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Find & fix what's wrong in your plumbing

Plumbing renovations run the gamut from simple pipe clog fixes or toilet repair jobs to extensive septic tank or waste pipe replacements. However, having an issue with your plumbing is one of the more stressful worries homeowners have due to the potential for water damage and the difficulty of cleanup.

This worry is often behind the more difficult plumbing renovations homeowners choose to undertake. Replacing old copper pipes with newer PVC, replacing gaskets or rubber washers to prevent leaks, and unclogging pipes overgrown with debris can be challenging, but the thought of a home where you don't have to worry about a water leak can be impetus enough to start the job.

Plumbing projects

Getting started on a plumbing project can be a challenging proposition. The first rule is to figure out how to shut off your water. While many sinks have valves where you can shut off water to do work, other areas may need you to shut off the water main. This will prevent you from using any water in your home for the duration of the project.

The other main issue is to get the right size connection. It helps to bring the part you plan to replace or connect to the hardware store with you, so you get the right size pipes.

Replacing pipes: Depending on what type of pipes you have, this may be an easy or hard job. Modern plumbing is almost always made of PVC plastic, which fits together easily with gaskets, and washers to prevent leaks and last for a long time. This is relatively inexpensive and will likely cost under $50 for a small job.

Replacing fixtures such as toilet or sink: Getting a new sink or toilet is a large expenditure, but it is relatively less labor-intensive than replacing pipes or fixing leaks. The majority of the cost will be incurred in the purchase of the new fixtures, as any plumbing parts are generally inexpensive.

Unclogging pipes: Pipes may be clogged with anything from hair to construction debris or tree roots. Unclogging involves using chemicals and "snake" tools to break up the clog. Consult with a professional to figure out the best way to handle your particular clog.

Fixing leaks: Dealing with a leak involves finding the source, shutting off the water main (in that order), and replacing the damaged part of the pipe. This is generally very inexpensive.

Hiring a plumber

While some projects are perfectly acceptable to do yourself, there are certain situations where it is much better to call a contractor.

Plumbing contractors should also be strongly considered for large jobs that involve stringent code specifications, such as septic tanks in suburban or rural areas, large waste pipes to take wastewater out of your home or additions that involve entirely new plumbing hookups like adding a new bathroom or kitchen.

Final thoughts

Ultimately, the decision to hire a contractor for any home improvement project depends on whether you have more money or more time. If you have more time, a DIY project may be appropriate, but if you have more money, your time is arguably more valuable, and you can feel good about spending the money on a plumbing contractor.

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