4 Dangerous Plumbing Jobs You Shouldn’t Try Yourself
Don’t worry, we’re not going to try to tell you that you shouldn’t try to plunge your own toilets or replace your own faucets. Jobs like that can be easy and rewarding to do on your own. Some dangerous plumbing really is better left to the professionals, though. After all, there’s a reason we do what we do!
Some plumbing repairs can result in expensive damage or even serious injury if they aren’t performed by a professional. These are our top 4 DIY don’ts.
Gas Line Repair
This one’s first because it’s important: if you think you have a gas leak, you should leave your home immediately. Gas leaks are probably the #1 most dangerous plumbing problem you can have. Do NOT use light switches, telephones, or any other electronic devices until you’re a safe distance away. Go to your neighbor’s house or another shelter nearby and call your gas company or 911. Gas leaks are extremely dangerous.
Even a little gas leaking into your home is a big deal. Gas line repairs need to be extremely thorough and careful. Part of fixing gas leaks needs to be looking for why they happened and making sure they can’t happen again. Only pros with the knowledge and experience required to do that should make your gas leak repairs. The stakes are just too high to risk it with anyone else. Whew. Sorry for scaring you. We’re going to lighten up for the rest of the article, we promise.
Ok, one more warning: attempting to repair sewers on your own can be dangerous too. Unless you have heavy duty plumbing tools, the job requires digging. In Minnesota, it’s illegal to dig without calling Gopher State One Call at least two days before. Gopher State One Call is a non-profit organization that monitors underground infrastructure statewide. It was created for public safety after a serious pipeline accident in 1986. Without making this call you could damage gas, electricity, or sewage utility lines while digging. Damaging underground equipment could necessitate expensive repairs, terribly inconvenience your neighbors, or seriously harm you.
You can call 811 yourself to get digging permission, but we recommend you have professional help anyway. Pros know where and how to dig to minimize damage and expense. They may even decide they don’t need to dig, opting instead for trenchless sewer repair. Pros make subterranean repairs much easier, safer, and often cheaper, too!
Pipe replacement doesn’t sound too hard, but you’d be surprised. You always have to remove more piping than you’d think. Always… You have to get the right size, shape, and width, but also right material. Little mistakes or accidents can ruin the pipe you just paid for. You may have to weld! Worst of all, if anything goes wrong at ANY point in the process, it’s back to square one.
Professional plumbers figure out how to make sure you get the best results for the lowest cost. They’ll remove as little as possible, replace it with the optimal material, and make sure the rest of the system works with the new installation. The main problem with DIY pipe replacement is, even if you pull it off perfectly, the result tends not to last as long as it would’ve if it had been done professionally. Sorry. We’re not trying to show off. That’s just how it is.
If you’re adding onto your house or installing a new toilet, you’ll need to add new segments to your existing plumbing in order to supply your extension. That means new water intakes, new water lines, new drains, new lateral connections… It’s a lot, and a lot can go wrong. Floods, main line breaks, sewer damage, pipes that go nowhere, pipes that connect back on themselves… we’ve even seen some real House of Leaves situations in our time.
Worst of all, a leaking pipe could compromise the installation you just finished working so hard on! You may even have to start re-arranging pipes you weren’t planning on dealing with. Complications cost time and money, on top of everything you just spent. Strongly consider having a professional reroute your pipes. They can do it right the first time, so you don’t have to drive yourself to paranoia wondering if you did something wrong.
Hopefully, this doesn’t put you off trying to work on your own plumbing. DIY jobs can be a great way to learn and feel ownership over your home. For dangerous plumbing jobs like these, however, the money, time, and injury risks are just so severe to mess with. The reason plumbing professionals exist is so they can handle the jobs that require extensive training.
If you’re planning a big plumbing project, or you think you might have a dangerous plumbing problem, give us a call. We can complete any home repair job in an efficient, time-and-cost effective manner. Good luck with your project!
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