There's a fine balance when it comes to plumbing repairs. On the one hand, if you do it yourself, you can save a lot of money, learn something about your home systems and feel the satisfaction of a job well done. On the flip side, if you mess up a repair, you can potentially turn a simple problem into a plumbing emergency and add extensive water damage to your eventual repair bill. It's crucial to be able to distinguish a simple job that you can take on yourself from a situation where you need to call in a plumber right off the bat.
An Honest Reckoning of Skill
The most important factor when you're deciding whether to call a plumber is your own handiness and experience. If you built your own house and installed all the pipes yourself, you're probably prepared to take on any and all challenges. If you've never picked up a wrench, however, you might want to think twice before tackling anything more difficult than a leaky faucet.
Of course, even with no experience, you can do some jobs on your own. The key is to know when to stop before you make things worse. Among the tasks that even a complete amateur might be able to complete:
- A Clogged Drain: These are usually simple jobs that you can resolve with a plunger or a plumbing snake. More importantly, it's hard to make things worse even if you fail to clear the clogged drain.
- A Leaky Faucet: This is a trickier job and requires some rudimentary plumbing tools, but as long as you remember to shut off the water supply before you start and follow directions carefully, you might be able to repair a leaky faucet on your own even if you don't have any experience as a plumber.
- A Maladjusted Sink Stopper: Another relatively easy task that only requires a pair of pliers. Plus, the repair is in the drain, not the pipe that supplies the water, so you're more limited in the damage you can cause in the event of a disaster.
Let the Plumber Bail You Out
After you master the basics and expand your skill set a bit, you might feel comfortable taking on more complicated jobs. However, you still need to know your limits. For jobs that require going into the walls, involve issues with the water heater or present problems with the sewer line, you will almost always need professional help. Plus, another benefit to hiring a plumber is that he or she is more likely to spot problems that you could overlook, like outdated pipe materials or mold under the sink.
Always remember – there's no shame in calling a plumber if you get in over your head on even the most simple repairs. It's better to suck it up and get help from a professional than to perform a shoddy or incomplete job that creates more trouble down the road. When you need a helping hand, call your local plumber right away.