Plumbing typically arouses fear and loathing among do-it-yourself homeowners. With plumbers charging anywhere from $60 to $100 per hour, there are some new products on the market that make routine tasks such as shut-off valve and faucet replacement, new outdoor hose feeds and showers, and even hot water heater replacement worth considering in a DIY model. The labor savings can be considerable.
Old-fashioned "sweating" or "soldering" of copper feed lines is no longer necessary. New products such as Shark Bite and Just For Copper eliminate the need for soldering -- and in the case of SharkBite, the need for completely dry pipes and fittings. With these products and any basic plumbing guide, you'll be amazed at how relatively simple these otherwise costly jobs are to perform.
So long as your house main shut off valve turns the water off completely, there is nothing to fear from attempting these projects yourself. As basic insurance, pick up 2 SharkBite ½ inch end caps (1 for Cold & 1 for Hot) so if you decide to bail on the project without finishing, the exposed feed pipes can be sealed and a plumber can complete the job on a non-emergency basis.
- William Busch, Retired Contractor and Spend Matters Columnist