Disastrous attempts at home plumbing repairs make for a laugh on TV, but they're not funny when they happen in real life. The flip side, though, is the dismay of spending hard-earned money to have a plumber do something you could have done far less expensively yourself. How is a homeowner to decide which is the wiser choice?
A slow drain is usually caused by a build-up of gunk. If you see an obvious way to remove a trap and fish out the gunk, go ahead. Follow up with a commercial or home-remedy clog remover. Once the obvious solutions have failed, it's time to call a plumber. Repeated attempts to unclog a drain can damage the pipes.
The same goes for toilets. If simple plunging isn't doing the job, there's a problem that needs to be identified and tackled by somebody with know-how.
Drips are another common household problem that people try to fix themselves. If you have made minor home repairs successfully before, a leaky faucet might be a good job for you to tackle, perhaps with guidance from a book, web site, or home-repair store. If you have doubts, watching a plumber make the repair this time can help you judge if you can do it yourself next time.
Any sign of leaks along the pipes themselves, such as dripping, rust, or white mineral build-up, is evidence of a problem that will only get worse. Trained experts like the folks at All About the Pipes can fix everything up as good as new.