When that dripping tap starts to get on everyone’s nerves, the home do-it-yourselfer has a plumbing kit handy. But no matter how handy you are with a wrench or a plunger, there are Australian regulations in place that restrict what you are allowed to do when it comes to plumbing and gas repairs.
Regulations exist to ensure your safety, as well as that of your family and neighbours. So before you start dismantling your plumbing system, it might be wise to learn what you can and cannot do in the realm of DIY.
Research first DIY plumbing
A keen DIYer must be prepared to do some research before reaching for the toolbox. But beware – a quick online lesson can be a double-edged sword. It might look easy in a plumbing demonstration video, but be sure you’re capable and have the right tools and knowledge before starting.
While professional plumbers have an understanding of how plumbing and gas systems work, the amateur handyperson may not understand all the ramifications of a poor repair job or a misdiagnosis.
What DIY plumbing can you do?
There are some common plumbing problems that are right in the wheelhouse of the amateur plumber.
Before starting any repairs, make sure you always turn off the water supply.
Here’s a list of faults a DIY plumber might attempt to fix:
- Dripping tap – a leaking tap usually only requires washer replacement. That’s a simple enough job in itself and the washer replacement might fix the leak. But the drip could be a sign of deeper problems.
- Shower head replacement – it can be simple as buying a replacement shower head and following the instructions.
- Drain clearing – clogged drains can involve using a commercial drain cleaner, a homemade recipe (such as baking soda, vinegar and boiling water), a cup plunger or toilet plunger, or a drain snake, which are easy to find at a hardware store.
- Irrigation system blockage – you can attempt to fix an irrigation system blockage or fault as long as you’re downstream from a tap or isolation valve.
- Replacement of sewer caps on the openings of sanitary drains.
These are a few of the plumbing repairs that an amateur can take on, but there’s even more the DIYer shouldn’t do.
What DIY plumbing can’t you do?
This is quite straightforward when it comes to anything to do with your water supply.
You must contact a fully qualified plumber if the work involves your sewer or drinking water system.
That means any work dealing with the installation and plumbing of drinking water systems or the drainage of sewer lines.
DIY plumbers must also stay away from attempting to repair any kind of hot water system.
For any gas plumbing, it’s an even simpler rule. Just don’t do it.
You must call a qualified plumber with a gasfitting licence and all work must be certified with a gas compliance certificate.
What are the state regulations?
While there are regulations that apply nationally, what is acceptable and not acceptable for a DIY plumber to attempt varies from state to state.
What is allowed in Victoria may not be legal in South Australia or Queensland. So it’s important to know what the DIY regulations are in your state before you set out to fix that plumbing problem.
Here’s a reference list to check out:
- Plumbing Regulations New South Wales
- Plumbing Regulations Queensland
- Plumbing Regulations South Australia
- Plumbing Regulations Victoria
- Plumbing Regulations Western Australia
- Plumbing Code of Australia
How to choose the right plumber
Plumbing services can be expensive, which is precisely why the amateur plumber goes the DIY route before picking up the phone.
But as previously stated, there are many cases where it’s illegal to tackle certain repairs without a licence. When you’ve got a blocked drain and it’s quickly becoming an emergency, the decision can be taken out of your hands.
So before the water starts flowing, it’s a good idea to be prepared and do some research into what local plumbing services you can turn to.
Here’s a list of factors to consider:
- What are their qualifications?
- What payment plans do they offer?
- Have you read their online reviews?
- Do they provide a parts and work guarantee?
- Do they provide a compliance certificate?
- What hours do they work?
After your research, make a note of the plumbing services that appeal to you so that you’re prepared when gas or plumbing emergencies arrive.
And if you’re a dedicated DIYer, make sure you’re educated enough to know what plumbing projects and repairs not to attempt – for your own good.
This is a sponsored article produced in partnership with Upside Down plumbing.