If you're like most homeowners, you probably prefer to take care of problems on your own whenever you can. This approach makes sense since it can save you money while also teaching you valuable skills that you can use for future repairs. Of course, many problems require expert attention, and trying to solve these more complicated issues without help can lead to much costlier repairs.
When it comes to plumbing, this line may seem a little blurry. When should you call a plumber? When is a situation severe enough to require an emergency visit? While there's no way to provide an exhaustive list of plumbing situations in a single article, these three questions can help you determine if you should avoid do-it-yourself solutions for plumbing issues in your home.
1. Are You Dealing With Sewer Water?
Plumbers broadly categorize leaks based on the source of the water. Leaks from supply pipes or drains near showers or sinks typically don't merit much concern. These water leaks consist of "clear" water or "grey" water, two categories that indicate very little chance of encountering harmful pathogens. These leaks can be destructive, but they don't usually pose a health hazard.
On the other hand, "black" water is any source that may include human waste. If you're dealing with a leaky toilet stack or backed-up sewer water, you're dealing with a black water problem. These issues require careful safety procedures, and you shouldn't handle anything except minor black water clean-up on your own. When dealing with sewage, it's always best to call on a professional.
2. Can You Control the Problem?
Many homes include numerous water shut-offs that allow you to cut the supply to a single portion of your home or even a single fixture. If one of your pipes begins to leak, it's always best to cut the water supply as near to the issue as possible. By closing the nearest valve, you can stop the leak without affecting the water supply to the rest of your home.
However, not all homes include enough valves, or you may not have access to the nearest shut-off. You'll usually need to cut water to your whole house in these cases. If you can't easily control the problem, you'll usually want to call a plumber so you can ensure your repair is quick, permanent, reliable.
3. Is There a Gas Issue?
Natural gas is a safe and effective method for running appliances, but it can also be hazardous in untrained hands. Most states require plumbers to be licensed and certified for working with gas lines. If you have a problem with a gas appliance, such as a gas-powered water heater, you should always rely on a professional plumber to diagnose and repair the issue.
Sticking with emergency plumbers for gas work doesn't just ensure a safe fix but also one that meets local regulations. When it comes to gas problems, it's always better to stick with training and expertise over do-it-yourself solutions.