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DIY Plumbing Projects: What Homeowners Can Do and When to Call a Professional


Welcome to our comprehensive guide on DIY plumbing projects. In this blog post, we aim to empower homeowners with the knowledge and skills to tackle basic plumbing tasks around the house. From unclogging drains to fixing a leaky faucet, we’ll walk you through step-by-step instructions on how to handle these common issues.

However, not all plumbing problems can or should be solved with a DIY approach. Recognizing when a problem is beyond your skill level and requires professional intervention is just as important as knowing how to perform basic tasks. We’ll also discuss the signs that indicate it’s time to put down your tools and pick up the phone to call a professional plumber. By understanding when to DIY and when to call a professional, you can save time, avoid potential disasters, and ensure your home’s plumbing system remains in top shape.

Understanding Plumbing Basics

Before we dive into the DIY projects, let’s take a moment to understand the basics of your home’s plumbing system. A typical residential plumbing system consists of two major components: the water supply system, which brings fresh water into your home, and the drainage system, which removes waste water. These systems are made up of a network of pipes, valves, and fixtures that work together to deliver clean water and dispose of waste efficiently.

Regular maintenance of your plumbing system is crucial to prevent minor issues from escalating into major problems. This includes tasks like checking for leaks, removing minor clogs, and ensuring your pipes are insulated for winter. By performing these tasks regularly, you can extend the lifespan of your plumbing system, save money on water bills, and maintain the comfort and hygiene of your home.

In the following sections, we’ll explore some common DIY plumbing projects that homeowners can handle, as well as situations that require the expertise of a professional plumber. Whether you’re a seasoned DIY enthusiast or a beginner, this guide will provide you with valuable insights into the world of home plumbing.

DIY Plumbing Projects Homeowners Can Handle

Plumbing may seem intimidating, but there are several tasks that homeowners can confidently tackle with a little guidance and the right tools. Here are a few common issues you might encounter and how to address them.

Unclogging Drains

A clogged drain can be a nuisance, but it’s often something you can resolve without calling a plumber. Here’s how:

  • Use a Plunger: This is your first line of defense. A good old-fashioned plunger can dislodge the obstruction and clear the drain in many cases.
  • Try a Plumber’s Snake or Hand Auger: If the plunger doesn’t work, a plumber’s snake or hand auger can reach deeper into the pipe to break up the clog.
  • Use a Drain Cleaner: If physical methods fail, a chemical drain cleaner can dissolve the clog. However, use these products sparingly as they can damage your pipes if overused.

Remember, if the clog persists after these steps, it’s time to call a professional.


Fixing a Leaky Faucet

A dripping faucet can waste significant amounts of water over time. Here’s how to fix it:

  • Identify the Type of Faucet: Faucets typically fall into four categories: ball, cartridge, disc, and compression. Identifying your faucet type will determine the repair process.
  • Gather Your Tools: Common tools for this job include a wrench, screwdriver, and replacement parts (if necessary).
  • Disassemble the Faucet: Turn off the water supply, then carefully disassemble the faucet to identify the problem.
  • Replace Damaged Parts: Once you’ve identified the faulty part, replace it and reassemble the faucet.
  • If the leak persists after replacing the parts, it might be time to call a professional or consider replacing the faucet entirely.

shower-head in Northern Indiana

Replacing a Showerhead

Replacing a showerhead can be a quick and easy way to upgrade your bathroom. Here’s how:

  • Remove the Old Showerhead: Use a wrench to unscrew the old showerhead from the shower arm.
  • Clean the Threads: Clean any rust or mineral deposits from the shower arm threads.
  • Install the New Showerhead: Wrap the threads with plumber’s tape for a tight seal, then screw on the new showerhead.

Remember, if you encounter any difficulties or if the shower arm itself is damaged, it might be best to call a professional.

In the next section, we’ll discuss when it’s time to put down your tools and call a professional plumber.

This infographic outlines some of the most common plumbing emergencies and what homeowners should do about them.

Recognizing When to Call a Professional

While DIY projects can be rewarding and cost-effective, there are times when calling a professional plumber is the best course of action. Here are some situations where expert help is recommended:

King Heating, Cooling & Plumbing provides HVAC and plumbing services throughout the Chicago and Northern Indiana areas.

Persistent Leaks

If you’ve tried to fix a leak but it persists, it’s time to call a professional. Persistent leaks can indicate a more serious underlying issue, such as a problem with your water supply line or a faulty seal. Ignoring these leaks can lead to water damage, mold growth, and costly repairs down the line.

Low Water Pressure Throughout the House

If you’re experiencing low water pressure in multiple areas of your home, this could be a sign of a serious issue like a leak in your main water line or a problem with the local water supply. A professional plumber can diagnose and resolve these complex issues.

Major Installations and Renovations

Major projects like installing a new bathtub, renovating a bathroom, or replacing your home’s entire plumbing system should always be left to professionals. These tasks require specialized knowledge and tools, and mistakes can lead to significant damage and expense.

How to Choose a Professional Plumber

When it’s time to call a professional, it’s important to choose the right one. Consider the following factors:

  • Licensing and Insurance: Ensure the plumber is licensed and insured to protect yourself from any potential damage or accidents.
  • Experience and References: Look for a plumber with experience and positive references. This indicates a history of reliable and high-quality work.
  • Transparent Pricing: A good plumber will provide clear, upfront pricing so you know what to expect.


Understanding basic plumbing tasks can save homeowners time and money. However, it’s equally important to recognize when a job requires professional help. By knowing when to DIY and when to call a professional, you can keep your home’s plumbing system in top shape and avoid potential disasters. Whether you’re unclogging a drain or fixing a leaky faucet, remember that every bit of knowledge and skill contributes to a well-maintained home.