Plumbing, Heating and Air conditioning are critical components to your homes infrastructure, and are the primary contributors to your family’s comfort. Failing to perform regular maintenance and leaving little problems unchecked can lead to big dollar repairs. A little DIY can go a long way, and knowing when to call a professional is crucial. But first you have to ask yourself “what is my DIY skill level”.
Homeowner # 1 DIY skill is learning where your homes main water valve is, and how to use it. This should be something that all family members have some experience with, because when your plumbing springs a leak, knowing how to shut off the water to minimize damage is the first priority. Remember “righty tighty, lefty loosy”. This knowledge applies to sink and toilet valves too, giving you the ability to isolate a localized problem. Once you get the water shut off call the plumber.
Maintaining a clean and clear air flow for your heating and cooling systems is an easy DIY skill. Checking filters, and cleaning intakes and returns regularly helps your system run more efficiently which leads to lower energy bills, and longer life for your equipment. If you smell gas, or your system completely shuts down its time to call the heating & cooling technician.
Clogged toilets and drains can be plunged away. This is pretty straight forward, and when a plunger isn't effective you can DIY with a hand auger, that’s if you have confidence in your DIY skill level. If you don’t know what you are doing, you could crack the drain line making things worse. Homeowners often resort to chemical drain cleaners, but if the clog is bad, and the drain cleaner doesn't eat through the clog, you are left with a chemical mess in your sink/toilet/bathtub that could corrode soft surfaces. The primary ingredients in many of these products are lye and sulfuric acid. Additionally, when your plumber does arrive they are left with a chemical mess to work in.
When should you absolutely not DIY? If you do not have the proper tools, if you do not fully understand the project, if you cannot be without plumbing, heating, or air if the project does not go as expected, and if the project involves gas or propane. When in doubt, call us out.
Written by Eric Rickert