Home Plumbing Projects: Save Yourself Time, Aggravation and Money by Calling a Pro

By John Focht

When it comes to figuring out the worst home repair mistake I ever made, the problem isn’t trying to identify one, the problem is narrowing down my list of choices to just one. To steal a line from Frank Sinatra: “Mistakes, I’ve made a few.”

There was the attempt I once made to do some minor re-wiring in the house. By the end of my project, I was left turning my back porch light on with the dimmer in my dining room.

Another time, I had actually convinced myself that I would be able to replace a window frame in my bedroom. Luckily for me, a close friend of mine who is a contractor was able to quickly come to my aid and assist me with the wide, gaping hole I left in my bedroom wall.

Plumbing is like peeling an onion – the more you peel, the more layers you find, and the more it stinks

My all-time biggest home repair project mistake I made though was believing I had the know-how and the tools to do some modest plumbing.

My job was simple: replace the pipes under the bathroom sinks and install new faucets. The prime mistake I made with the project was not doing some upfront homework to be sure I was getting the right size pipes, and to make sure I had the right connecting pieces. “A pipe is a pipe is a pipe,” I thought. What I was left with was a sink with no connection, and a bathroom floor littered with disconnected pipes.

When it came to changing the faucets, let’s just say the instructions in the packet, and the picture of the mom on the front box easily changing the faucets aren’t exactly honest advertising.

Plumbing is definitely a craft not to be taken into lightly. Doing some homework upfront regarding instructions, pipe sizes, and tools is needed. (On the positive side, I was able to understand why they actually call it a plumber’s wrench).

Lessons Learned from Plumbing

Two vital lessons I learned during my brief experience with plumbing: the first is to shut the water valve off on the area you are working. I learned the hard way while changing the shower head the importance of shutting the water valve off.

The second, and probably more important vital lesson: call a professional. At some point you are going to get the feeling that you can conquer all home projects on your list. Well, the lesson I learned was stick to writing and next time call a plumber.

Originally published on Yahoo! Voices June 3, 2014.