Plumbing is something most of us take for granted. The pipe system within most modern homes operates at such low stress levels that many people can go their entire lives without needing a plumber. Because of this, few of us really think about what a plumber does or in what situations his service could be crucial.
The first thing to consider is what a plumber does. In the most basic terms, a plumber repairs and installs everything between the incoming water source and the outgoing drain or sewer. In other words, a plumber has the training, experience and equipment to deal with repair and replacement of every water pipe and every fixture that connects to a water pipe within a home.
So, the question for the aspiring handymen is whether there are things that a do it yourselfer can handle or does every plumbing related emergency require a plumber. The answer to this question is more complex than one might think. Like any other home repair, plumbing can be performed by anyone with the skill, knowledge and equipment. Also like any other home repair, doing the job improperly could be dangerous and financially disastrous. With all this in mind, a confident and knowledgeable homeowner can perform some pluming maintenance and repairs, but there are some that should not even be attempted by the amateur.
Fixtures like toilets, faucets and water heaters have shut off valves to turn off pressure to that individual item. With the water pressure off, it is safe to attempt to make adjustments or repairs to these fixtures without fear of instantly flooding the entire home in the event of a mistake. In the worst case scenario, the owner will make a mistake that requires calling in a plumber to repair damage and replace the fixture in question. While not a result anyone would actually strive for, it is the risk taken any time someone straps on a tool belt.
The other type of plumbing an amateur can attempt with relatively minor consequences in the event of an accident is any repair or adjustment on pipes that are not under pressure at all. An example of this type of pipe is the drain under a bathroom or kitchen sink.
For any other plumbing task in the home, unless the owner is experienced and has all the equipment necessary to do the job to professional standards, a plumber should be called. With water, the potential damage of even a small leak is not something that anyone should risk unless certain he can do the job perfectly.
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