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When to Call a Plumber Versus Handling Work on Your Own

Not all plumbing jobs in the home require the services of a professional; chances are you can fix a leaking tap with a simple change of a washer or add some vinegar and baking soda to the tub to get it draining again quickly and easily. However, it's not unusual for homeowners to assume that they can handle virtually any plumbing job by themselves, especially if they have a few power tools and Internet videos at their disposal. This can often be disastrous and lead to more expensive repairs after their handiwork is finished. To determine when it's good to call a plumber versus handling work on your own, note the following.

1. Will pipes need to be replaced or reconnected?

Matching up plumbing pipes is not always as simple as you might think. Two different metals can cause corrosion, and improperly fitting connectors can mean leaks. Pipes might also need to be cut and this can be difficult with a common hacksaw; the cut might be uneven and in turn, the connection doesn't fit as it should. A plumber will know all the details needed to find the right pipes and connectors, and can easily cut and fit them so that they're snug and watertight. He or she will also know how to add plumber's tape or other adhesive around the connections to protect them over time, and the job will be done right.

2. Is electricity involved in any way?

You may not think that you should worry about electricity when handling repairs to a dishwasher, refrigerator or other such electrical appliances, but even if the repair is not near the electrical connection, you still need to consider calling a professional. The electricity may need to be disconnected for the repair to be done and then lines and wires reconnected to fit around a new pipe or other such modification. For your own safety and to ensure there will not be future water leaks around the electrical sources, call a plumber.

3. Can you easily detect the source of a leak or other issue?

Leaks behind the walls don't always start where they drip onto the drywall, but may travel along pipes. You may also assume that a running toilet is caused by a leak in the bowl, whereas it's actually a leaking pipe behind the wall. Rather than trying to tear up your entire house looking for the source of a leak, call a plumber as he or she can typically pinpoint its source quickly and easily.