Avoid the Splash Mob: Knowing When You Need a Plumber

Do you know when you have a plumbing problem? It’s not always as cut-and-dry as a river of water flowing from a broken pipe into your basement or a toilet that’s backed up like the Beltway at rush hour. Sometimes, it’s dangerously easy to overlook some of the more subtle signs of plumbing damage. 

4 signs you need a plumbing repair

Your home may be sending you a message — and that message is, “get a plumber here, fast.”  Here are a few things to look out for:

  1. Something smells funny. A musty, “mildewy” scent of water damage may be obvious but the source of the smell is harder to nail down. If unwelcome odors persist over time, call in the professionals to help resolve any damages.
  2. Ceiling or wall discoloration. If a pipe starts to leak within your walls, you’ll start to notice yellow, brown or copper stains on the ceiling or wall. If you may even see a sagging ceiling, call the pros immediately.
  3. Unexplained rust. Rust can occur in places that are hard to see. When you find signs of rust around pipes, fuse boxes or appliances, it’s a clear indication of water damage.
  4. Damaged floors. Soft or spongy floors are also big red flags that you have water damage. If you notice buckling or staining on your bathroom floor, it is time to have a professional come and inspect the situation.

Do’s and Don’ts of DIY Plumbing

With all the step-by-step plumbing repair tutorials on the web, just about anyone can manage to fix a simple leak and save a few bucks. A quick Google search of the term “diy plumbing” reveals 10.5 million results. From the DIY Network to a local home improvement blogger, you’re bound to find a DIY solution that matches your problem.

But mistakes can still be made! Many people are getting literally soaked when attempting to work on their own plumbing system. Plumbing companies are becoming experts in cleaning up messes made by DIY plumbers.

For instance, Ben Kelley, director of residential operations for CroppMetcalfe, notes that the most important rule all homeowners should follow (and often don’t) when attempting DIY plumbing is to turn off the main water supply valve before getting started.

While there are YouTube videos with step-by-step tutorials for how to solve common plumbing problems, every home is different with its own unique plumbing system.

Here are four plumbing repairs you should avoid attempting altogether:

  1. Replacing burst pipes
  2. Installing a toilet, bath or shower
  3. Connecting a sewer line
  4. Building a new bathroom

I know my home. What could go wrong?

If you’ve done your homework, taken the time to understand your home’s plumbing system and believe you can tackle a plumbing repair, ask yourself the following questions before diving in:

  1. Have a completed a project like this before?
  2. Do I have the right tools?
  3. Do I have time for this project and any unforeseen delays?

From plugging a small leak to a complete bathroom overhaul, plumbing repairs often take more time than homeowners expect. If you’re planning to do DIY plumbing, you’ll also have to plan for some risks.

Damaging your home (and your wallet)

Water has the power to destroy everything! Remember that: water can destroy anything.

Up front, the cost of hiring a professional for a plumbing repair may seem expensive, especially when you seem to have all the answers at your fingertips. But as you’re tallying up the savings of fixing it yourself, don’t forget that the costs of repairing water damages can be catastrophic. When you bring in a professional, you will receive a warranty and can count on a job well done, the first time.

DIY plumbers don’t usually have the experience to know when they’ve gone too far in the wrong direction. If you have questions, concerns or doubts during your project, stop where you are and pick up the phone to call the experts.