Short answer: It depends! You can do some of your own plumbing projects, but most major projects require a permit.
The better question is, “Should you do your own plumbing?” Many plumbing projects are very technical and can turn into larger, more expensive projects if not done correctly.
To give you a better idea of which projects you can/should do without a permit, we’ll look at:
Let’s look at these two considerations in more detail, so you can get a better idea of what plumbing projects you can attempt to tackle yourself.
Many homeowners don't know this, but there are a variety of plumbing projects that actually require a permit to complete.
Now, the exact list of plumbing projects that need a permit depends on your local county, so that's something you'll have to look into before determining whether you want to DIY your project (after you have a permit) or whether you want to just hire a professional.
However, we can tell you that most large and extensive plumbing projects do require a permit.
For example, these jobs usually require a permit:
If you want to attempt to DIY one of these projects, you’ll need to apply for a plumbing permit. You can apply for a permit in Hillsborough County here.
However, even if you can get a permit we’d strongly suggest leaving these kinds of projects to a licensed pro. Why?
There’s a good reason that the above jobs require a permit, as they can pose serious safety hazards and can turn into extremely expensive repairs or replacements if they are not done correctly (not to mention they usually require expensive and complex equipment). We’ll explain in a little more detail below.
When considering whether to attempt a project yourself or to hire a professional, you should consider:
Let’s look at how DIY compares to hiring a professional in each of these categories.
While most homeowners THINK a DIY plumbing job will save them money (because they are only paying for parts and not labor), it actually ends up costing them more.
This is because many plumbing projects are very technical and difficult, and if they aren't done correctly, you could end up spending a lot more than originally intended by having to hire a professional plumber to fix any mistakes or repair additional damage to your plumbing systems or home. Not to mention, some plumbing mistakes can affect homes around you, which could result in an extremely large bill at the end of the day.
Professional plumbers not only have the experience to complete a job without causing additional damage, but they also have the insurance to cover damage to your property or someone else’s property if something goes wrong.
Oftentimes, manufacturer warranties will only remain valid if a licensed plumber repairs or installs your home’s plumbing. That means, if you attempt a DIY plumbing job, you could automatically void the manufacturer's warranty on certain plumbing appliances.
Also, if your plumbing project is not done to code, your warranty is automatically invalidated.
Local plumbing codes change frequently (often times as frequently as every year) and there are hundreds of codes to keep up with. The good news is, plumbers are required to keep up with local plumbing codes, otherwise, they could lose their license. So, if you hire a professional plumber, keeping up with local codes is not something you need to worry about.
Bottom line: If keeping the manufacturer warranties on your plumbing appliances valid is important to you, you’ll want to rely on a professional to complete your plumbing repair or replacement.
Most companies and contractors also offer a labor warranty for their work. This essentially means that if a plumber repairs or replaces something and it fails because the repair replacement was not done correctly, the company or contractor will redo the work for free. Of course, if you do a plumbing project yourself, you'll likely void any labor warranties you currently have.
Unless you're a highly experienced handyman (or a plumber yourself), you'll likely end up spending more time on a DIY attempt vs just hiring a professional.
As we mentioned above, most plumbing repairs and replacements are very technical and can take a lot of time if you're not a professional.
While replacing a pipe under your sink or installing a water heater may seem like a fairly simple job, it usually ends up taking homeowners much longer than it would take professional plumber.
So, if time is extremely important to you, we'd suggest hiring a professional plumber.
We hate to break it to you, but the quality of work that a professional plumber provides is typically going to be higher than the quality of plumbing work a homeowner can complete.
Plumbers go through extensive training and also have years of experience working on various plumbing systems and issues. Because of this, they are typically able to complete most plumbing repairs and replacements at a higher level of quality than an inexperienced homeowner would be able to.
Many plumbing projects also require expensive and potentially dangerous equipment that can cause additional damage if not handled by a professional who knows how to use it.
For example, let’s say you attempt to repair a leak in your sewer line. You’ll likely need to start with a camera inspection and then choose between bursting your existing pipes or lining them with new piping. Either of these methods require expertise and can have serious implications if done incorrectly. A plumber would not only need to come in and fix the original issue, but clean up the additional damage caused.
Because of the extremely negative side effects of a plumbing job that isn’t done correctly, we always suggest relying on a plumber for any large or extensive plumbing repairs or replacements.
Safety is a big factor to consider if you’re thinking about DIYing your plumbing project.
Let’s go back to our sewer repair example from above. Sewer lines are buried in the ground, and can sometimes be difficult to locate. If you decide to DIY a sewer repair and are blindly digging for your sewer line, you could hit a natural gas line, which would release toxic gas that can not only negatively impact you but is also a fire hazard for your home and surrounding homes.
This is just one small example of the serious safety hazards that are posed when inexperienced homeowners attempt to tackle serious plumbing projects without a professional.
If ready this blog has made you realize that you need a professional plumber for a project you’re working on, you’ll want to hire a plumbing team you can trust. We have hundreds of great reviews from Florida homeowners, so you can trust that the advice we give and the work we do will be worth the cost.