For every five homeowners, there are a couple who will attempt to fix things themselves. For these Do-It-Yourselfers (DYI), it makes sense. Save a few bucks for something that looks too easy to not to try and fix. For the others, they may simply want to avoid the potential hassles. If you are going to try, you might as well have at the least the basic tools useful for any plumbing project.
If you are one of those millennial homeowners itching to fix things in your house, ask Steve Labbe, owner and Master Plumber for Paradigm Plumbing, Heating, and Air Conditioning what are important tools to have on hand when starting a plumbing project. He will tell you, “Plyers, a screwdriver, and a wrench. These are basic hand tools. Of course, you can certainly expand on other tools you might find handy.
For example, an amateur plumber could benefit from having a basin wrench. “This is a useful tool with a claw on top that can turn nuts in those awkward positions behind sinks. With its handle, you can flip the claw on both sides of the faucet,” adds Steve.
With U-tube and other video channels, homeowners can watch what other amateurs have done before. So, what impact can this have on our friendly professional plumber’s livelihood? “No effect,” says Steve. There are so many hidden issues most homeowners will never anticipate that they may have to deal with when attempting plumbing. For example, what about discovering they need to make multiple trips to the store for missing supplies they need? Or how about breaking a different part than the one they were working on?”
I just tell people, if you are going to try fixing something yourself, make sure you shut off the water to what you will be working on, and then you will be in good shape. Otherwise, if you break a pipe and the water is still on, it will spray all over the place. And be careful with the tools. “If you are clumsy and you are under a sink, you have to be careful that you don’t drop a tool and hit yourself.”
One important key is that you need to plan ahead. The project may look simple but, in actuality it could get complicated. “For example, there was this outside spigot that needed fixing. I thought that looks simple. I can fix that. But It was in a crawl space with a trap door and insulation. It wasn’t long before I realized that I had to get quite a few tools out of my bag to work on this project: a torch, solder, sawzall, and a cat’s paw,”noted Steve.
It’s All about the tools. You have to have the right tools for the job. And the small tricks of the trade are important, too. This is where the DYI can run into trouble. For example, you want to know what you will need ahead of time. You want to avoid the back and forth to the supply house.
As plumbers, Steve’s team members are continually learning. There are new tools that provide better analysis of the problem and simplify the solution. But they are often expensive and complex. For example, there is a tool to simplify adjusting a gas regulator. That is something a plumber has to be trained on and DYI homeowner should not be doing themselves.
Steve cautions, “Watching a U-tube video can be informative for the do-it-yourselfer but often doesn’t tell the important details behind the scenes of the the solution. One of my guys was working on a project and the customer was telling him how to do it based on a U-tube video he saw. Would you do that to your doctor when going into surgery?”
If you are going to attempt doing something yourself, be aware that there may be more to the solution than you currently know. Talk with your plumber about the project who can advise on what you might try yourself and where you might run into problems. In any case, plan your project and get the appropriate materials and tools you will need. And remember turn off the water before you start!