While there are often some small residential plumbing maintenance jobs you can perform to save yourself some cash, it’s always important to know when you should definitely call a professional plumber.
Things like changing a washer, caulking showers and baths, upgrading your showerhead or fixing a running toilet can often be prime DIY jobs if they're not too complicated.
In fact, regulations in each state make it illegal to tackle specific maintenance issues in the home without the presence of a licensed plumber. Even if you do manage to complete the work, you’ll never be sure you got it right – and there are hefty fines for DIY-ers who attempt illegal plumbing work and cause property damage. You could also void your insurance policy, leaving you seriously out of pocket.
There are a few plumbing jobs you should never attempt to do yourself – or face putting your home, yourself, your family and your bank balance in danger. Here are four of the top ones:
- Never touch anything to do with sewerage. If you smell something funky, your toilet starts backing up – or worse – overflows, call an expert. Apart from the fact that it’s dirty, smelly work, only licensed contractors can connect, maintain or repair sewer lines. That’s because the job requires specific knowledge and tools – it's a tricky fix, and you run the risk of damaging the sewer lines further (and costing yourself a pretty packet) if you attempt to do it yourself. There's also your health and safety to consider – sewer lines can contain all sorts of nasties, including methane, salmonella, e.coli and giardia.
- Leave pipes in-wall alone. This is another no-no, although at first glance you might wonder why. However, working with pipes behind plaster walls that also contain electrical wires can be a recipe for disaster. You also have to consider what's in your walls – if you live in an older house (pre-1980s), do you know for sure there isn't asbestos behind the plaster? If you're wrong and you cut through, you're creating a significant health risk for you and your family.
- Don’t install or maintain gas fixtures. Leaving gas works to the professionals is really a no-brainer. Apart from the exorbitant costs if you hit a gas line, you could also breathe in the gas (causing unconsciousness or even death) and potentially cause a fire or explosion that damages your property and/or your neighbours.’ A plumber will have the right tools and know-how to make sure your gas lines are securely fastened and won’t leak. Play it safe, call in a professional plumber.
- Hands off drinking water works. Anything to do with pipes that convey drinking water into your home should be left to the professionals. You never want to run the risk of damaging these pipes – again it can cause endless problems for your family’s health. And if you somehow cause damage or leakage of toxins and chemicals into the local drinking water supply, you’re in for a world of legal and financial pain.
If in doubt, you should always get in touch with a tradie. When you need help with your plumbing, give us a call.