As a reformed do-it-yourself (DIY) plumber, I humbly admit my work is disastrous. My wife was complaining about a leaking faucet in our bathroom. Being the manly man I fancy myself, I reassured her, “Don’t worry, Honey, I’ll take care of it.” I set out for Home Deport feeling pretty confident. After all, how hard can it be, especially after watching a pipe repair video on YouTube?
My wife was on the phone bragging to her mother about my handyman skills as I went into the bathroom wearing my leather toolbelt and carrying my wrench set and a roll of plumber’s Teflon tape. After turning off the water main, I set about my work.
After about an hour of wrenching and grunting (manly activities, for sure), I proudly told my wife to turn the water back on and watch in amazement at the result of my new skill. She was amazed alright as water was spurting all over me and half the bathroom.
With my tail tucked securely between my legs, I went to the garage for a bucket and a bunch of rags and sponges. “Maybe you should call a plumber after all,” I muttered to my wife. “I know just who to call,” she chuckled.
With that familiar “I told you so” look on her face, things got even worse when she realized we had to go without water in the house for six hours while we waited for a plumber. I guess they don’t come right away, especially on a Saturday. Luckily, the plumber (named Bob) from South West Plumbing took only 20 minutes to repair the leak, but had to spend another 45 minutes repairing the damage I had done.
After Bob told me this was his last job of the day, I asked him if he could stay and fill me in on what I had done wrong. Since I had learned my lesson the hard way, I was not too surprised when he told me that over 30% of his calls are from DIYers who run into trouble, and that I had gotten off lucky.
As Bob started gently lecturing me on the serious downside of doing plumbing jobs on your own, I thought he might be exaggerating. But as explained in detail the incidents he had personally seen, I realized just how serious it could be. He explained that homeowners like me, and even handymen without the proper training are at risk of contaminating their water supply and causing other alarming problems.
I realized Bob was right on target when he said that trying to fix your own plumbing problems usually results in making things much worse. Having even a small leak in a pipe can quickly turn disastrous if you’re not careful. Been there, done that!
Things like water damage and pipe replacement are very expensive and can often be avoided by calling in a professional right away. There is a reason why plumbers go through a lengthy apprenticeship program and need to get certified with a license before they can do repairs legally. Plumbing is far more complex than most people think, me included.
Things can get pretty dangerous when it comes to fixing pipes. Bob told me about a guy who noticed water seepage from a leaking buried pipe. He grabbed a shovel and started digging, only to crack a PVC pipe. I choked when he told me what that cost. He continued, “The lucky ones strike an inflow pipe and only get doused with water. The unlucky ones hit a sewage pipe.”
He warned me about doing a project involving the hot water system or anything that may mix water and electricity. There are far too many things that can go wrong and the slightest mistake can be fatal. Ouch! The same thing is true when working with gas water heaters: there is a real risk of causing an explosion. That is why only licensed plumbers and gas fitters can legally install or repair gas hot water systems.
Listening to Bob’s stories, about all of the DIY problems that he’s solved, humbled me even more than my relatively minor mishap had. I now know that calling in a plumbing service like South West Plumbing is the best way to get the right work done safely and in a hurry before more damage occurs. Thanks Bob! After he left, I went onto their website: www.southwestplumbing.biz and read some of their great reviews. Now I’m checking with my wife before grabbing my wrenches.