In the land of home ownership – and thus home improvement – there are a myriad of repairs and upgrades to be made. You’ll be handling everything from decor to utility troubles. In the interest of saving a little money (something any homeowner can get behind) the tendency is to take on certain jobs yourself. This is all well and good when your skills are apt for the task at hand. But when the challenge before you requires a little more skill and knowledge, attempting to do something that isn’t in your wheelhouse is risky. Not only do you face the chance of making a mistake, but that mistake could cost you more than you thought you’d save by going the DIY route in the first place. Plumbing is one of those murky areas. Some jobs are well within your capabilities, others are not. We’re here to steer you in the right direction of when to hire a plumber and when to manage yourself.

The Two Types
Yes, in general plumbing is plumbing. If someone claims to be a plumber, you can trust them with pretty much any job. There are, however, two categories of plumbers: repairs and remodeling. Self-explanatory in name, so be sure you’re hiring the right plumber for the job. Leaks, drain issues, and the like don’t need someone who specializes in more structural based plumbing work. Granted, they could do the job, but they may not offer it as a service since their time is focused on remodeling and renovation work.

DIY Plumbing
It’s Saturday morning and your toddler has loaded half a roll of toilet paper into your toilet bowl. Not the end of the world, and probably not worth the weekend rate for a plumber. You and your plunger can handle this one. You could also switch out your faucet fixture or the ballcock in your toilet. Any home improvement store that sells parts and tools for these types of jobs also has the invaluable resource of knowledgeable employees who can walk you through the steps and also pitfalls to avoid. If you have a trusted plumber and a good relationship with them, as a regular customer, they may be open to giving you advice as well.

Danger Will Robinson
So when do you want to hire a plumber? You could hire a plumber for every occasion – remember it helps build rapport and trust. But outside of simple clogs and leaks (from the faucet, not pipes) it’s really best to leave it to the pros. For example, if you’re replacing the PVC in your sink and you apply too much pressure it could cause the PVC to burst. Just because the part you’re replacing is cheap doesn’t mean it can’t go horribly wrong and turn into a major expense.

You also want to leave any type of remodeling and renovating plumbing jobs to the pros. Your general contractor most likely has a trusted plumber he or she turns to when it’s time to focus on the water works. In the case of a renovation such as a room addition or conversion, everything will be new. Codes and regulations alone are enough to scare away any DIY-er. Plumbers often need to be certified, licensed, and insured. If you don’t tick any of those boxes, you don’t need to be attempting these tasks.

When it comes down to brass tax, use your best discretion. When in doubt, hire out. For the repairs end of this dilemma, it’s best to call the pros when you can so that you begin building a solid client relationship with your plumber. They will soon become a trusted asset to your homeowner arsenal. One that will always steer you in the right direction with their work and advice.