Plumbing work is one of the most likely projects in your house to make you think you can do the job yourself. There absolutely are things worth tackling as Saturday projects, but it's important to know when to start looking around for plumbing contractors. If you want to know how to decide it's time to call in a professional, look at this checklist.
To be clear, there are at least two shutoffs for most problems. For example, there is usually one shutoff just below the toilet. And there is usually another one in the basement or service closet that runs to the bathroom. Ideally, you should be able to locate both shutoffs and turn them off without any trouble. Someone who can't do that or isn't confident with it should call a contractor.
Potential Damage if Something Goes Wrong
Some DIY projects don't run huge risks of damaging anything as long as you know where the shutoffs are and can quickly get to them. However, other projects can cause lots of damage if you're not careful.
For example, most homeowners shouldn't consider replacing the lines from a hot water tank. The system is too dangerous because it involves heat and pressure. If something goes wrong, the amount of potential damage to the house will be easily in the thousands of dollars. The same logic applies to any job that might pour water uncontrollably and everywhere if something goes awry. Especially if you're trying to save money, this isn't the place to do it.
A License Is Necessary
If your home is on a municipal water supply, there will be a meter somewhere in the basement or service closet. This meter attaches your home's water supply to the municipal one. It also ensures that the water pressure level is correct.
Everything past the shutoff for that meter is bad news, and only a licensed professional should touch it. If a homeowner messes up something past this point badly enough that it damages even a small part of the municipal water system, there will be considerable liability. At a minimum, the water company is going to charge you dearly for fixing it.
Sometimes you'll want to install something that isn't especially common. For example, you might want to add a whole-house water filter. Even if you're a confident DIYer, it's best to have a plumbing professional handle the work and then explain what you need to do to maintain the system.
For more information about plumbing, contact a local contactor.