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Do you have some plumbing projects that you think you can handle on your own? Before you tackle them, beware that plumbing mishaps can quickly turn a do-it-yourself (DIY) project into a major headache. Besides having the potential for mishaps to skyrocket costs, you could be looking at long-term complications that could go unnoticed and cause immense damage.

Before you start your DIY plumbing project

Don’t go immediately into a project without doing your homework. Many of the projects thought to be DIY are more complex than originally thought. Because of the complexity, shortcuts are too often taken where they shouldn’t be or important steps get skipped. There may be building code requirements and specialized equipment that you need. And if you are digging in your yard, you’ll need to call for utility clearance before you dig.

Do take measurements and retake measurements. It’s not enough to judge how much material or the size of an appliance that is needed based on sight. This might seem obvious, but we have seen many DIY plumbing projects where appliances were jammed against a wall and improperly balanced, or a door wouldn’t close because of the location of a tub or toilet.

Do make sure you have the necessary equipment on hand. There is not much worse than being excited about having a new faucet or fixture and then realizing partway into the project that you don’t have the equipment to install it. Read any instructions thoroughly to make sure you have everything you need. And don’t start a project at night, toward the end of the weekend, or on a holiday when home stores are closed in case you need something at the last minute.

Don’t mistake the difference between remodeling and renovating. Smaller remodeling projects such as replacing a faucet typically involve basic plumbing knowledge and standard equipment that some DIY homeowners can do. When you get into the larger projects that involve repiping your plumbing or tearing out walls that contain water or sewer lines, you are getting into renovations where there is the potential for unexpected problems that go way beyond the basics.

Do understand the magnitude of what you are doing. There is always a learning curve so it is best to start on small DIY plumbing projects in remodeling that help to give you modern upgrades without overwhelming. With a small project, it is easier to keep track of parts and follow steps while larger projects have more involvement and thus more potential for hiccups.

Don’t take the quick-fix approach. Many times a DIY homeowner is looking for a quick fix. While there are problems that can be easy fixes, like replacing the flapper on a toilet, your problem could also be something else. And being too quick without fully understanding or taking the time to do it right can cause more harm than good.

Do remember to turn off the water. For many projects dealing with plumbing, there is a water shut off valve that stops the water to that area. And unless you are very confident you have cut the water going to that area, know where the water shut off valve is to the home and how long it will take you to get to it.

Don’t assume that all plumbers are the same. If you have a buddy that you want to enlist their help, you might be getting the same “learn as you go” experience that you have. There are also a lot of small plumbers who have this same type of experience at their customer’s expense. Without the proper training and experience, you risk getting work that is poorly done.

Do ask for help from an experienced plumber. He can help you by doing the complex portions of the project right. The result is that you’ll have more time and less stress working on the rest of the project. And in some cases, you might have building code requirements that require a qualified plumber do the work.

It is always best to keep your plumbing in tip-top shape and handle problems promptly. If you have some basic knowledge you might be able to do some of the smaller DIY plumbing projects, but for most plumbing projects we suggest calling in the professionals. High Priority Plumbing is available for all types of maintenance and repair work besides 24/7 emergencies. Call us at 770.860.8110 in Atlanta or 912.373.7707 in Savannah.