and kitchen sink.
- Plumbing snake. If a plunger doesn’t work, you can try using a plumbing snake. This tool has a steel wire attached to a handle that you crank to push the wire down into the pipe. You may need to remove the P-trap or drain to get your snake through. If you don’t have a snake, a bent coat hanger works, too!
- Natural solution. Never use harmful commercial drain cleaners! Instead, use a safe solution of ½ cup of baking soda + ½ cup of vinegar. After a few moments, pour a few cups of boiling water down the drain to move the clog.
- P-trap removal. The last option is to remove the clog by hand. To do so, follow these steps:
- Remove the sink stopper.
- Place a bucket beneath the sink drain. Unscrew and remove the P-trap (the U-shaped part connecting the waste pipe and sink drain).
- Take a wadded-up piece of paper towel, and using a wire or screwdriver, push it down the sink drain to the bucket below.
- Check to make sure the clog is cleared and wipe out the P-trap.
- Reattach the P-trap and the sink stopper.
Follow these additional DIY tips for clearing a clogged drain.
Can I DIY a Dripping Faucet?
This is usually a DIY-safe fix. However, you'll have to determine first what’s causing the leak. The common culprits are:
- Worn-out sink cartridge. Most single or double-handle faucets have cartridges beneath the handles that control water flow. If these wear out, it can result in dripping. In most cases, this is usually as simple as shutting off the water, removing the faucet handle and the old sink cartridge, and inserting a new one. However, it’s best to review the instructions first and determine whether the job would be better for a professional. Some mistakes can result in damaging the faucet.
- Worn-out compression faucet washer. This rubber or silicone washer stops the water flow when the faucet handle is turned off. While there are usually a few more parts to remove, you can remove the handle, then unscrew the nut and replace the washer.
In some cases, the leak may be a result of a damaged valve, a water pressure issue, or even a broken faucet. For these types of faucet repairs, contact your nearest plumbing expert.
Can I Install a Kitchen Sink Myself?
We don’t recommend it. Installing a kitchen faucet is not only a tedious process, but it also requires careful plumbing hookup and potential plumbing pipe installations or adjustments. Another issue you may run into when placing a new sink is potential damage to your countertop.
If you need a sink installed, count on the licensed experts at your local Benjamin Franklin Plumbing. Not only can we install the sink, but we can also help you determine the best option to fit your space and needs.
Can I DIY Showerhead Installation?
It depends. If you’re simply replacing the showerhead with the same or similar type of showerhead, then DIYing is fairly straightforward. You can follow these steps to install a new showerhead:
- Unscrew the showerhead, by hand or using a wrench, from the shower arm.
- Remove the existing seal tape and clean off the threads.
- Apply new seal tape around the threads.
- Screw on the new showerhead.
However, if you’re fully replacing the showerhead and arm or installing additional technology upgrades, we don’t recommend you tackle the job yourself. Call our plumbing pros for showerhead services.
Should I Replace My Toilet Myself?
No. Replacing a toilet requires a lot of heavy lifting and a careful plumbing hookup. Incorrectly installing a new toilet can lead to expensive damage to your plumbing system.
With a plumbing professional, you guarantee your toilet installation will be done correctly, and that any additional plumbing issues will be spotted before installation. Our professional plumbers can also install additional features, such as bidets.
Can I DIY a Gas Line Repair or Installation?
A definite no. You should never DIY any issue related to your gas lines. As you can imagine, improper installation or repair attempts can lead to a dangerous gas leak or even an explosion. For this reason, any type of gas line service always requires a licensed professional. Whether you need a new gas line installed or suspect there’s an issue with an existing connection, call your local plumber for gas line services.
What Plumbing Problems Can I DIY?
Aside from the OK’d DIY plumbing issues mentioned above, here are a few other problems you can probably fix yourself:
- Sink stopper adjustment
- Clogged toilet
- Toilet flapper fill valve replacement
- Disposal jam
- Pipe insulation
- Faucet aerator replacement
- Faucet head cleaning
Regardless, if you’re uncertain how to tackle these plumbing issues, or you suspect a larger problem is to blame, always rely on a plumbing professional first!
Related Content: 3 Plumbing Fixes to DIY (& 3 Times You Should Call a Plumber)
Dealing with Plumbing Issues? Count on Benjamin Franklin Plumbing
When dealing with most plumbing issues, don’t risk costly repairs or leaks. Instead, count on the licensed professionals at your local Benjamin Franklin Plumbing. Call us at 1-877-BEN-1776 or book an appointment online.