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Plumbing.When to call a plumber.

Updated on July 10, 2016
mio cid profile image

The author has worked in the plumbing supply field for two decades and wishes to share experience regarding products and services .

When to call a plumber

The plumbing advice I want to share with you is based on my experience in the plumbing field for a couple of decades now.Through the years I've seen people waste their time and money,and get themselves into unfortunate and stressful situations because they tried to do themselves something they should have called a plumber for,or spend outrageous amounts of money for something that they could have done themselves and obtained the same result a plumber would have.So you should know what to do when confronted with a plumbing or heating problem, when to call a plumber,and when you can fix the problem yourself.

Most common Plumbing and heating problems.

Toilet problems
Call a plumber
Fix it yourself
Toilet fills every so often.
You can do it.
Toilet leaks to the floor
Could take some work
Tank doesn't fill,doesn't stop filling
Moderate amount of work
Toilet handle breaks
You can do it
Toilet itself physically breaks
Call a plumber.

Most of the time you can fix the toilet yourself.

When the toilet fills every so often the most likely cause is the flapper has worn out and needs to be replaced,a small amount of water leaks into the tank and when the level is low enough the fill valve goes to work and refills the tank to the appropriate level.Close the water to the toilet with the valve underneath behind the toilet ,remove the flapper and bring it to the plumbing supply store to be sure you get the right one.Also consider that any chemical you place in the tank like blue cleaners and deodorizers and such will shorten the life of the flapper.

If water leaks on to the floor the most likely reason is the tank to bowl gasket is worn out or the tank to bowl bolts are loose.If the tank to bowl bolts are loose you should tighten them carefully because you could crack the tank and it should stop leaking ,if it doesn't the gasket is worn out and needs to be replaced.Close the water to the toilet,remove the water supply line,remove the tank to bowl bolts separate the tank from the bowl,take the tank to bowl gasket to the plumbing supply to match it and get the right one,and replace it as well as the bolts,the tank to bowl gasket and bolts should come together as a package.

If the tank doesn't fill or fills continuously without stopping,first make sure somebody didn't close the water valve underneath the toilet,if that is not the case you need a new fill valve,close the water valve underneath the toilet,remove the water supply line,remove the fill valve which is the one that the water supply line screws on to,and bring it to the plumbing supply to match it with the proper fill valve.Install the new fill valve and your problem is solved.

The toilet tank handle breaks.First make sure that the problem is not just the chain that attaches to the flapper coming loose or falling off.But if the tank handle is physically broken ,just remove the handle,bring it to the plumbing supply store to be sure you have the right handle and replace it.The nut that holds the tank handle in place unscrews and screws backwards than normal so righty tighty lefty loosy doesn't is also sometimes tricky to slide the handle in and out of the small square hole.

You notice that of all the plumbing advice above only certain part is in bold letters .The reason for that is that most toilets require specific parts to work properly, and just like for the most part you don't put Ford repair parts in a Chevrolet automobile ,you shouldn't put American Standard parts in a Kohler toilet if you want it to function properly.Specially in toilets after the 1.6 gallon of water per flush went into effect, since each toilet is specifically engineered to work with specif

If the toilet physically breaks,or if you simply want to replace your toilet ,most of the time you will want to call a plumber because you never know what you will find once you remove that toilet.It could be 3" or 4" pvc pipe,or cast iron pipe,or a lead bend ,you may need a deep brass flange or a regular brass flange, or a 3"flange to go into the hub of a pvc elbow ,or inside 3"or 4" pvc pipe,or you may need a lead top hat ,so what will take a plumber less than half an hour of work,and leave you with a perfectly working toilet ,could turn into a full day's work for you and after you're done and think everything is OK you may find out it's raining in your basement.If you purchase the toilet yourself at a reputable plumbing supply store,a local licensed plumber who is reasonable should charge you between 150 and 200 dollars.You don't want to hire a handiman for this because he will have the same problem you would and could end up costing you more if he breaks something.

Feel free to ask for any plumbing advice in the comments and I will gladly find an answer for you.


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    • mio cid profile imageAUTHOR

      mio cid 

      5 years ago from Uruguay

      Yes you can, and it's very important to know the difference between what you can do yourself and when you should hire a professional plumber.

    • mio cid profile imageAUTHOR

      mio cid 

      5 years ago from Uruguay

      Yes ,its important to know what tasks to do and which to leave to a professional.Mainly never do any repair that involves gas.

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      Good tips, very informative. It's possible to save a lot of money like this.

    • mio cid profile imageAUTHOR

      mio cid 

      6 years ago from Uruguay

      thanks for reading and commenting my friend!You are right we were, and I have tried to pass on to my kids the notion that there are many home repairs they can do themselves.

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 

      6 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Great stuff here. We were required to do all these growing up. All of this is better than unplugging!


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