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02.1 - when to call the plumbing pros

Plumbing Problems: Which Can You Fix Yourself and When to Call a Pro?

When it comes to your home’s plumbing, it’s common to encounter minor issues like a clogged toilet or a dripping faucet. These seem like easy fixes, leading many homeowners to wonder, “Can I handle this myself?” Well, the answer isn’t always straightforward. Plumbing can be a tricky beast, and tackling the wrong problem could turn a simple annoyance into a costly disaster. In this guide, we’ll break down common plumbing problems, helping you decide whether to roll up your sleeves or call in a pro.

When You Can Be the Hero: DIY Plumbing

While plumbing can be complex, there are a few situations where you can channel your inner handy-person and save the day.

1. Clogged Drain: Plunge Your Way to Victory

Plunge it: For most clogged drains, all you need is a plunger. But don’t use the same plunger you use for the toilet; get one designed for sinks and tubs. Roll it onto the drain instead of pushing it down, and give it some vigorous plunging. If the clog is stubborn, you might need a plumbing snake or some DIY natural solutions.

Plumbing Snake: This nifty tool has a wire you can crank down the drain to clear tougher clogs. You may need to remove the P-trap (that U-shaped pipe under the sink) to get the snake through. Don’t have a snake? A bent coat hanger can do the trick, too.

Natural Solution: Avoid harsh chemicals and use a safe mix of half a cup of baking soda followed by half a cup of vinegar. After a few minutes, pour boiling water down the drain to flush it.

P-trap Removal: Feeling brave? You can remove the P-trap by hand. Just follow the steps carefully. Remove the sink stopper, place a bucket under the drain, unscrew and remove the P-trap, push a wad of paper towel down the drain to the bucket below, ensure the clog is gone, and reattach the P-trap and the sink stopper.

2. Dripping Faucet: A DIY Fix

A dripping faucet is an annoying water-waster. If you’re handy, you can usually tackle this issue.

Worn-out Sink Cartridge: Most faucets have cartridges beneath the handles that control water flow. If these wear out, it can result in dripping. Replacing a worn-out cartridge is typically a simple DIY task. Just shut off the water, remove the faucet handle, swap out the old sink cartridge for a new one, and follow the instructions carefully.

Worn-out Compression Faucet Washer: If you have an older faucet, it might have a compression faucet with a rubber or silicone washer. You can usually replace this with a bit of DIY effort. Remove the handle, unscrew the nut, and replace the washer.

Remember, though, if the issue seems complex or you’re unsure, it’s better to consult a professional plumber.

3. Showerhead Replacement: A DIY Shower Upgrade

If you’re swapping out your old showerhead for a similar one, this is a DIY-friendly task. Follow these steps:

  • Unscrew the Old Showerhead: You can do this by hand or with a wrench.
  • Remove Old Seal Tape: Clean off any old seal tape from the threads.
  • Apply New Seal Tape: Put new seal tape around the threads.
  • Screw on the New Showerhead: Hand-tighten it, and you’re good to go.

However, if you’re going for a more complex replacement or adding high-tech features, it’s better to leave it to the pros.

When to Call in the Cavalry: Plumbing Problems Best Left to the Pros

Not all plumbing issues are DIY-friendly. Attempting the following problems without the right expertise can lead to costly damage.

1. Kitchen Sink Installation: Trust the Experts

Installing a kitchen sink isn’t just tedious; it involves tricky plumbing hookups and potential pipe adjustments. You could also accidentally damage your countertop. For sink installations, rely on licensed professionals to get the job done safely and correctly.

2. Toilet Replacement: Leave it to the Professionals

Replacing a toilet isn’t a simple DIY task. It requires heavy lifting, precise plumbing connections, and careful installation. An incorrectly installed toilet can lead to costly plumbing problems. Hire a professional plumber for toilet replacements and consider adding features like bidets while you’re at it.

3. Gas Line Work: Never DIY

Gas lines are incredibly dangerous if mishandled. Incorrect installation or repair attempts can result in a hazardous gas leak or even an explosion. For any gas line service, always seek out a licensed professional. Whether it’s a new installation or a suspected issue, call your local plumber for gas line services immediately.

More DIY-Friendly Plumbing Problems

Apart from the issues mentioned above, there are a few other plumbing problems you might be able to tackle on your own:

  • Adjusting sink stoppers
  • Handling a clogged toilet
  • Replacing a toilet flapper fill valve
  • Dealing with a garbage disposal jam
  • Insulating pipes
  • Replacing a faucet aerator
  • Caulking
  • Cleaning a faucet head

Nevertheless, if you’re uncertain about how to handle these plumbing problems or suspect a larger issue, it’s always wise to consult a plumbing professional.

Dealing with plumbing issues can be a hassle, and making the wrong move can lead to costly repairs. Don’t risk leaks or extensive damage; rely on the licensed professionals at BJC Clifton Plumbers. You can reach us at (973) 858 5005 or conveniently book an appointment online.

While some plumbing issues are DIY-friendly, it’s essential to know your limits. For complex problems or when in doubt, don’t hesitate to call a professional plumber. Plumbing mistakes can lead to costly repairs and even damage to your home. Invest in the expertise of a trusted plumbing service to ensure your plumbing problems are resolved efficiently and effectively. Your peace of mind and your home’s well-being are worth it.