Doing jobs around the house yourself can be a lot of fun. It can teach you new skills, save you money, and help you feel independent. But is it a good idea? Well, that depends on the job— changing a lightbulb or fixing a wooden shelf? Great, go for it! Fixing a toilet that won’t flush? Unblocking a drain? Stop right now, that way lies trouble! Plumbing is high on the list of work you shouldn’t do yourself. Just behind electrical work, which tends to kill people. Of course, the temptation to go DIY is understandable — you want to save money, get the job done now, and feel handy. That’s all fair enough, but the risks are just too great.
Here are 3 reasons why DIY plumbing is never a good idea:
While DIY plumbing won’t kill you (although it might make you very sick) it might try and drown you. Flooding is a very real risk when amateurs try to do the job of professional plumbers. YouTube is full of videos showing how quickly bad plumbing can get out of hand and turn homes into lagoons. Don’t end up going viral yourself!
A simple mistake like using the wrong tool or forgetting to turn off water mains can open the floodgates, and you may struggle to close them again. That means you’ll need to call a plumber anyway, and it’s now going to cost a lot more. You’ll also be looking at additional costs. Think professional cleaners, replacing carpet and furniture, and paying for electrical work if your home’s wiring is affected. If water ends up pooling in unseen areas of your home, you’ll be looking at long-term problems like pervasive mould, rotting wood, and damaged cement.
Specialised repairs require specif tools and, when it comes to something as simple as a blocked drain, there are a number of unique tools you need to do the job right.
Things like pipe cutters, tube cutters, hydro jets, pipe benders and sabre saws. Almost no one who isn’t a licensed plumber has all these on hand, and they’re not cheap.
If you just substitute other tools you have lying around, you run the risk of damaging your plumbing and causing more problems than you already have. So, unless you’re going to invest thousands of dollars in specialist equipment and the training to use it, you should just call a plumber. In the end, you can’t substitute the knowledge and experience of a licensed plumber.
Even if you’ve made a hobby of collecting plumbing tools or some reason, that doesn’t mean you know how to correctly diagnose and address a plumbing issue. In the internet age, it’s easy to forget that a ‘how to’ article or video tutorial aren’t substitutes for years of experience and expertise in the field.
Even simple things like a blocked drain and running toilets can be symptomatic of a range of different problems. Sophisticated methods such as CCTV inspections may be needed to identify the cause. If you just go with your first assumption or rely on Google, there’s a solid chance you’ll come to the wrong conclusion. That means you’ll spend time and money trying to fix thing yourself, only to find the problem remains or gets worse!
Something people don’t think about is what happens when DIY work around the house goes wrong? Either now or in the future. If you attempt to fix something that by law can only be completed by a licensed plumber, then damage that is related or even unrelated can void your insurance policy. Even though you might be saving money, the risk you take can be costly in the long run.
For peace of mind that the job is done right and that the extra money spent for a professional who has the tools and knowledge will assure that you’re not at risk down the track.