Closeup of man trying to fix the pipes

Why DIY Plumbing Is A Bad Idea

The surge of both online information and better connectivity has made do-it-yourself projects more popular than ever before. From restoring furniture to constructing your own tiny home, various DIY videos and articles make people feel more capable to be their own handyman. And indeed, there are few endeavours quite equal to DIY home improvements in making us feel a liberating sense of empowerment. In some cases, DIY can also save you a lot of money and frustration – but this isn’t always the case. 

All things, after all, are best taken in moderation – including DIY home projects. So where do we draw the line? Well, as foreshadowed by the title, plumbing should definitely be excluded from your DIY list. And after reading this article, you’ll be very happy to put down the toolbox and just pick up the phone to call in the experts. Let’s get started!

Diagnosing Problems are Best Left to the Experts 

In Canada, plumbing apprenticeship training programs generally involve 12 months of technical training, on-the-job training, and a final certificate exam. And this is just to get their career started. To be a master in the trade, it can take further training and years of hands-on experience. By the end of it all, an experienced plumber becomes familiar with recent technologies and standardizing, as well as having better knowledge to deduce plumbing problems. This latter skill is something that DIY videos may never be able to impart. 

In many ways, plumbing is like the veins of your house. Similar to the circulatory system of the human body, symptoms may show up but there could be one or more problems that are causing it. And then there’s the added challenge of not being able to see the entire plumbing network as it is hidden under walls and floors. Here are some examples:

Leaking Toilet

For instance, your toilet could be leaking. There’s more than one probable cause for this. It could be because of a leaking supply line, a broken wax seal, a damaged toilet tank, fill valve problems, and more. 

Leaking Pipe

Another more common example is a leaking pipe. Though it looks more straightforward than the leaking toilet, there could also be a number of deeper problems that are causing it. Leaking pipes could be because of broken seals, clogging, corrosion, damaged pipe joints, intruding tree roots, and more. In some cases, it could even be more than one problem at once. 

So if you tackle problems like the ones mentioned above, it could take you plenty of time to even reach an initial probable diagnosis – and even this could be wrong, leading you to try an ineffective repair tactic. Eventually, you will need to call in the experts anyway, so why not do it at the get-go? This way, you can simply wait, relax, and eventually have peace of mind once the repair is done. 

It’s Easy to Make Mistakes in DIY

No matter how much DIY skills you have, there is still the possibility that you can commit errors in DIY plumbing. Such errors can either be because of misdiagnosis or in the execution of the repair (that is if you were skilled or lucky enough to diagnose the problem accurately.) 

Once you do commit a mistake in repairing a plumbing problem, two things can happen: (1) the problem stays the same as when you found it (the best possible outcome when a mistake is made) or (2) the problem worsens. And when a plumbing problem worsens because of DIY repair, it can either show immediately or after some time has elapsed. By now, you probably see how intricate this all is based on the permutations of these outcomes. Allow us to give you a solid example.

Replacing a Pipe

For example, you were correct in diagnosing your plumbing problem and the solution is to replace a pipe. This at first, may seem simple enough to tackle as DIY. 

But if you use the wrong kind of pipe as a replacement, this can result in a chemical reaction that will cause the pipes to corrode. 

So at first, it looked as if the problem had been solved. But after some time, the corrosion can result in a leaky pipe yet again or worse, a burst pipe that causes flooding. 

You Get What You Pay For

One of the main reasons that homeowners seek to do DIY plumbing is because they think that they are saving money by doing so. But whether or not this will be true for your DIY plumbing project relies heavily on luck and how much knowledge and expertise you’re able to get from online videos/articles. 

However, it’s important to know that calling in the experts immediately for a plumbing problem is a great investment that could potentially allow you to save more. Here’s how:

  • You won’t need to have the same repair done twice or more, saving you valuable time.
  • If you break materials while doing the DIY repair, you would need to have them purchased again even when you do call the experts. This could cost you double (or more) on the materials. 
  • You might misdiagnose the problem and end up buying materials that aren’t even needed. 
  • If a plumber makes a mistake, their insurance would likely cover for the damages.

Avoid Going from Bad to Worse

No matter how simple or commonplace a plumbing problem looks to be on the surface, DIY repairs can make them a whole lot worse. Here are a few examples: 

Frozen Pipes

Put down the hairdryer and/or blowtorch because this problem is not just about melting the ice. By employing DIY solutions like these mentioned above, you can make the problem worse. Frozen pipes are highly volatile because the expanding ice is placing the pipe under a lot of pressure. DIY methods carry a risk of building the pressure up even more and this leads to the pipe bursting. 

Drain Cleaning

These store-bought chemicals are harsh enough to break down plenty of things that block a pipe. They are also harsh enough to gradually damage the pipes as well. These should only be used as a last resort.

You Need to Adhere to Plumbing & Building Codes

If you’re considering reselling your property sometime in the future, it is really important to leave all plumbing problems to the experts. If you’ve done a plumbing repair that does not comply with regulations, this can postpone or even cancel the reselling of your property. 

Where can I get expert help?

1st Rooter Plumbing is a leading provider of quick and reliable service for residential, commercial, and emergency plumbing concerns. Contact us today for professional plumbing that will fix the problem with the least amount of time, hassle, and cost.