When it comes to the plumbing in your home, knowing how to do simple repairs can save you a lot of time and money. For large problems you’ll probably still want to call in a professional, but there’s no reason you can’t learn to do simple things on your own. These can include things like fixing a leaky pipe, unclogging a drain, repairing or replacing leaky faucets, and changing out a valve in a water line. The more comfortable you get with simple repairs like these, the easier it will be for you to take care of common household plumbing problems.
Plumbers command big money, but there’s a reason for this. Most of them have worked hard to get to where they are now, and they take their jobs seriously. They also know that plumbing problems are often perceived to be difficult to fix and that most people wouldn’t dream of trying to handle it on their own. It’s assumed that homeowners know nothing about plumbing. You don’t have to be one of those homeowners, though. You can do your own plumbing repairs if you’re careful, methodical and take the time to do your research. Understanding what you’re doing and what steps to take in what order is the key to successful plumbing repairs. Also important is taking your time and not rushing the job.
Every good plumber has all of the tools and materials that he needs to do the job right. He might have to go and purchase a part but he’s already got the tools to install it. The homeowner who’s interested in repairing plumbing on his own won’t need as many tools as a plumber, but there are some basics that he should have. These include a basic home tool kit, a sharp knife (such as a utility knife), plumbers’ tape or putty, a pipe wrench, a hacksaw, a small propane torch, a metal file, a plunger and a tubing cutter. Those items will be enough to let you handle the basic repairs, and if you have a larger repair you can decide whether you want to buy more tools and tackle it or whether you want to call a professional.
The main reason that people learn to do their own plumbing repairs is to save money, but there are other reasons, too. They can impress the opposite sex with their skills, as well as impress friends and family members. It can also give them a much-needed boost of confidence to tackle larger and more complex projects. If they can fix a minor plumbing problem they can avoid the wait for a plumber to come to the house, as well.
No matter how skilled you are at fixing minor plumbing issues, you’re not going to be able to handle some plumbing problems unless you actually are a professional plumber. Knowing when to call a plumber–and preferably before something has been “over-repaired” by you–is the mark of a smart and conscientious homeowner. If you damage something trying to repair it and then have to call a plumber it might actually cost you more in the long run. When you’re in over your head with a plumbing problem, it’s better to recognize that before you start tearing things apart to fix them.
Even though you won’t be working in high places or with something like electricity, you can still get injured working on your own plumbing. You could get burned using a propane torch, you could cut yourself on something, or you could get struck with a piece of pipe or other item that you’re trying to remove or install. Be careful and move slowly. Make sure you turn the water off first, either at the nearest cutoff valve or for your entire house. Get your tools and materials ready and think about what you’re doing. Get someone to help you. Like any do-it-yourself project, if you really don’t feel comfortable don’t be a hero–call a professional instead.