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Plumbing Repairs: When to Call a Plumber and When to DIY

plumber with white pipe, tools on floor, blue tools, white toilet

Written by

Dan Walker graduated with a BS in Administrative Management in 2005 and has been working in his family’s insurance agency, FCI Agency, for 15 years. He is licensed as an agent to write property and casualty insurance, including home, auto, umbrella...

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Reviewed byDaniel Walker
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UPDATED: May 5, 2020

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When you have an issue with your plumbing, it can be difficult to assess whether or not it’s a repair you can do yourself.

If you’re trying to save money on your plumbing repairs, sometimes the only affordable solution is to do them yourself. But, there are some repairs that are too dangerous or risky to do unless you are a qualified plumber.

What are the repairs you need to call a plumber for? What repairs can you DIY? Let’s take a look!

Plumbing Repairs that Require a Plumber

Plumbing is not one of the most physically demanding jobs, so you may think repairing a plumbing job yourself isn’t beyond your abilities. It can be exhausting, however, if the job is too large.

You also run the risk of further damage if you attempt a job that is out of your skill set, which is why it’s important to know when to contact your local plumber.

Unless you’re an professional yourself, there are many repairs that you should be calling an experienced plumber to do for you.

In fact, if you decide to tackle a job yourself, you may make things worse and end up skyrocketing your home insurance policy premiums. Think before taking on the jobs yourself. Of course, this depends on the repair you need and what insurance policy you have.

Some repairs you need to call a plumber for include, but aren’t limited to:

  • Frozen pipes
  • Gas leaks
  • Lack of in-home water
  • Undetectable leaks
  • Clogged sewer lines

Anytime these plumbing emergencies happen, you should not do anything that involves taking apart or repairing the pipes. Doing something like this yourself may exacerbate the problem more than help. And you may unintentionally cause more damage to your home.

According to Richard Dickson, CEO of Dickson Plumbing LLC:

“Anytime there is damage to a pipe, a pump isn’t working right, or other concerning things are happening with your plumbing, you shouldn’t try to fix it yourself. In some cases, there are things you can do to help minimize damage to your home, and help the plumber out before they get to the site. But unless you know what you’re doing, the best thing to do for most plumbing emergencies is to call a plumber and ask.”

If you’d really like to help prevent any secret dangers in your home from suddenly making themselves known, the best thing you can do is be diligent with your home’s maintenance and use common sense.

man with plunger plunging toilet, yellow rubber gloves, sponge, white toilet

Plumbing Repairs that You Can Do Yourself

Of course, there will inevitably be plumbing issues that you can fix yourself. Lots of these home repairs could save you money. There are a variety of small “repairs” that most people are able to do on their own without calling a plumber out. But you should always resort to calling a professional if you’re not completely comfortable doing the task at hand.

What are a few plumbing repairs that you can do yourself and save money on? Let’s find out!

#1 – Replacing Your Bathroom Caulking

With something as simple as replacing your old, cracked bathroom caulk, it would make sense for you to try it yourself. All the materials you need are easily accessible in stores, and all of the instructions you could hope for are available online and in books. You have everything handy to do this job yourself!

When replacing your own caulking, make sure that you have all of the materials you need ahead of time.

Also, be sure to keep a clean, clear workspace whenever possible. You should call a plumber if you have any leaks as a result of the caulk you put in. Don’t try to fix an unsuccessful caulk job if you begin to feel unsure about what you’re doing.

#2 – Unclogging a Simple Drain

Sometimes unclogging a drain can be as simple as taking a plunger to the drain site and giving the clog a few good “plunges”. If this is the case, that’s great! It’s a really simple thing that you have the ability to do yourself as long as you have a plunger.

Most of the time, you don’t have to call a plumber every single time a drain gets clogged. In fact, it would just be a waste of money to call every time this happens.

If the problem can’t be fixed with a plunger, auger, or drain snake, do not resort to pouring down erosive drain cleaners.

These can eat away at your pipes and cause serious problems in the future. Worst of all they are bad for the environment. Call a plumber if the drain won’t come unclogged from plunging or simple non-chemical repair methods.

#3 – Replacing a Leaky Faucet

When your faucet is leaking, it can be really stressful. Constantly hearing the sink drip can keep you awake all night. Luckily, depending on the design of your faucet, you may have the ability to replace, or even fix it. There are tons of materials online that can show you how to fix your faulty faucet. There should also be installation directions that come with the replacement you get.

If you’re not sure how to go about ordering a new faucet or what kind of faucet to get, you can always call a plumber to come to assess the situation and give you information.

Better yet, you can have them install the faucet for you when it comes in. If at any time you feel uncomfortable with the “do-it-yourself” replacement, you should call a professional for help.

woman with long brown hair, blue shirt, running faucet, man helping, blue apron

Save Money & Time by Knowing When to Call the Pros

You should always leave your plumbing emergencies to be dealt with by plumbing professionals. Generally, most people have to call out a plumber for any plumbing repair, and there’s nothing wrong with that! But sometimes, just knowing what to do and when to do it can be the difference between calling a plumber and saving hundreds.

Author Bio:
Whitney VanNostrand is an avid horse rider and home improvement writer for Dickson Plumbing LLC, a plumbing company in Elizabeth City, NC.

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