Doing-it-yourselfing likely will only raise the repair bill

THE OLYMPIANApril 22, 2012 

Today, we’re beginning an occasional series of articles loosely titled, “Increasing the value of your home,” by posing the question: Should you do your own plumbing repairs?

Medical Alert: According to Federally Mandated Official Columnist Rules, I must disclose that I have been diagnosed as a Chronic Do-It-Yourselfer, which means that I cannot help myself from assessing any imaginable household condition and dreaming up at least three different ways to make it worse.

Now, back to our topic. In order to answer this question, let’s examine the case of a drippy faucet.

There are many different kinds of drips. There are drips whose conversations stimulate you about as much as a mouthful of sawdust. This is not about those.

This is about drips of the watery kind, the kind whose torturous plink! plink! can drive an ordinary person to the brink of chewing carpet.

Drips have minds; crafty, evil minds. Drips often gather in large numbers – called “puddles” when they’re stranded helpless on a street. But indoors at night, they form single-line commando teams whose mission it is to drive people like me crazy.

The cruelest drip of all is the one that starts up five minutes after you’ve slipped into bed, at the precise moment you start to relax and feel the strains of the day floating away. If the drip had started up any sooner, you would have hopped out of bed and fixed it. Any later and you would have been safely sound asleep.

The drip thus poses a difficult dilemma: Should you get out of bed? Will it stop in a minute? Can you fall asleep anyway?

With every twist of your internal debate, the drips pathologically plink! in a well-timed military march to your insanity. There is just enough space between each drip to give you hope before the next plink!

You will get up eventually and wrench back the offending faucet handle with approximately the same delicacy as a heavy-duty mechanic performing brain surgery. You goal is to squeeze every drop of life out of those nasty droplets once and for all.

According to Official Plumbing statistics, plumbers get a high percentage of early-morning repair calls from people whose drips weren’t killed off on the first assault.

That’s because when you have pounded back the faucet as far as it will go and the drips remain on the offensive, the odds favor you employing a variety of common household weapons for more force, such as the heel of your foot or the top of the nearby commode.

This usually results in damage that sends a plumber’s eyeballs spinning and stopping on a pair of very large dollar signs.

Therefore, the answer to today’s question – should I do my own plumbing repairs? – is:

“Are you nuts?”

You’d be better off walking around your house randomly firing off a shotgun!

Next week: How to practice Safe Home Ownership by hiring Actual Professionals.


“So many species, so little time” – But it is time for the annual Procession of the Species and Spring Arts Walk. Both events take place next weekend, April 27-28. The luminary procession starts at 9.30 p.m. next Friday, and the Procession at 4.30 p.m. Saturday. Arts Walk events begin Friday and continue Saturday. The Olympian will publish a guide to this year’s Arts Walk on Thursday … There’s still time to enjoy the 2012 SouthSound Green Tour today from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. at the former Schoenfeld’s building at the corner of Fourth Avenue and Capitol Way. There are vendor, demonstrations and workshops on energy efficiency… And don’t forget to cheer on your favorite team in next Saturday’s Saint Martin’s University Dragon Boat Festival at the Port Plaza in Budd Inlet. The sixth annual event runs from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. April 28. It’s free and open to the public.

George LeMasurier, publisher of The Olympian, may be reached at 360-357-0206 or

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