DIY vs Professional: When Should You Call a Plumber for Your Plumbing Problems

February 1st, 2022

Throughout your time as a homeowner, you will come across plumbing problems in some shape or form. A question you may be asking yourself is will you need to call a plumber or can you do it yourself? Plumbing issues can be complex and sometimes trying to do it yourself can cause more problems.

Table of Contents

Do It Yourself

Pros of DIY Work:

Doing it yourself can save you the money of hiring a plumber to come out, which can be expensive depending on the job. It also allows you to educate yourself on how to fix these problems that may arise in your home. It can be easy to find instructions and guides on the internet. So if you want to learn to be handy doing it yourself can be a great option. 

Cons of DIY Work:

While doing it yourself can save you the cost of hiring a plumber, there is a risk. Your work can lead to even more future problems if done wrong. These problems can end up being more than the initial cost of the initial small problem. It can also be very time-consuming. We live busy lives, and learning how to fix these problems yourself can take a lot of time and energy.

Professional Plumbers

Pros of Professionals:

Calling in a plumber gives you the peace of mind that the job will be done right. They have the experience, knowledge, and equipment to make sure the problem is resolved. Plumbers will be able to complete the work quickly and help ensure no future problems will occur. 

Cons of Professionals:

The cons of having a professional coming in are associated with the cost. Plumbing jobs can be expensive. Sometimes you may even be asked to pay for the cost of materials on top of the cost of labor. This is why it is important to do your research and find the best plumber for your situation.

Common Problems Throughout Your Home 

Plumbing problems can appear in many different areas of your home. Not every problem is solvable on your own,  there are times when you must call in the help of a professional. Here we will break down the most common plumbing problems we can see throughout your home and if you can do it yourself, or if you should call a plumber.  Before you start tackling a problem you should know your limits. Have an understanding of the situation, and understand the time commitment to the problem. There is no shame in calling a plumber if you feel like a problem is too big to handle on your own. 

Here is a breakdown of the most common plumbing problems in different areas of your home:


1. ) Leaky Faucets 

Leaking faucets are a common problem that can have a dramatic impact on your water bill. The leaking faucets are usually a simple fix. The common culprits for this issue are a worn-out washer or an o-ring. They are easily replaceable with a simple toolkit. 

A more serious cause could be leaking or broken pipes in your home. Broken pipes can cause more serious leaks in your home. If the simple fix did not work, consider getting a second opinion.

2. ) Clogged Drains

Clogged drains can be a serious pain, but they are preventable. There are many common causes of clogged drains. Hair, Grease, granular soaps, and roots are very common causes of these clogs.  The best DIY way to help with clogged drains is by taking preventative measures. Educating yourself on what should and should not go into your drain and making the effort to follow through will save you time and money down the line. 

Minor clogs and slow drains can be fixed on your own by using a drain plunger or a drain snake. If you find your drain clogging consistently, or if the water begins to stop draining you should call a plumber. If your drain is clogging repeatedly it can be a sign of a serious problem. If you notice it is more than one drain, it can be a sign that you have a backup in your sewer line. 

It is important to note that store-bought drain cleaners can be doing more harm than good. They will provide a temporary fix to the problem, but as they sit in your drains they turn into a nasty paste, and more issues will return. The chemicals in these products also damage and corrode the pipes over time.

3.) Garbage Disposal

Garbage disposal problems can be a common problem in home kitchens. Like clogged drains, putting the wrong things in your garbage disposal can cause damage. You should never put fruit pits, eggshells, fats or oils, or bones through your disposal. These items can damage the blades or clog the system causing draining issues.

Most systems will have a way to manually unjam it. At the bottom of your unit, there should be a slot for you to use an Allen key and manually turn the disposal to get rid of a jam. If the system is still not working properly, it may be in your best interest to call a professional with knowledge of electrical and plumbing systems. 

If you hear grinding noises, experience leaks, or it will not turn on, there are signs of greater mechanical damage to the system. When you are assessing the damage to your system, if you see obvious damage and wear, it can be in your best interest to swap out the unit.

4.) No Hot Water

Water heater issues can be a serious pain. If you notice your system is consistently having issues it may be time for a full replacement of the system. It is not normal to lack hot water on a regular basis. It could be as simple as a pilot light being out, or it could be a full system failure. 

If you do not see any visual problems like leaks or broken parts, there are a few things you can check before calling in a plumber. First, you can check to see if the breaker tripped. Most water heaters need their own breaker and the breaker can trip. You can also try resetting the water heater, sometimes it can trip itself and only require a quick reset. 

After this, water heater repair is best left to professionals. One of the biggest red flags to see if your water heater is faulty is if you notice a leak in the system. If the system is not replaced correctly it can cause new leaks in the system leading to serious damage. You are also dealing with hot water that is being put under pressure. If you make a mistake you are also risking personal injury.

5.) Water Pressure Issues

Low water pressure can have different source causes. If it is a singular faucet, the aerator could be clogged. This can be fixed by simply unscrewing the aerator and cleaning it thoroughly. This can be done on faucets and showerheads.  If this does not do the trick it could be a more serious problem. Especially if you are seeing water pressure problems throughout the house 

Low water pressure is often associated with cracked/broken pipes or clogs in your home system. Every time you run the water it can be causing the system to leak spreading water through your home. It is important to find the leak in your system to fix it immediately. If you notice a leak in a specific area and are confident, it can be done yourself. If the source of the leak is unknown you should call in a plumber to address the issue and make sure there is no damage done to your home.

6.) Foul Odors

Foul odors can be a result of a few different issues. A very commonplace to find these odors is in your garbage disposal. Buildup from food particles can cause a nasty smell in your kitchen, but here are simple fixes. One way is plugging the drain,  filling up the sink with hot water and soap, and running the disposal as the water drains. Doing this regularly will help stop the food buildup and odors. This method is also useful for other drains that may be accumulating grime and bacteria. It can also be helpful to grind lemon peels and water through the disposal to leave a lasting fresh scent. 

If the issue is persistent, and happening in different areas in your house. It could be a sign of sewage buildup from clogged drains. This issue does not only leave a terrible smell in your house but can also be dangerous. If you suspect this to be the issue you should immediately call a plumber to assess the problem.

7.) Running Toilets

Like leaking faucets, running toilets are a major waste of water. Running toilets can waste up to 200 gallons of water a day. The most likely cause of this problem is a broken part in the toilet tank. Problems with the filler valve or the flapper are very common.  Generally, these parts are easy to replace on your own. With this being such a common problem there are many DIY kits on the market that come with the parts and instructions for the repair. 

1.) Leaky Hose Bibs 

Leaking hose bibs are a very common problem. Hose bibs that are not protected may crack during the cold winter months. With a few simple tools, they are very easy to replace. We recommend getting a frost-proof hose bib to try and prevent future cracks after installation. 

2. ) Leaky Pipes and Frozen Pipes

Sometimes you may not know immediately if you have problems with pipes leaking. You may find out from an increase in your water bill, spotting a leak in your home, or having a pipe burst. As soon as you sense that you have a leaky pipe, it should be dealt with immediately. 

Leaky pipes can be a result of many factors. Corrosion, clogged drains, cracks, and broken seals can all be contributors.  A leak in your pipe can cause significant damage to your floors, ceilings, or furniture if it is not dealt with quickly or properly. 

Another problem that can present itself with leaking pipes is the potential for freezing. If the pipe freezes it can cause the pipes to burst completely. 

Unless you are comfortable with the process, calling a plumber in this situation will make sure the problems are dealt with before any major damage can be done.

3.) Septic/Sewage Issues 

If you are experiencing issues with your septic and/or sewage system, you should be calling a plumber. They are very complex systems. Even if you were mentally up to the task, you would need a plumber to find the root of the issue in the first place. Having a problem in this area is bad enough, a fix done wrong will lead to more serious issues. 

Common signs you will see if you have a backup in your sewage system include drain gurgling, foul odors, slow draining, water leaking out from under the toilet, and sewer water backup in bathtubs or floor drains. 

Another thing to consider is that sewage lines are connected through the city’s lines. Causing an error here has the potential to cause problems for your neighbors. Calling in a professional will ensure that it will be done right.

4.) Landscaping System Issues 

Irrigation and sprinkler systems provide a great way to keep your garden and yard in great condition. There are many common problems associated with these systems, most of which can be fixed yourself. Clogged and Obstructed sprinkler heads are very common. This will cause little to no water to come out of these areas. You will often be able to deal with these problems by cleaning out the heads or removing obstructions yourself.

5.) Pooling Water 

Pooling water is an issue that should not go unaddressed. Pooling water is a sign that you either have a bad leak, or your drainage system is not properly functioning. Pooling water can cause damage to the concrete foundation and slabs in your home. Calling a plumber will be essential in this situation. They will be able to find the source of the leak or clog and do what is necessary to resolve the issue. Not knowing the source and trying to fix it yourself.

1.) New Appliances 

New appliances may seem like an easy job. Ensuring that your appliances are correctly hooked up to the water source is very important. Having a plumber come in to do the job will make sure this happens. Having a professional install your system will ensure that your system does not have any leaks in the future. Proper installation also helps with the longevity of your system. Done wrong it can cause your appliances to malfunction. Then you will be back to square one. Make sure it gets done right the first time. new appliances are an investment and proper installation will protect them.

2.) Sump Pump Failure

Sump pump failures can cause major flooding damage to your home. If you do experience problems with your sump pump it is best to call a plumber to prevent any further damage to your home or the system. Most problems with sump pups occur due to lack of maintenance or because they were not installed correctly. When your system fails, flooding may occur causing damage to your floors and basement. If you notice a failure in your sump pump contact a plumber. They will be able to resolve the problem and minimize the damage done by the system.

3.) No Running Water 

Having no running water is an instance where you should definitely call a plumber. If you encounter this issue, you should reach out to your neighbors. If they do not have running water it is not a problem with your system.  If they are not, there is a chance something is very wrong with your system. You should call a plumber immediately to assess the issue. Without proper knowledge diagnosing this issue can be very hard, and going in blind to fix this issue will only lead to further damage.

4.) New Fixtures 

Installing new fixtures can be a generally easy thing to do. Most modern fixtures will come with a comprehensive set of instructions that can be installed with a generally basic set of tools. If this is not the case, resources are very common online. If you follow the instructions you can do this job on your own in a reasonable amount of time. If you feel comfortable installing these fixtures, doing it yourself can be a great option. 

5.) Replacing Old Pipes 

Replacing old pipes can be a very complex issue. Not only will you have to pull back walls or flooring to get to the systems, but you will also have to know what pipes you use to keep up with the demand of your system. Plumbers will be able to figure out what pipes are needed, and properly install them. If installed incorrectly, it can lead to system leaks causing water damage throughout your home.

6.) Renovation 

Most renovation work will require proper permission and permits. Plumbers have the necessary licenses and knowledge of building codes and regulations to do the job. For any renovation you want to make, you will need to get permission to do the job. Professional plumbers have all the proper licenses required to do the job. You also have the guarantee that it will be done right.

It is helpful to have a basic tool kit that can be useful for a variety of small fixes and projects. The first step in attempting any plumbing project is to make sure you have the right tools.  An everyday plumbing toolkit would benefit from the following tools: 

  • Wrenches (Adjustable, Pipe Wrench, Basin Wrench) 
  • Plumbers putty and tape 
  • Pipe Cleaner 
  • Pliers 
  • Hacksaw
  • Tube Cutter 
  • Plungers
  • Duct Tape 

Having these tools at your disposal can be very beneficial. They will allow you to tackle the projects you feel comfortable doing or the ones that come with no warning. 


While some can be fixed on your own with a few basic tools and skills, it is important to have a plumber you can call for help when problems arise. Plumbing systems in our home are very complex. Delving into these issues is largely up to personal knowledge. As a general rule of thumb, only do the plumbing repairs you feel comfortable doing. If you do encounter a plumbing issue, no matter how severe, you can call Expert Services- Plumbing, Heating, Air & Electrical today to get the help you need!