The Urge to Plumb

What is it with plumbing that all these people think they can do it pretty well with a little information? Do they post on a lawyers' newsgroup and ask for free advice on how to represent themselves in court? Do they post on a doctors' newsgroup and ask how they can take out their own gall bladders? Maybe these the same people who look at a Van Gogh painting and say, "Heck I could do that if somebody could get me started."
The economy is not a zero sum game. Long ago people discovered division of labor makes the economy a positive sum game. Instead of each person trying to do everything for himself, workers specialize. Somebody learns how to make clothing. Somebody else gets good at raising crops. Somebody else gets skilled at making tools. Somebody takes the trouble to acquire the specialized knowledge and special skills to install and service plumbing systems.
And then they trade with each other. And because each worker has a specialty, more goods and services get produced for a day's work than if each person makes his own clothes, raises his own food, makes his own tools and does his own plumbing.
It's a win/win thing. So why the hell does a guy who has put time into learning a specialty like bookkeeping or lexicography think he needs to do his own plumbing, something that another guy has spent at least as much time and effort learning? Is it a cultural thing? Do women expect men to do their own plumbing? Is doing your own plumbing a subconscious attempt to get laid?
MM
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
What is it with plumbing that all these people think they can do it pretty well with a little information? Do they post on a lawyers' newsgroup and ask for free advice on how to represent themselves in court? Do they post on a doctors' newsgroup and ask how they can take out their own gall bladders? Maybe these the same people who look at a Van Gogh painting and say, "Heck I could do that if somebody could get me started."
The economy is not a zero sum game. Long ago people discovered division of labor makes the economy a positive sum game. Instead of each person trying to do everything for himself, workers specialize. Somebody learns how to make clothing. Somebody else gets good at raising crops. Somebody else gets skilled at making tools. Somebody takes the trouble to acquire the specialized knowledge and special skills to install and service plumbing systems.
And then they trade with each other. And because each worker has a specialty, more goods and services get produced for a day's work than if each person makes his own clothes, raises his own food, makes his own tools and does his own plumbing.
It's a win/win thing. So why the hell does a guy who has put time into learning a specialty like bookkeeping or lexicography think he needs to do his own plumbing, something that another guy has spent at least as much time and effort learning? Is it a cultural thing? Do women expect men to do their own plumbing? Is doing your own plumbing a subconscious attempt to get laid?
MM
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
I don't think the "urge to plumb" is any more common than the urge to build a deck, plant a garden or fix one's own car. And you've got to admit that putting pipes together is kind of fun. Especially if it's PVC or CPVC. In any case, this reminds me of a usenet thread I found not too long ago. Here's my contribution to it:

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Wow... Now I feel bad that I did all the plumbing and heating in my own house when I built it. I bought a book and saved about 12 grand doing it myself. Maybe I'll donate it to the cause..
If this is taboo, then why does my state let the home-owner (only) do his own plumbing/heating and Electrical ?
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

I don't know what your job is, but by taking longer because you suck at plumbing, you may have lost money by not doing what you're good at like flipping burgers. Also, the shit work you did may come back to haunt you with problems that dwarf that twelve grand you think you saved.
MM
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Well, the house was built 11 years ago, and so far the toilets seem to be working. At what point does amateur work start to degrade, so I can get ready to call you in to save the day? I found the area of home-depot that said secret plumber quality parts, and used them instead of the junk in the plumbing department, so I'm thinking I should be ok for awhile at least....
You have to admit, there no rocket science in glueing together pipes and installing them to maintain flow and venting. Even copper pipe is pretty easy to do. The Boiler was a bit trickier, I had to use one of those big red-wrench thingies... I dont know what you call them... And I only caught the house on fire a small handfull of times running the baseboards.... And that purple stuff, wow, what a high! Like snorting fingernail polish.. Which, by the way, I dont need anymore since I broke all my nails plumbing.. Do you have the same problem ? Cuz that gets my panties in a bunch too..
And as far as the lawsuits go, Keep practicing the plumbing stuff, someday you'll get good at it and do work they can't sue you for.... until then... you might want to cut back on the caffeine a bit and stay away from the pipe-dope for awhile..
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

ROFL. Especially when you have the Time-Life Guide to Plumbing for reference.
O, the conceit of fools. Pity the hapless home buyer who gets stuck with one of these amateur abortions.
MM
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

A combination of taxes, high prices and labour shortages mean that it is simply not possible for people around here to afford plumbers. It is also not possible for most people to do overtime to get pay for a period when they could be doing further productive work, such as plumbing their houses, which somewhat distorts the division of labour argument.
With a bit of practice and competence, a DIYer can work at least half as quickly as a pro (sometimes even faster). As round here you might be paying up to 50GPB (~90USD) an hour for non emergency work to a plumber who just wants endless cups of tea/coffee, you might as well pay yourself instead. Even with your own reduced productivity you are still paying yourself more than double what you earn in your day job.

If you've ever looked at one, you'll realise the answer is a resounding yes! What's the point in spending 150GBP per hour on a lawyer when there is only a few hundreds/thousands involved in the case. It's just guaranteed to mean that you lose out financially even if you win.
Christian.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

much higher taxes, have slightly higher prices and have a much less desperate labor force than we do here in America (or Britain to a lesser extent). But, even so, they're much more inclined to call a plumber than do their own plumbing when the need arises.

little thing is certainly a good reason not to become a plumber by trade unless you plan to charge enough money to cover all the lawsuits. I don't think they have this problem in Europe.
Robert

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
I agree with part of what you're saying here Mark. And I would agree that on some jobs you are much better off hiring a licensed plumber. But there are numerous maintenance issues that an average do-it-yourselfer can perform quite adequately. Water heater tanks should be flushed. Any moron can hook up a hose and flush the tank. Many homeowner jobs amount to the same thing.
Not everybody in America earns $100K+ per year. In fact, most households will have a husband and wife who both work and both earn less than $15/hour each. That is more "normal" in America. That is also somewhere in the ballpark of total net take-home of about $750/week.
And out of that $750/week, these households have to pay mortgages, insurance, gas, electric, water, cable, car payments, etc. What it really amounts to is that homeowners really can't afford to pay what most plumbers are charging. Unlike medical concerns, there isn't some insurance company footing the bill and asking for the consumer to pay $20 for the office visit (insurance covers the rest). It doesn't work that way with plumbing. With plumbing they're going to pay out of THEIR POCKETS. And for the average household, paying upwards of $600 to change out a waterheater is a strain on their budget.
I was there once myself with a shit-paying job and wife who had a shit-paying job. these people are asking for help probably because they can't afford to pay a plumber to make a housecall. I can't say I blame them a bit. I still do all of my work myself. If the roof leaks, I fix it. I mow my own yard. I paint and pressure wash and etc., I change my own brakes and repair my own equipment. I even pulled a bad tooth out of my own mouth last year with a pair of channel locks. Hell...why pay a dentist $600 and waste my time sitting in an office waiting for some guy when I have tools in my truck. It's as much about being self-sufficient as it is about saving money.
the huge warehouse type home improvement stores are a testament to how Americans are remarkably SELF RELIANT and remarkably CAPABLE. Personally, I think it's a good thing.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Now that is bullshit. But I have cut off my own leg cast to save money and I always take out my stitches.
MM
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

I'd give myself a root canal if I could buy Novocain over-the-counter. :-)
Robert
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
What is it with plumbing that all these people think they can do it pretty well with a little information? Do they post on a lawyers' newsgroup and ask for free advice on how to represent themselves in court? Do they post on a doctors' newsgroup and ask how they can take out their own gall bladders? Maybe these the same people who look at a Van Gogh painting and say, "Heck I could do that if somebody could get me started."
The economy is not a zero sum game. Long ago people discovered division of labor makes the economy a positive sum game. Instead of each person trying to do everything for himself, workers specialize. Somebody learns how to make clothing. Somebody else gets good at raising crops. Somebody else gets skilled at making tools. Somebody takes the trouble to acquire the specialized knowledge and special skills to install and service plumbing systems.
And then they trade with each other. And because each worker has a specialty, more goods and services get produced for a day's work than if each person makes his own clothes, raises his own food, makes his own tools and does his own plumbing.
It's a win/win thing. So why the hell does a guy who has put time into learning a specialty like bookkeeping or lexicography think he needs to do his own plumbing, something that another guy has spent at least as much time and effort learning? Is it a cultural thing? Do women expect men to do their own plumbing? Is doing your own plumbing a subconscious attempt to get laid?
MM
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
What is it with plumbing that all these people think they can do it pretty well with a little information? Do they post on a lawyers' newsgroup and ask for free advice on how to represent themselves in court? Do they post on a doctors' newsgroup and ask how they can take out their own gall bladders? Maybe these the same people who look at a Van Gogh painting and say, "Heck I could do that if somebody could get me started."
The economy is not a zero sum game. Long ago people discovered division of labor makes the economy a positive sum game. Instead of each person trying to do everything for himself, workers specialize. Somebody learns how to make clothing. Somebody else gets good at raising crops. Somebody else gets skilled at making tools. Somebody takes the trouble to acquire the specialized knowledge and special skills to install and service plumbing systems.
And then they trade with each other. And because each worker has a specialty, more goods and services get produced for a day's work than if each person makes his own clothes, raises his own food, makes his own tools and does his own plumbing.
It's a win/win thing. So why the hell does a guy who has put time into learning a specialty like bookkeeping or lexicography think he needs to do his own plumbing, something that another guy has spent at least as much time and effort learning? Is it a cultural thing? Do women expect men to do their own plumbing? Is doing your own plumbing a subconscious attempt to get laid?
MM
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Related Threads

    HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.