Home repair shows might convince some Americans to tackle big projects, but when it comes to plumbing, do-it-yourself projects aren't always a smart idea.
Plumbing errors can lead to messy problems, the kind that destroy personal property and eat up insurance claims. If you cause more problems than you fix, your plumber will have to spend more time repairing your mistakes, raising his price.
Here are some tips for Americans trying to decide which plumbing projects require a professional:
- Insulating pipes. Installing installation is an easy project, so if you have the time and don't mind bending into cramped lofts, go ahead and insulate your own pipes and water heater. You can use different materials -; jackets, boards, moldings, tapes and mats. So, ask people at the home repair store to talk you through the different materials.
- Replacing valves and hoses. Even the most un-handy Americans can replace showerheads and washing machine hoses, but when it comes to valve replacement, it's better to hire a professional. You do not want to install a shut-off, shower or tub valve incorrectly, unless you enjoy cleaning up after floods.
- Installing a water heater. Water heaters are expensive and important pieces of equipment, so call in a pro. A typical water heater lasts 15 to 20 years, so even though water heaters can be expensive to install, they are largely a one-time expense.
- Leaks. Even small leaks cause considerable damage, so you shouldn't chance a do-it-yourself job. If you see a flood, turn off the water supply and call a plumber.
Of course, some new products exist to help you catch small leaks before they become big problems. For example, the FloLogic System (www.flologic.com), which won one of Popular Science's Best of What's New awards, acts like a circuit breaker for the home plumbing system.
The FloLogic System monitors the water supply from one location in the main. When the flow through the system exceeds a preset limit, the product shuts off the water and sounds an alarm at the keypad, letting you know that it's time to call a plumber.
For more information, visit www.flologic.com.