Plumbing is some of the most basic, and potentially expensive, work you can do on your home.
Many DIYers and handymen alike wonder how far they can take their own plumbing work. Always remember that poorly plumbed pipework can be a major negative factor on the value of your home.
Follow this guide to learn what tasks you should and shouldn’t pursue when doing DIY plumbing.
The DIY movement is stronger than ever, and many people take great joy in personally doing work on their homes. For plumbing tasks, it’s important to keep your comfort zone and the inherent risks of plumbing in mind.
If you’re just doing basic work on existing pipes there usually isn’t an issue with DIYing it. Once issues become more complex though, it may be time to call in the professionals. Anytime you’re dealing with pipefitting, you should definitely avoid DIYing it.
DIY work is cheaper than hiring a professional. After all, you’re only paying for materials and contributing all the labor yourself. DIYing also allows you to do a job exactly the way you’re picturing it in your mind. There’s nothing worse than paying to have an inadequately understood design executed.
Many people enjoy working on their home. It gives them a sense of pride and accomplishment to know that they built something with their own two hands. For others, it’s a way to keep skills they learned when they were younger sharp.
If you don’t already have experience working with plumbing, it’s easy to mess something up. Unlike with a kitchen cabinet or hanging some sheetrock, a poorly plumbed pipe can cause significant damage to your home. If you plan to sell your home anytime soon you’ll likely need permits and approved designs for any major modifications.
You absolutely don’t want to find out years after you do a DIY that you’ll have to rip everything out and replace it to get up to code. Any savings you saw by doing the work yourself will be lost in the demolition and a complete do-over of the work.
When Can You DIY?
If you’re doing simple plumbing basics like plumbing in a toilet or washing machine, go right ahead. That basically involves moving something around and attaching standardized connectors to existing pipes. Any time you’re looking at adding or replacing pipes though, it’s probably a good idea to get a professional in.
Dealing with the sewer system or the main water pipe to your home should always be left to the professionals. The same applies if you’re replacing a tub or shower. There are numerous seals that need to be put properly in place to prevent leaks from developing.
If you’re replacing a water heater you absolutely need to get it done professionally. Depending on whether you go gas or electric you could be looking at numerous primary, secondary, and safety connections.
It will cost more, but you’ll have the added comfort of knowing the job was done right.
Licensed plumbers, such as those at Dignity Plumbing, have years of training and experience behind them. They know all the tricks of the trade and can help you choose the best and most cost-effective materials for your job. They also have relationships with suppliers and local workers that can help you save money and get better quality work.
Any reputable plumber will also be fully bonded in case of an issue or parts failure. This gives you the peace of mind in knowing that their work is guaranteed and financially backed up.
Professional plumbers can give you all the plumbing help you need. They know exactly how to properly seal and position different types of pipes and can help you decide on important things like insulation. This is especially true if you’re doing any kind of renovation to your home.
There’s a good chance you’ll need to pull permits in order for the work to be up to code. A professional plumber can handle all of that and ensure that the work is done properly. This prevents you from discovering expensive errors down the road.
Plumbers are expensive. No matter what kind of deal you get it always going to be more expensive to hire someone than it is to do the work yourself. It can sometimes be difficult to find a good plumber for what you’re looking for. Most plumbers are professionals who take great pride in their work. Unfortunately, there are bad apples in every career field.
Always make sure to research any plumber you’re considering hiring. You should look for things like testimonials and examples of previous work. As a general rule, accepting the absolute lowest bid isn’t the greatest idea. If there’s a general price in your area hiring someone for half that might not work out for you.
When Should You Hire a Professional?
You should always start by considering your comfort zone when thinking about DIYing anything. If you find yourself even a little hesitant about it, it’s time to call the professionals.
For plumbing, in particular, you should avoid any kind of pipefitting, major repairs, or significant changes when DIYing. There are specific types of pipe and connector for different jobs. Best case scenario you do it wrong and have to change it later. Worst case, you flood your home.
If you’re experiencing significant drain or toilet issues it’s a good idea to have a plumber investigate. It could just be a standard clog, or it could be indicative of a major issue. Always have it checked out by a professional to avoid an expensive repair down the road.
Balance Costs and Benefits
When you’re considering a DIY plumbing job, make sure to compare the cost savings to the risks and benefits. Doing the work yourself could save you a lot of money. But it can also leave you open to a water leak or major pipe damage.
If you would like help finding a licensed plumber in your area, check out our comprehensive listing of plumbers.