Plumbing repairs around the home are an inevitability. All it takes is time, before one thing or the other requires attention. It has nothing to do with the quality of the plumbing installation, rather, it is a result of normal wear and tear. Most plumbing repairs in the home are simple, but this does not mean that they are necessarily an easy fix. Some will be easy for you to fix by yourself, while there are simple repairs for which you must have to contact a professional plumber.
One important issue to consider before you engage in a plumbing repair is local building standards and codes. These can vary from place to place, so it depends on the area where you live. A licensed professional plumber will definitely know all these standards that he is meant to adhere to, so you as DIY plumber would be better off by also getting informed. The reason is simply to avoid any costly future repair jobs, for example, if you decide to sell your home and it fails an inspection, because your repair jobs were not standards compliant.
When To Call A Professional
No matter how enthusiastic you are about carrying out any plumbing repair, or how good a handyman that you are, there will always be plumbing jobs that are better left for licensed professionals. The following are some of these:
– Gas Plumbings
Any plumbing work that has to do with gas, should be avoided and contracted to an expert. In most places in fact, even normal plumbers need an extra certification in order to do gas plumbing. As a responsible DIY plumber, simply delegate any gas plumbing repair.
– Inner Wall Plumbing
Inner wall plumbing repairs are another type of repair jobs that should be contracted out to a professional plumber. The reason is because inner-wall plumbing repairs can, and do easily get complicated.
Except you have a good understanding of drainages, you should also leave their repair to a professional.
– Machine Installations
With machine installations like the dishwasher, water heater and laundry machines, you can try your hand at them if you are well versed in such a technology, else, simply leave the plumbing repair job for a professional plumber.
Common DIY Plumbing Repairs
Apart from the individual cases listed above, where plumbing repair jobs are better left for the plumbing professional, there are a wide variety of other simple and straightforward repairs that can be easily taken care of by any DIY plumber. Following is a list of the most popular ones:
– Unclogging Toilets
Unclogging a toilet can be a very messy affair that most DIY plumbers will even shy away from, and pay someone else to do it. If you do decide to unclog a toilet by yourself, then you should know how to use a plunger well. Most people leave plenty of air inside the plunger cup, and this is a big mistake, because air is compressible. In order for the plunger to work effectively, you have to compress mostly water, which is not compressible. So always make sure that you have as little air as possible in your plunger cup. The plunger can also be used in unclogging showers, sinks and bathtubs, just make sure to cover any overflow drain, where applicable.
– Repairing Plumbing leaks
Leaks are another leading type of plumbing repair jobs that often come up around the house. Leaks may develop from faucets, shower heads, toilet tanks e.t.c. The solution for fixing each particular leak will depend on the situation. You may need to change a washer in a faucet, or simply seal a pipe to stop the leak, and in other situations, a complete change might be necessary.
– Repairing or changing Shower Heads
Shower heads are also frequent plumbing problems. Just like other types of leaks, a shower plumbing repair might simply require sealing, or a complete change of the head.
– Repairing Burst Pipes
There are many reasons why a pipe may burst, but the repair process will depend on the material used to make the pipe. Copper pipes for example can be welded, while pvc pipes can be glued, taped or even completely removed.
– Garden Hose
The Garden hose can sometimes develop a leak, either because of a punctured pipe or the fault could be from the faucet. A teflon tape can be used effectively in sealing a hose head to the faucet, for those that use screws, while others may need just a washer change. If the hose itself is punctured, then it is better to cut off the area with scissors, and install a hose repair kit consisting of a coupler and two clamps. This is usually the best solution for repairing a punctured garden hose.
– Changing a Toilet
This one is not for everyone, but some DIY plumbers will definitely attempt to completely change their water closet toilet by themselves, if the need arises. Such a plumbing repair job is way over the heads of most hobby plumbers, so if you don’t feel sure about changing the toilet by yourself, then call a professional.
– Installing a Garbage Disposal System
One additional project that any DIY or hobby plumber can attempt is the installation of a garbage disposal system under his or her kitchen sink, that is, if it was not there already. A garbage disposal system helps to break down all types of solid items that are disposed of from the kitchen sink. By tearing up all the items into tiny pieces, and flushing them down the drain with enough water, garbage disposal systems help to preserve the longevity of your drainage.
The Causes of certain Plumbing Issues
The following are common plumbing issues and their causes:
– Faucet leaks
Faucet leaks are usually caused by either worn out washers, high water pressure and worn out cartridges.
– Blocked Drains
Blocked drains may be caused by hard objects that have gotten stuck inside the drainage, or by toiletries like tampons and baby nappies, by accumulated grease and also by hair.
– Clogged Toilets
These are almost always caused by solid objects like food items that got flushed down the toilet, or by other solid items like paper, tampons, hair e.t.c. The problem with clogged toilets is that unclogging them can be quite a messy plumbing repair job sometimes, so all possible care should be taken to avoid clogging the toilet. This simply means avoiding the bad habit of flushing things down the toilet.
Although much money is saved by doing things by yourself, most DIY hobbyists and handymen usually do it for the emotional satisfaction. When you choose to do your plumbing repair by yourself, you will surely save some money, as well as get the corresponding emotional satisfaction, which many DIY hobbyists crave. Remember though, that certain jobs are better left for professional plumbers. This is because once you have caused a much larger mess, by trying your hand at a problem above your skill-set, then you can kiss your emotional satisfaction goodbye.