An Atlanta plumber answers this, and other DIY questions.
As a local Atlanta plumber, I’m often asked by friends and family which types of jobs require a professional, versus those which only need a bit of internet surfing and a trip to the hardware store. Most homeowners have done a lot of DIY projects around the house over the years, and plumbing is certainly no exception. Replacing a shower head or unclogging a drain are all things most average homeowners do without a second thought. But where should you draw the line?
Well, it depends.
You might not have the skills or tools required to complete a job, even if it’s seemingly quite simple. On the other hand, whatever you’re doing may also require certification at some point (say, if and when you decide to sell your house). If the job wasn’t professionally done the first time, you might be required to have a licensed professional come and fix it anyway.
With all of that in mind, here’s how I would recommend you go about determining whether or not to call a pro.
Do-It-Yourself? Or Plumbing Professional?
Plumbers generally bill their time by the hour, in addition to a service call fee for an initial visit and assessment. While your final bill may include some materials, it’s relatively rare for them to comprise a significant amount if the fix wasn’t anything too crazy. Depending on the project, it may be more cost-effective for you to do it yourself; especially if the problem is somewhere easily accessed (i.e. not behind your walls!).
However, this approach only works if you have a skill set, familiarity and basic knowledge of the tools you’ll be using. In some cases, improper installation may end up doing more harm than good, turning a $100 problem-fix into a $1,000 repair bill. Hiring a professional helps eliminate this risk, and also has the added benefit of leveraging professional expertise to troubleshoot anything else that might be going on with your plumbing system.
And whatever you do, please, please, please make sure you know where your water shut-off valve is before getting started!
Common DIY Plumbing Projects
Here are a few of the projects you may be able to tackle on your own. However, if you don’t feel confident, don’t hesitate to call a pro and have them come out. Then, pay attention to what they’re doing so you can gain confidence to try it the next time.
Do you need a plumber to install a faucet?
This task is one of the easier plumbing fixes most homeowners decide to take on. Faucets are readily available at the local hardware store, and there are a plethora of DIY guides and installation instructions available for people to use.
PRO TIP: Pay attention to the configuration setup of your counter; it will help narrow your faucet choice at the store, and save you the trouble of trying to drill brand new holes in your sink.
How do you replace an old rubber washing machine hose?
Over time, hoses have a tendency to wear out. If one of those suckers ends up bursting, it can flood your floors in no time, and cause incalculable damage; especially if you aren’t home when it happens! To replace a hose, simply get a new set of burst-proof hoses from the hardware store, and then follow the installation instructions.
PRO TIP: Be sure and turn off the water and unplug the washing machine before you get started. Also, have a bucket handy for tossing in the old, water-filled hoses.
What should you do if your toilet won’t stop running?
When your toilet is continuously running, or you’re finding yourself jiggling the handle to get it to stop, chances are good there’s something wrong with the inner basics. There are plenty of DIY repair and replacement kits available at the hardware store, and very few tools required to get the job done.
PRO TIP: Make sure you know what kind of flap and handle system your toilet has before going to the hardware store. This should also include the arm measurement or distance from the handle to the flapper.
Plumbing Projects Requiring Professional Assistance
If you find yourself facing any of these scenarios, be sure and call a professional for help.
- Home remodels and renovations
- Leaks inside the walls
- Plugged sewer lines
- Installing a sprinkler system
- Repairing a sump pump
- Replacing major fixtures such as showers, toilets, and sinks
In Need of a Little Plumbing Help in Mid-Town Atlanta?
If you think you’re in need of an Atlanta plumber, don’t wait; contact our team of plumbing experts at Morningside today at 404-873-1881.