Q&A / 

DIY Heating Plumbing

Diy (do-it-yourself) heating and plumbing is an ambitious goal to set, and one that is achievable if you have great comprehension skills, a boatload of tools and are mechanically inclined. In other words, diy heating and plumbing is much harder and far more complicated than painting or rough carpentry. Do not be lulled into a sense of empowerment by the countless diy books, radio shows and television shows about diy heating, plumbing and other topics. Certain diy projects require years of experience to achieve results that are close to that of a professional.

Diy heating is by far the most complicated. For sake of discussion, diy air conditioning should be included in the discussion about heating. The heating and cooling system in a standard home is by far the most complicated mechanical equipment found in a residential house. Not only is the equipment itself highly complex, but the calculations required to properly size the furnace, boiler and air conditioner are not easily performed by a do-it-yourselfer.

Many people are probably unaware that furnaces and air conditioners are like shoes. They come in all different sizes and styles. If you try to wear a shoe that is the wrong size, you are very uncomfortable. The same is true for furnaces and air conditioners. Put the wrong size in your home, and I guarantee you will be highly uncomfortable.

The tools needed to install air conditioners are expensive and complex. You need special gauges, a high-quality vacuum pump, special soldering equipment and a wide variety of other specialized hand tools.

The skills to install air conditioning equipment properly are not learned in a classroom or over a period of one week. It takes years of on-the-job experience to become qualified to deal with all of the unique situations one encounters when installing air conditioning in a home.

Diy heating requires that you know about furnaces and boilers. Furnaces are slightly less complicated than air conditioners, but they offer unique challenges. Fitting and working with metal duct work is not a job for a rookie. Boilers are more complex than furnaces, and you must be an expert pipe fitter to produce good results.

Many of the manufacturers of heating and cooling equipment will not sell their products to diy heating buffs. They know the challenges that face trained professionals, and realize it is beyond the scope of do-it-yourselfers to install their products.

Diy plumbing is another field that looks far easier than it is in the real world. Plumbing is directly related to public health, and the installation of both water supply lines and wastewater drainage lines must be done in certain ways to protect the health of communities and individuals within your own household. A rookie diy plumbing installation can send contaminated water backward into a public water supply system. A good-intentioned diy plumber can sicken his own family by installing drainage pipes that clog or emit sewer gas into a home on a regular basis.

Diy plumbing has been glorified on many cable television shows. It takes great skills to install plumbing in accordance with all codes and industry standards. Pipe sizing is important, as is the proper venting of plumbing fixtures.

If you are still in the mood to attempt your own diy heating and plumbing jobs, then be sure to research all methods, tools and codes with respect to your tasks at hand. Take out the necessary permits, and have the inspectors check your work. If you succeed, congratulations. If you fail, be prepared to open up your wallet a little further while you step aside for the professional to straighten out your work.

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