When Is it Time to Call a Professional Plumber?
Do-it-yourself (DIY) projects are an affordable way to make changes to your home while also learning new skills. From putting up wallpaper and landscaping your front yard to adding bookshelves, these projects can help your property truly reflect your unique style.
However, there are certain projects that are not ideal for completing on your own, especially if you do not have the specialized equipment and know-how required. This is particularly true for your property’s plumbing. This hidden and surprisingly intricate system controls water and waste entering and leaving your home, which means that even small disruptions can result in major interruptions to your daily routine as well as potential property damage. This blog explores three common plumbing issues and how the DIY “fix” can actually do more harm than good.
The Issue: Clogged Drain or Sewer Line
Have you noticed a gurgling sound coming from your toilets or lingering water in your shower or sink? Slow drainage can indicate a clog somewhere in your drain. This can be due to a buildup of hair, soap scum, debris, grease, or other material, and if not addressed quickly, can get progressively worse. While this might not seem like the job for a professional, certain DIY solutions can result in damage to your drainpipes.
- The DIY “fix”: There are a plethora of over-the-counter drain cleaners and snake tools on the market, making it seem like unclogging a drain is an easy fix.
- The result: Many of these store-bought cleaners use harsh chemicals that can potentially degrade your pipes—shortening their lifespan. Additionally, if these products aren’t used correctly, the liquid can actually worsen the clog, gumming up the debris instead of breaking it apart. While certain snake tools can be useful in minor clogs that aren’t too deep in the drain, many are flimsy and if used incorrectly can break in your drain, worsening the clog. Using these tools can also accidentally push the clog deeper into your system, compacting the clog to the point that your system is inoperable.
The Issue: Low Water Pressure
Has your water pressure been more of a trickle recently? This can make daily tasks such as showering or doing your dishes a slog. The challenge with this plumbing issue is that it can be caused by a multitude of reasons, ranging from leaks and pipe corrosion to clogs and water valve issues.
- The DIY “fix”: It is recommended to check all visible pipes for signs of leaks, which can manifest as moisture present on the outside of the pipes or water damage. Another common tactic is to adjust the pressure-reducing valve.
- The result: Even if you thoroughly inspect all the visible pipes in your home, there is an extensive network of hidden pipes that could be affecting your water pressure. This means that if you decide to adjust your regulator in order to increase pressure, you could be pushing more water into damaged pipes—which not only doesn’t fix the problem but also exposes corroded or cracked pipes to more pressure, leading to a greater chance of burst pipes and extensive water damage.
The Issue: No Hot Water
It can be all too easy to take access to hot water for granted. However, if your water heater isn’t working as effectively as it used to, it can make basic tasks like showering and washing clothes a chore. Water heaters can either be tankless or traditional and vary in fuel sources, with gas-powered systems being particularly hazardous to repair on your own.
- The DIY “fix”: For gas water heaters, the first place to look is often the pilot light and if it has gone out, reigniting it is often a quick fix. However, if the pilot light refuses to stay lit or simply won’t light, there is a larger issue. With electric water heaters, the first step is to check for any blown fuses and reset your upper thermostat. If that doesn’t work, it could be an issue with the heating element. This involves removing the cover plate, using a tester probe to see if the element is burned out, using a heating element wrench to unscrew the old element, threading the new heating element in, and replacing the insulation and metal covers.
- The result: Because pilot lights are impacted by the natural gas coming into your home, mishandling these issues incorrectly can at best, damage your unit, and at worst, cause a fire in your home. Electric water heaters are surprisingly complex, which means that you could check the thermostat and heating element and still not find the reason for your lack of hot water. The deeper you go into the system, the more intricate repairs become, requiring more specialized tools and knowledge. Additionally, even if the heating element was the culprit, if you aren’t precise in your replacement, it could lead to unnecessary wear and tear.
DIY plumbing projects can seem like a great way to save money, but they often end up costing more in the long run. Not only are you taking on a job that requires specialized knowledge, skills, and tools, but there is always the risk of making mistakes, which could lead to bigger problems down the line.
Furthermore, if something goes wrong during your project, it may void any warranties or guarantees that come with professional services. In short, when it comes to plumbing repairs and installations, it’s best to leave them to the professionals. At All Pro Plumbing, Heating, Air & Electrical, we specialize in solving a range of plumbing, drain, and sewer issues—with no job too big or small. Our local plumbers are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for plumbing emergencies, so you never have to stress about doing the job on your own.
To learn more about our Ontario and San Bernadino plumbing solutions call us at (909) 253-0664 or fill out our online contact form.