Don’t Get in Over Your Head With Dangerous or Difficult Repairs

Television shows make home repair look easy. Knock out a wall? No problem! Lay down wood floors? It’s a breeze! Install a new toilet? All you need is tools!

Real-life repairs are complicated. As anyone who has attempted a home-improvement job knows, a seemingly simple project can spiral out of control.

A job you thought would take an hour, could eat up an entire weekend,  requires multiple trips to the hardware store, necessitates a consultation with your dad and, possibly, probably, involves a whole lot of cuss words.

Self-sufficiency is a laudable goal, but plumbing requires skill and experience. Journeyman plumbers in Oregon must complete years of training in an approved program and pass a licensing exam.

Those prerequisites aren’t just meaningless paperwork. Plumbing in the hands of an inexperienced person is dangerous. Mishaps range from noxious fumes to unsanitary conditions and electrical hazards.

Some repairs are a lot of work but involve little risk. Others, however, should for safety’s sake be entrusted to skilled tradespeople. In particular, homeowners should steer clear of plumbing projects that require a pro.

Spare Yourself Headaches and Expense

We all like to save money. If you have a minor clog, of course you should attempt to clear it with a plunger. It’s always best to educate yourself on plumbing best practices, too. For example, you can reduce the chances of a backed-up toilet by remembering that you should only flush toilet paper and waste.

For all but minor repairs, it’s best to call a plumber. Homeowners often bite off more than they can chew. They start a project, but before too long they run into a problem. Something that could have been a quick and easy repair for a pro becomes an expensive emergency call.

Dangerous Repairs to Avoid

What type of projects demands the help of a journeyman plumber? The short answer is anything that requires turning off the water supply, taking fixtures apart or involves working with electricity or gas.

Here are more details about the dangers of certain types of plumbing repairs:

Excavation: Homeowners dig for reasons unrelated to plumbing, but DIY excavation can lead to a broken pipe or other problems. If you’re installing a new driveway, placing fence posts or planting a new garden, be sure you know the location of sewer and water lines.

To avoid a costly plumbing accident, before you break soil, call Oregon’s Utility Notification Center at 1-800-332-2344 (or 811). Digging poses the immediate risk of damaging a pipe. Aside from that, however, consider whether you want to pave or build above utility lines. While Apollo has no-dig technologies for pipe repair, there may be circumstances when you need to excavate.

Water heater installation: A traditional tank water heater is a relatively simple appliance, but installing one of these bulky heaters can be tricky.  Water heaters are frequently tucked away in dark corners that may be difficult to access.

The device has to be hooked up to water lines. It also needs to be connected to either electricity or gas. If you’re installing a tankless electric model, you’ll need to make sure your home’s electricals can handle the load. Heat pump water heaters require more clearance than standard models.

Replacing a toilet: Sewer lines give off dangerous fumes. When you remove a toilet, you must guard against noxious vapors. Gas from the sewer is more than unpleasant. It’s potentially deadly. A professional plumber understands the precautions needed when installing a new toilet. Save yourself some headaches by calling a plumber for toilet removal and installation.

Remodeling kitchens and bathrooms: Get your plumber involved early in remodeling projects. Plumbing is the backbone of a bathroom, kitchen or laundry room. Take care of the basics before you get to the counters, the colors, the cabinets and all the other fun stuff. If you love hands-on projects, get your fill with painting and tiling after the plumbing work is complete.

Serious clogs: The plunger is a simple, yet useful invention. If your toilet or sink has a minor clog, get out the old rubber cup on a stick and put some muscle into it. (A toilet plunger is different from a sink plunger, so keep both types on hand.) To remove a deep, stubborn clog, call a plumber.

Don’t dump chemicals into the toilet or a sink full of standing water. Drain cleaners are for deep clogs caused by such things as tree roots.  If the chemicals fail to clear the problem, you’ll have a toxic soup in your home.

Plumbers have better ways to take care of a backed-up pipe. We can use a cable, or better yet a hydro jet to get rid of the blockage. If the situation calls for it, we’ll snake a camera into the pipe to diagnose the problem.

Water supply line repair: An incorrectly installed water supply line can lead to contamination. Clean water can be compromised by backflow or from using the wrong type of pipe or solder. A water line requires professional repair and installation to remain sanitary and safe.

Apollo Drain and Rooter for Help You can Count On

Next time you see one of those home-remodeling shows, remember that these programs are entertainment. They can’t teach you to be a plumber or give you the capability to deal with hazards that turn up in your home.

When you need help in the real world, give Apollo a call. We’re a full-service plumbing company working in the Portland-metro area.