When to Call a Plumber and When (and How) to DIY


Do-it-yourself projects have always been popular (especially since they are usually associated with smaller price tags), but when it comes to certain household fixer-uppers, a professional helping hand is necessary. Oftentimes, if you try to DIY a project that clearly calls for an industry professional, you can end up doing irreparable damage to your project, as well as ending up spending more in order to cover novice mistakes.

Below, we're helping you decide when you should strap on your boots and fix your own plumbing mishaps versus when it's necessary to call a plumber for a helping hand.

Time to DIY

These five common plumbing tasks are simple DIY projects that you can tackle on your own with a high success rate:

Fixing a Clog

Whether it's the toilet, sink, or bathtub, unclogging a basin falls into the DIY plumbing category. Here, we should you six simple steps you should take in order to win the war against the toilet clog.

  • A toilet bowl can’t overflow if it can’t be filled with water. Cut off the water source by taking off the lid of the tank and closing the flapper as quickly as possible. 
  • Once this is done, grab a good plunger. The funnel-cup ones are best since they create the perfect seal to get the job done.
  • Take your plunger and put it under running warm water in order to soften the rubber.
  • Before you plunge, grab a couple of cups of hot water and mix it with dishwashing detergent before pouring it into the toilet bowl and letting it sit for 20 minutes.
  • Once the time has elapsed, it’s time to plunge the clog. Create a seal over the basin opening, push down, and then pull up two to three times to release the clog.
  • Then, flush the toilet.
  • If this still doesn’t work, grab an auger at your local hardware store, snake the cable down the hole, and crank. The goal is to either loosen the debris so it will flush, or grab hold of it so you can pull it out. Then, plunge - you should be in the clear.

Updating Toilet Fixtures

Sometimes a toilet seat can become loose, or maybe the chain snaps. Repairing these items is fairly simple, and the parts are easily accessible at your local home improvement store. Many of these replacement parts also come from DIY kits and instructions, making switching out a flusher or seat very quick and easy.

Installing a Faucet or Showerhead

Similar to replacing and updating toilet hardware is the installation of a faucet or shower head. New faucets come with step-by-step, easy-to-follow instructions that make swapping them out manageable. The secret to avoiding headaches is to make sure your new faucet has the same connection points as your old one, so you won’t need to drill any additional holes. 

It is also important to have the right tools handy since pipes and fixtures under the sink may be corroded and hard to loosen. Once you’re ready, turn off the hot and cold water valves under the sink, remove the old faucet, and then put the new one in its place.

Updating a shower head is even easier. 

  • First, remove the shower head using adjustable pliers.
  • Then, use some paint thinner to remove the caulking (or plumber’s putty on the surface. 
  • After this is done, put some Teflon tape on the shower stem threads before attaching and tightening the diverter, and make sure to wrap the tape in the same direction that you will be tightening.
  • Then, apply more tape on the neck of the diverter attach the hose extender, and tighten.

Replacing Washing Machine Hoses

Last but not least, replacing washing machine hoses is also an easy and highly recommended plumbing DIY project. Failing to change a hose often can result in a true catastrophe, as these hoses can burst and leave you with an indoor flood.  In order to swap out your hoses, unplug your washer, turn off the water supply, and remove the old hose from your valves and washer. Then, attach your new hose to the valves and washer, turn on your water supply, and power up the washer again.  Professionals recommend changing your hoses every five years to keep your machine in proper working order. 

Time to Call A Plumber

Sometimes the overzealous DIYer will get carried away and try to troubleshoot a problem they really should leave to the professionals.

Hot Water Heaters 

One of the household items that should never be tampered with is the hot water heatersHot water heaters require special attention and should only be handled by professionals who know the proper compliance codes, rules and regulations for plumbing and electric in your local area. Calling a professional will ensure that you do not damage your expensive hot water heater or leave your family and household without running water.


If you’re planning on installing a new Victorian tub or extending a water line to a new koi pond, it’s necessary to call in the professionals. Not only will the professional make sure that your renovation is up to code, but he or she will also make sure that all the connections are done properly as well as help with any looming permits.

Installing Sprinkler Systems

These seem simple enough but sprinkler systems are actually a tricky business, best left to the professionals. Not only is it necessary to make sure that adequate water reaches each sprinkler head, but necessary permits will also need to be obtained.

External/City Plumbing Repairs

Not all plumbing problems originate from within the home. Maybe an issue starts because the main pipes that connect to the city lines become corroded over time and start leaking.  Checking out the problem is definitely not a DIY job, and a professional will need to pop over and take a look to assess the damage and schedule proper repairs.

In Conclusion

There’s a lot you as a consumer can do to keep your household in good working order, but when it comes to the bigger plumbing projects, keep your family safe, be wise, and call your friendly neighborhood plumbing professionals for assistance.

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