What Plumbing Jobs Should I Leave to a Professional?

You might think that the plumbing in your home is just a simple network of pipes that bring water in and sewage out. The reality is that modern plumbing is a bit more complex. Every part of the plumbing system is carefully tuned to keep everything running smoothly. If one part of your plumbing system is not working properly, you may find other problems developing in other areas. It can be a cascading effect of plumbing failure.

Of course, if you look on YouTube, you will find plenty of videos showing DIYers doing all sorts of plumbing projects. They make plumbing look so easy. What they don't show you though is all the failures that occur when a non-professional takes on a major plumbing repair or project. Professional plumbers can tell you all the DIY failures they have been asked to clean up. It's a common call.

Answer: Outside of minor repairs, most plumbing jobs should be left to the professionals.

Many homeowners can tackle minor repairs such as a leaky faucet or a clogged P-trap under the bathroom skink. However, when the job involves anything beyond those simple repairs, things can become more complex. That is when it's time to call in the professionals. Here is a short list of jobs that should definitely be left to a licensed plumber:

  • Any job requiring a permit
  • Frozen pipes
  • Low water pressure
  • No hot water
  • Problems with the main sewer line
  • Problems with the outside sewage lines
  • Rerouting sewer lines

Professional plumbers have the equipment and expertise to identify the cause of the problem and to make repairs quickly. They have special cameras that help them identify where there are blockages in sewer lines. They have special routing tools that can clear tree roots out of your sewage lines. They know how to dethaw frozen pipes to minimize the chances of a crack or connector blowout. They have the licensing and training to handle any project which requires a legal inspection.

Most homeowners could not do the same job in a similar amount of time. Plus, they don't have the specialized equipment on hand to troubleshoot the problem and to fix it quickly. This means one of two things. The homeowner has to go out and buy or rent the equipment, then learn how to use it. This takes time and extra money. Or, the homeowner tries to carry out the troubleshooting or repair work without the right tools, which increases the chance of the work not being done properly. Leaving the big jobs to the professionals ensures the work is done efficiently and quickly.

Additional Resources

There are a multitude of reasons why certain plumbing issues need to be left to the professionals. Here are three resources you can use to learn more:

  1. This Old House - This website is designed to help people improve their homes in a number of different ways. If the do it yourself option isn't for you, then it can help people find professionals in a variety of fields as well. This article helps people with how they should be finding a good plumber. 
  2. Angie's List - Angie's List offers numerous resources for property owners including home improvement articles and a search service for local trades. This article focuses on issues that can affect the sewer and main lines. It outlines what can happen and why professionals should handle these issues.
  3. KTEN NBC - Usually a local news channel, KTEN's website provides a large amount of information about a variety of objects. This article helps potential do it yourself plumbers by indicating which activities can be completed and which should be left to a pro. 

Questions to Consider