When faced with a plumbing issue there are two types of people. The first thinks “oh,no, I’ll have to call a plumber”. The second thinks, “pass the wrench”.
There are always pros and cons to weigh out when it comes to any project and plumbing is no different.
Here are a few things to consider before you reach for either the phone or the toolbox.
Pros of DIY Plumbing Repair
It takes years of training and a wealth of knowledge and skills to be a professional plumber and so they command a reasonable compensation for their efforts.
That being said, if the task is relatively straightforward, say tightening a nut or fitting a tap, does it really require all that much knowledge? There are significant potential savings to be made by handling minor tasks yourself.
There’s also a reasonable chance tha you may even be able to save on parts as well as labor by shopping around.
Learning and Skills Development
There’s something undeniably satisfying about developing a new skillset whatever it might be. It feels good to see a problem and know how to fix it.
We live in a time when most of us carry the sum-total of all human knowledge around in our pockets. This means that it’s never been easier to pick up a new skill. YouTube videos, DIY forums and tutorials put basic plumbing know-how within reach of anyone.
There’s also a lot to be said for the simple joy of knowledge for the sake of knowledge. You may never need that skill again but it’s always good to be able to demonstrate it on demand.
No matter how quick a professional plumber might be, unless they happen to be your roommate, they can’t get there as quickly as you can.
When water is flowing where it shouldn’t be, every second counts. Being able to fix the issue yourself means that you’re never left waiting for someone who may be across town, overbooked or simply clocked off to arrive as your feet get wet.
There’s also the issue of convenience, or rather the inconvenience, when waiting for repairs. It’s not until you have to go without for a few hours that you really realize just how much we rely on access to our plumbing.
Control Over the Project
When you DIY, you have total control. You pick the parts, the timing and the process of your repair to suit yourself rather than squeeze in around someone else’s preferences.
IF you’ve got a particular technique you’ve seen and want to try out, you’re the boss. There’s no need to worry about someone cost-cutting with cheaper parts and materials because you do the shopping.
Best of all, when you DIY it, there’s no need to take time off work to wait around for tradesmen- when you’re your own boss, you set the schedule.
The Cons Of DIY Plumbing Repair
Potential For Mistakes
As stated in the first of this list’s pros, plumbing is a skilled job and sometimes there’s just no substitute for the experience a seasoned pro can bring to a job.
Even fairly simple tasks like replacing a joint has the potential to go wrong. An overtightened nut or a misaligned ferrule can lead to a simple task becoming a major repair.
When in doubt, it’s always a good idea to get someone who knows what they’re doing. If the worst does happen, a professional plumber will have insurance coverage.
A major part of a plumber’s training revolves around building codes and ensuring that any installation they carry out is as safe as possible. Water can cause serious damage when it gets out and gas can kill.
Calling in a trained professional means you have a guarantee that any work undertaken will be up to code, meaning that you and your property aren’t exposed to any unnecessary risks.
The peace of mind that comes from having someone who knows their trade working on sensitive systems is not to be underestimated.
Lack of Specialized Tools
While there are costs to be saved by doing it yourself when it comes to plumbing they can vanish if you don’t have a properly stocked toolbox.
A professional plumber who is doing these things day in, day out will have all kinds of items in his box of tricks. Some of them might just make life a little easier but others are absolute necessities.
There’s simply no workaround for needing a blow-torch for soldering a joint or CO2 freezing equipment when turning a shut off valve isn’t an option.
On top of your savings being wiped out by having to buy a whole suite of new tools, you also have to consider the time it takes to obtain the skills they require for effective use.
Voiding Warranties and Insurance Issues
Should the worst happen and your DIY repair goes wrong, causing more serious damage, there’s a good chance your insurance company will view any claim you submit with suspicion.
Appliances can be damaged by incorrect installation or water pressure that’s too high or too low. Almost every warranty contains a clause that protects the manufacturer against claims originating from user error or incorrect use.
When you hire a plumber, these issues are much less likely and, on the rare occasion they do happen, you’ll be covered by their insurance rather than your own.
When to Call a Professional
While there are a wealth of tasks that are well within the grasp of the average DIYer, there are some that should only really be handled by the experts.
If you’re ever unsure of your ability to handle a task or there’s a safety concern involved, a trained professional is only ever a phone call away.
So, should you tackle that drip yourself? That’s really up to you to decide.
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