DIY Plumbing vs Hiring a Professional Plumber – Pros and Cons
- 05 - 03 - 2019
- By Heritage Plumbing
With the use of the Internet, many homeowners have turned to YouTube instructional videos and other sources to learn how to perform basic plumbing repair jobs instead of using a professional plumber.
Some plumbing jobs seem simple enough for a novice to tackle, so very little risk is involved. Small projects such as a leaky faucet, the installation of a new shower head, or unclogging a drain are all relatively simple projects that a DIY homeowner can successfully complete on their own quickly and cheaply. But there are times when some plumbing problems require more extensive work that is not fit for a novice. Although there may be videos that walk you through certain steps, some of the major plumbing problems may have surprises that you have not experienced.
The biggest thing about these kinds of surprises is that there are unknowns that may require you to respond quickly to prevent further damage. In cases such as these, it’s important to know exactly what to do. In addition to that, some plumbing projects actually require a license to complete. Having a license suggests that the person doing the repair work has the knowledge as well as the experience required to repair major plumbing problems that a novice should avoid. It also suggests that they are familiar with basic plumbing codes and regulations.
If you are considering repairing a plumbing problem on your own, there are some things that you should consider first to determine if you should hire a professional plumber or take on a DIY plumbing project.
At Heritage Plumbing Group, we get asked a lot about whether or not homeowners should perform their own plumbing work or use a well-trained professional plumber. In response to these inquiries, below we have provided more information about where to draw the line between taking on DIY plumbing projects versus hiring a professional plumber.
DIY vs. Professional Plumbers:
Where to Draw the Line When Faced With Plumbing Repair Projects
Many homeowners may use cost as a means for determining whether or not they should take on a plumbing job on their own or hire a professional plumber. However, cost should not be the basis for that determination. Why? Because there are several other factors involved that should be taken into consideration other than cost.
We do understand that not all plumbing repairs require the use of a plumber and that taking on DIY projects is not all that bad. Especially when the bulk of the cost associated with major plumbing jobs is labour cost.
As a homeowner, you can purchase the tools and parts needed to perform basic plumbing jobs from local hardware stores. However, the labour associated with professional plumbers is linked to the knowledge they possess and bring to the job site. Their knowledge alone represents years of training, know-how, and experience.
So even though you may be faced with a hefty plumbing bill, you should also consider the advantages that you get when you hire a professional plumber. In most cases, plumbers also guarantee their work. Can you guarantee your work? Can you make a plumbing repair knowing that it’s going to last for a long period of time? Can you identify small problems, that if not addressed can turn into major ones? Maybe, maybe not. There is some uncertainty that comes along with repairing something that’s outside of your primary area of specialty. Think about it, if you are uncertain about any part of a major plumbing job, the results can be very damaging and can result in an even higher cost in the end.
One benefit of hiring a professional plumber is that they tend to know exactly what the problem is and how to solve it. In addition to that, they can often work within your budget and stay on schedule because they work efficiently. Especially if you use the same plumber on a regular basis; they are more familiar with your overall plumbing needs.
Pros and Cons
Based on the above, there are clearly pros and cons associated with taking on plumbing repair projects on your own as opposed to hiring a professional plumber. Let’s take a look at some of the pros and cons of each.
Hiring a Professional Plumber
- Has the skill set and the knowledge to complete projects accurately
- Has the ability to identify other issues such as mould and polybutylene piping
- Has credentials such as a professional plumber‘s license
- Has insurance and is likely bonded
- Has the wherewithal to offer a guarantee on their work
- Can often work within your budget and schedule
- Can identify potential problems before they occur
- Can generally reduce the risk associated with causing more problems due to lack of knowledge
- Is familiar with safety risk and can reduce safety hazards
- May charge a high price for labour
- May charge an additional surplus for parts and material
- Can learn some basic plumbing repair skills by watching simple videos
- Can save money on labour cost
- Can become more self-reliant
- Unable to accurately assess certain plumbing problems
- Unable to determine how severe a plumbing problem may actually be without the assistance of a professional plumber
- Can potentially make more mistakes
- Has a limited skill set
- Is not licensed or bonded
- Is unaware of safety hazards and potential threats
DIY Projects vs. Professional Plumbing Projects
Some homeowners are pretty good at keeping up their homes by making minor repairs. However, sometimes it’s difficult to determine where to draw the line and which plumbing repair jobs to do yourself versus what to allow a professional plumber to do. If you’re struggling with how to best evaluate which plumbing projects you should do on your own and which ones you should save for the professionals, continue reading below for more information. We have a list of projects that are more suitable for the homeowner and for the pro.
Plumbing Projects Most Suitable for Professional Plumbers
External Plumbing Repairs
Some of the more complex plumbing issues are associated with fixtures that run outside of the home and into the ground. Fixtures such as pipes are connected to major water inbound and outbound pipes that are owned by the State Government. These tend to wear out over time due to debris, flooding that lend itself to shifts in the earth, large roots from trees and so forth. Nonetheless, a professional plumber can determine the exact source of the problem, which sometimes involves excavating the land. This job is exceptionally complex and should not be tackled by a novice, but rather by professionals such as Heritage Plumbing Group.
Internal Plumbing Repair Work
Sometimes plumbing problems may not be too apparent and the problem may lie inside certain walls of your home. In cases such as these, when the root of the problem is due to an internal problem like a poorly functioning shower or sink, a professional plumber is certainly needed to assess and tackle the project. First of all, the source of the problem would have to be identified to determine where the plumber should begin the work. Second, the job may also require the assistance of another contractor to repair the wall.
Also keep in mind that when dealing with internal plumbing problems, the problem could also be associated with the floors or the ceilings as well. This is not something that your everyday homeowner should tackle.
Major Renovation Projects
Although most major renovation projects often consist of large assignments, the plumbing job itself could be labour intensive. Particularly projects which involve remodelling such as adding an extra bathroom, or remodelling the kitchen. Whenever there is a major renovation project that involves expanding or remodelling parts of your home, you will likely require plumbing permits and expert plumbing advice.
Major renovation projects also require knowledge and understanding of building codes for your particular location. This is a general requirement to ensure the safety of your home during and after the renovation project. Having a professionally contracted plumber on board will ensure that the plumbing part of the renovation project has been performed properly. This includes any installation or the replacement of various fixtures and that they are well connected according to code and other regulatory requirements.
Some homeowners have sprinkler systems installed to help with the maintenance of their lawn. The installation of a sprinkler system often involves not only a professional landscaper but also a professional plumber who can ensure that all the pipes are placed in the right manner and location, and that they are well-connected. This is even more important for homeowners that have very large properties.
Repairing Broken or Frozen Pipes
Whenever a homeowner experiences a broken or a frozen pipe, that’s the time to call on a professional water plumber.
There are a lot of unknowns involved with broken pipes. Not only do they need to be prepared by a professional, but a professional plumber also needs to determine what caused the pipe to break in the first place. The same applies to frozen pipes. They need to be thawed out correctly to prevent fractures and breakage and further water damage.
Plumbing Projects Most Suitable for Homeowners
Some of the more simplified plumbing projects are those that homeowners can tackle relatively easily. They can quickly learn a few new plumbing skills by watching either YouTube videos or going to a major hardware store that offers assistance or tutorials for easy plumbing projects. Some of the plumbing projects that are more suitable for homeowners include the following that appears in the section below.
Repairing or Replacing Toilet Parts
As a homeowner, you may find that sometimes your toilet stops working properly. This could be due to a variety of reasons such as faulty parts located inside of the tank. Often, these parts wear over time but can be replaced relatively easily. However, these faulty parts can have an impact on whether or not the toilet flushes properly. These types of repairs normally involve seals, chains, the fill valve, etc.
There are also problems that involve a loose and wobbly toilet or toilet seat. Homeowners can find DIY kits that can be purchased from hardware stores that are fully equipped with all the tools and parts needed to repair loose toilet seats and wobbly toilets. However, where you need to replace the entire toilet, you may experience leaks within the walls or the floor which will require the assistance of a professional toilet plumber.
You can always check with your hardware store representative to learn more about DIY kits for toilets that can be performed by the homeowner without the assistance of a professional plumber.
Unclogging Slow Draining Showers And Sinks
Unclogging a slow draining shower or sink can be resolved pretty quickly. There are plenty of items that can be used to clear up a clogged drain that you can find at the local hardware store. To remove unwanted debris that is causing your sink or shower to drain slowly, there are also simple techniques that can be performed as well, such as the use of baking soda, a wire hanger or a plunger in some cases.
There are easy ways to prevent your shower drain or sink from getting clogged in the first place. Simply purchase a drain that traps hair and other debris to prevent it from clogging up your drain. However, if you perform these tasks and still experience slow drainage, you may want to contact a professional drain plumber. There may be more serious issues that a professional plumber needs to address. The issue may be associated with problems that require certain procedures based on building codes and regulations specifically related to drains. A licensed plumber from the Heritage Plumbing Group would be familiar with these codes.
The Installation of a New Faucet
Many homeowners have tackled plumbing projects that involve the installation of a new faucet. Changing a faucet is relatively simple and often does not require the assistance of a professional plumber. Just turn off the water valves for the hot and cold water before you begin, then remove the old faucet and replace it with the new one.
Depending on what type of faucet you’ve purchased, some may include directions or kits that make the installation process easy to follow. Others may require a little bit more research such as going online and finding a video that can walk you through the installation process.
Nonetheless, unless there are other issues, such as damages to the valves, some repair work may be required before the faucets can be replaced correctly.
Another thing to keep in mind is that it’s important for homeowners to make sure the holes that are on the counter or the sink is properly aligned with the new faucet to avoid having to drill additional holes. Other than that, installing a new faucet is a small project that a homeowner can typically accomplish without the need of a professional faucet plumber.
Repairing a Leaky Faucet
If you do not want to replace your faucet, but would rather repair the leak, then simply turn off the water valve under the sink so that all of the water in the system drains. Use a washcloth to cover the drain, then remove any decorative handles or knobs what should expose you to the screw that mounts the faucet handle to the stem. This needs to be unscrewed and removed. While removed, take a look around to see if other parts appear to be in good shape or not. If so, replace the old washers and O-rings with new ones. Also, make sure the new parts that are used are the exact same parts as the old damaged ones. This is to ensure the faucet continues to function appropriately.
When the Homeowner Should Proceed With Caution
Some plumbing projects may be questionable for a novice. In cases such as these, the homeowner should be cautious when approaching certain plumbing repair projects.
Replacing the toilet, although this may seem easy enough, have waste lines and water supply lines that are in a certain position. This makes it relatively easy to replace the old toilet with the new one. However, if for some reason it is not properly aligned or performed correctly, there could be severe consequences for the homeowner. Particularly those that only have one bathroom!
Other plumbing projects that the Homeowner should be cautious about include installing or replacing a dishwasher or garbage disposal, repairing frozen pipes or addressing pipes in a new home. It may contain polybutylene pipes or waste lines that are not properly sloped and not aligned to code and regulations. These issues can only be recognised by a trained plumber.
Although many homeowners take pride in being self-reliant and independent around their homes, the plumbing projects mentioned in this section is where we at Heritage Plumbing Group suggest you draw the line by hiring a professional plumber.
To conclude, plumbing is a major part of your home. As a result, it is important that it functions properly and has few surprises as possible. Small plumbing jobs that go unattended can lead to larger jobs. Therefore, it’s always good to bring in a professional plumber for a basic analysis and maintenance work to prevent major damages from occurring. However, in cases where you can make minor DIY repairs, as a homeowner, you should do so. But hopefully, based on the information provided, you can determine where to draw the line with respect to taking on projects yourself versus hiring a professional plumber.
Have you taken on a DIY plumbing project in the past? If so we’d love to hear about the outcome. Please feel free to share your information in the comments section below.
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