The Many Risks of DIY Plumbing

DIY house projects are cost-effective fixes and improvements in a wide variety of situations, and they can often be pretty fun, as well. Successfully completing them certainly gives a sense of accomplishment, and it may even make you more confident for future projects. Even if you consider yourself quite the home handyman (or woman), there are still certain projects you shouldn’t touch on your own. Plumbing repairs are generally among them.

Things like clogged drains and noisy pipes are a nuisance, and it’s understandable to want them fixed ASAP, but anything beyond the most bare basic repairs should be left up to professionals like Blue Bear plumbing. You might be able to tighten an unsecured pipe on your own or support it with clamps/tape, but attempting jobs beyond temporary fixes could have big consequences. The following are just a few reasons why DIY plumbing is a much greater risk than it’s worth.

Lack of knowledge

The average homeowner has an almost total lack of knowledge as to how plumbing systems actually work. These systems are particularly complex, and they require extensive education and professional experience to master. You probably wouldn’t try to build a house with no experience in construction, right? Likewise, you shouldn’t dive into a plumbing project without knowing how one action can affect the deep network of pipes under the house. Without proper training, you can risk disastrous consequences, like contaminating your own water supply. Stick to projects that won’t cause problems beyond embarrassment.

Compounding problems

Speaking of risks, there are plenty of ways homeowners tend to worsen even the most common plumbing problems by attempting to fix them on their own. For example, something as simple as a small leak under the sink can become more like a flood if handled with improper tools or technique.

Depending on where you live, frozen pipes can be a common problem in the winter. So common, in fact, that many homeowners have attempted “fixes” with hair dryers or even blowtorches. These attempts can easily cause pressure to build up inside the volatile pipes, which can lead to them bursting.

Clogged drains are another common problem, and many people immediately resort to pouring dangerous chemicals down their drains as a “simple fix” at home. If these chemicals are strong enough to eat through whatever is causing the blockage, then couldn’t they be strong enough to damage your pipes? Repeatedly relying on this strategy may make for bigger problems later on. Professional plumbers will inspect drains with a snake tool and camera to determine the best method for removing the blockage.

Safety concerns

Of course, you aren’t just risking more complicated problems and expensive repairs when you decide to take plumbing into your own hands—you could also compromise your safety. For example, a home’s water heater can often be the source of bothersome noises or other plumbing problems, and it is extremely hazardous. One of the most common water heater problems is a buildup of hardened sediment on the bottom of the tank, and the tank has to be at least partially drained in order to check the issue. The water is hot enough to cause injury, so attempting this yourself is not advisable. Improper maintenance of a water heater can even lead it to burst causing catastrophic damage to a home in addition to potential injuries or worse. 

Obviously, any repair involving a gas line or pipes near one is extremely dangerous, as are any projects that could involve digging. In some states, it isn’t even legal to attempt such repairs yourself, but they should always be avoided regardless.

No matter how comfortable you are in your abilities, there’s no shame in leaving plumbing projects to the professionals. There could, however, be great shame and more in store for those who don’t.