Plumbing repairs can be expensive, and they make tempting targets for homeowners looking to save money, but how should you make the decision to do something yourself or call in a professional plumber?
Does the repair require special tools, supplies or knowledge?
In most cases, simple repairs and upgrades don’t require professional help. Replacing a leaky faucet (or replacing faulty faucet parts) is a classic do-it-yourself project. Faucet repair or replacement is something that the average homeowner can do. This requires no specific professional training, and only a few simple tools and supplies that most homeowners will already have on hand. What isn’t already in the toolbox can be easily obtained at a home improvement or hardware store.
Regular maintenance and cleaning also fall into this category. As long as you know what you’re doing, and know what your systems need, these also make good do-it-yourself projects.
Does the repair require a permit?
Plumbing repairs that need permits are more challenging, and may require special knowledge and/or equipment. If not done correctly, these repairs could jeopardize your personal safety or the sanitary operation of equipment in your home. If you have to pull a permit, you’re also going to need to have your work inspected. If your work doesn’t pass muster, you’ll need to fix the problems, redo the repair altogether or call in a professional plumber.
Needing a permit isn’t an absolute red flag, but it’s a very good indication that you should think carefully about how to get the work done safely and completely before you start on the project.
Is the repair an emergency?
Bar none, emergency plumbing repairs are the worst. They seem to happen at the worst times – vacations, holidays, nights, weekends and the coldest (or hottest) day of the year are always prime time for emergencies – and their costs usually come entirely out-of-pocket, since many emergencies are not covered by homeowners insurance. When the cost of a repair is high and funds are low, it’s exceedingly tempting to think about “temporary repairs” and do-it-yourself options.
At times like this, your primary focus should be on the safety and well being of your home and family. Most professionals will work with you to help manage the cost of an unexpected repair. Additionally, for major systems like furnaces, water heaters, boilers and air conditioners, professionals can help you take advantage of rebates, tax-credits and local assistance programs designed to lower the cost of making these major repairs. These programs can include zero-percent financing, sizeable rebates on qualified replacement equipment and payment plans that can take the sting out of an unexpected expense.
If you would like assistance with a plumbing service, heating repair or AC repair or replacement project around your home, or would like to discuss options to help lower the cost of major system replacements, please give us a call at Boston Standard Plumbing & Heating at (617) 288-2911. We’ll be happy to help you assess your situation and provide information about options that may be available to you!