Plumbers earn their income. Most are skilled professionals who spent years learning a trade. They come to rescue us in times of crisis or for important projects. But, as thousands of jokes attest, they’re expensive and often not available when you need them. That’s not their fault. Their services are in high demand. Good fortune to them.
Fortunately, there are a whole range of plumbing projects around the home that are well within the reach of the ambitious do-it-yourself’er.
Installing plumbing under tile is at the outer limit of what most will want to attempt. But with patience and the right tools, it’s certainly possible, even common. Like any project it requires planning and care, but nearly anyone can do it.
Other tasks are even easier.
Replacing a garbage disposal unit, or installing an under-the-sink water purifier takes some reading and a bit of patience. It will take an hour or two for most, provided they take care not to break anything. Strong hands to loosen stuck nuts and careful ones to lay Teflon tape correctly are the only major requirements.
Repairing or replacing a toilet might take a bit of muscle, even an assistant or two. But they’re simple mechanisms and – once you know how it’s done – the job is well within reach of the average do-it-yourselfer. Ditto for installing an under-the-sink or on-the-spot water heater. Putting them in the circuit with the existing hot water line can often be done in less than an hour.
No matter what plumbing job you tackle, knowing how and when to use sealants of different types is vital. Knowing the difference between PVC pipe glue and plumber’s putty is essential. Knowing when to use one or the other is mandatory. A facility with plumber’s tape will help prevent the need to re-do a simple job over and over again.
Fortunately, that’s all pretty simple. In many cases, it’s just a matter of following the directions on a package or reading a short tutorial.
Mundane tasks like unclogging a toilet or drain is something practiced by millions of homeowners who never even tackle a home project. Doing it for those rare times when the clog is a little more stubborn takes only a bit of homework.
Some specialty projects take only a small amount more study. Fixing a leaky outdoor spigot is simple. Replacing one with an anti-siphon sillcock is only slightly more difficult.
Knowing a little more about how water can leak or damage your plumbing moves you closer to the realm of the professional plumber. But not everyone has to be a Rembrandt to profit from doing a little art now and again.