Who should handle your plumbing problems?

A leaky faucet is typically a good candidate for DIY repair, often only requiring a new washer.

If you happen to be handy, or maybe just a bit on the thrifty side, the plumbing problems that arise at home will likely inspire you to try and fix the problem yourself. However, plumbing is a common area where DIY can turn into disaster.

Here is a look at which plumbing problems to handle and which to hand over to a professional:

Handle it
Not only are many minor home plumbing jobs possible, but some are “must know” tasks that should be in your repair repertoire as a homeowner.

Running toilet: You know that sound. It’s the telltale whoosh of water rushing around in your toilet long after you’ve flushed. Not only is a running toilet an annoying plumbing problem, but it can also take an unfortunate toll on your water bill. So, after you’ve spent enough time jiggling the handle to make it stop, it’s time to take the lid off of the tank and get to work. Typically, the fix is as easy as picking up a toilet repair kit from your local hardware store and replacing a few parts.

Dripping faucet: Drip. Drip. Drip. That’s the sound of your money going down the drain along with your water. Thankfully, if the drip is recent and seems rather minor, you will probably only need to replace a worn or dislodged washer.

Slow drains: If your tub or sink drains slowly or seems to be completely clogged, then it’s likely that you have some hair or other debris blocking the drain. The first step is to reach for your plunger and get to work. If the plunging doesn’t work to open up your drain then you may choose to use a drain cleaner and a drain auger (also known as a snake). However, don’t automatically reach for a bottle of caustic, bottled cleaner. There are a handful of organic drain cleaners on the market, and you can even make your own using vinegar, baking soda and boiling water.

While these and many other plumbing issues may seem like simple problems at first, it pays to realize that even something small can be more complicated than it first appears. Even that leaky faucet may need the skills of a professional.

Hand it over
This is where so many homeowners get into trouble. No matter how straightforward they may seem there are certain plumbing problems that should be forwarded to a professional plumber. In these cases, you can save yourself the hassle, mess and arguments that always stem from botched plumbing repairs.

Major installations: Unless you have personal, hands-on experience installing something like dishwasher, sink or pipes are best left to the professionals.

Water heaters: This is absolutely the domain of a professional. No need to risk injury or expense.

Major leaks: Always call a professional plumber for emergencies like major leaks and burst pipes. Leaks behind the walls are especially destructive. This is an issue that you want repaired properly and quickly, because not only is water damage expensive, but it can lead to other problems, such as mold.

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