We’ve all heard those famous last words, “I know enough to be dangerous.” Every plumbing company has those do-it-yourselfer projects that went wrong that ended up costing the homeowner significantly. So when do I hire a licensed plumber, and when do you DIY? Let’s be honest with ourselves, With few basic tools, a homeowner or renter can handle minor plumbing issues. Most of us can tackle small plumbing problems such as replacing a drain cover, clearing a clogged sink, changing a toilet flapper, or unclogging a toilet. When you stop and think, everything you ever want to fix is a click away on the internet. I remember a neighbor once said, “My dad was a doctor, and he could remove your appendix, but he couldn’t sling a hammer.” Not everyone is cut out for household repairs.
DIY Maintenance Checks
If you want to avoid costly plumbing repairs, the best place to start is regular maintenance checks. This is something you can DIY. Now, some articles suggest getting a periodic home inspection. Let’s be realistic with ourselves. Most, if not all of us, aren’t going to order a home inspection unless we’re moving into a new home. With that said, there are some things you can do to avoid costly plumbing damage. Most major damage stemming from your plumbing system are issues that go unnoticed. For example, even when a small leak occurs under your sink, it could go undetected and cause water damage. Older homes are notorious for having plumbing issues. First, make yourself a schedule or create some new habits for checking your plumbing.
Check Around Your Toilets
When you use the toilet, occasionally check the base of your toilets for moisture. For instance, if you have ceramic tiles in your bathroom, and the grout lines around your toilet are darker than the rest of the bathroom, they’re being exposed to moisture. You may need to replace your wax ring with a new one. Our toilets seem to last forever, and the wax rings will last 25 to 30 years. But they are known to dry out and fail prematurely. The same is true for wood, the wood around your toilet will show signs of moisture. For vinyl floors, it’s a little tricky. You’ll need to press on the vinyl around the toilet if the vinyl is pulling up or has lost its adhesive. You probably have a water leak around your toilet.
As far as repairs go, the average DIYer can clear a clogged drain, replace the parts to the toilet, and replace a wax ring. The key is to know your limits and always remember your Big B’s Plumbing technician is just around the corner and a phone call away.
Hire A Licensed Plumber To Replace Compression Valves
Create a habit of checking under your sinks for water leaks. Have a small flashlight handy and take a few seconds to thoroughly check the pipes for any signs of a water leak. Some of the signs include hard water stains on the drain pipes. Mold is a sure sign you have a water leak. Look for mineral deposits around your compression shut-off valves. Some shut-off valves have never been turned off. They’ve been in the ON position for many years. When you turn them off, they immediately start to leak. The compression side of a shut-off valve fails to work after 8 to 10 years. It’s a good idea to have them replaced before that time. You should hire a licensed plumber to replace your compression shut-off valves in your home. This is not the job for the average DIYer. The smallest leak over time can result in a big expense. Repeat your effort throughout your home, including the kitchen sink.
Inspect your ceiling downstairs. Know where your bathrooms are upstairs, and occasionally check the ceiling directly under them for stains or bulging drywall. You can do this while you’re strolling through your home or watching TV.
Inspect Your Water Heater
You should check your water heater every month for leaks, especially if it’s old. Your water heater lasts 10-15 years if properly maintained. Complete a quick inspection that includes checking for leaks and rust. If your water heater is less than ten years old and it breaks down, there’s a good chance you can repair it, but most water heater repairs are not for the average DIYer.
Full Proof Leak Check Can Go A Long Way
Checking for water leaks is perfect for any homeowner and the average DIYer. Most leaks go unnoticed until it’s too late. If you want to check for water leaks, then shut off your water to your home and write down the number showing on your meter. Wait 30 minutes, then recheck your meter. If the meter number has moved, then you have a water leak. Wait, don’t stop there! Now, turn the irrigation valve to ‘off,’ then wait a short time. If the water meter stops moving, then the leak is in your irrigation. If it continues, then the leak is in the home.
.A regular maintenance check can go a long way. On average, you may spend 30 minutes a month checking your sinks, toilets, and water heater. I can assure you, it’s time well spent.