Help your plumber—and your pipes—by following these three “dont's”

When you think about it, the need for plumbers is pretty profound.

“It’s the single most important trade in the entire world,” says Mont Stephenson, general manager of Benjamin Franklin Plumbing in Phoenix. “If we don’t have systems in place to control waste, we have diseases—and none of us exist.”

With the weight of the world on their shoulders, plumbers could use our help. Here, three plumbers explain what we can do to make their jobs easier.

1. Don’t wait.

Call a plumber about that leaky faucet now and he might simply replace the springs. But if you wait six months, a whole new fixture may be your only option.

“Delaying is frustrating; it makes our jobs more difficult,” says Jeff Morgan, owner and president of Morgan Miller Plumbing, outside Kansas City, Missouri. “It’s hard to tell a customer that a faucet isn’t going to make the surgery.”

Waiting to fix a leak isn’t costly only for the homeowner; it wastes our planet's most precious resource. “If everyone in the United States let their faucet drip, we’d spend millions and millions of gallons of water needlessly,” Morgan says.

2. Don’t try that at home.

Plumbers learn the trade over a four- to five-year apprenticeship, which means that binge-watching home-improvement shows probably isn’t adequate training for fixing major plumbing issues.

A problem that appears to be resolved in a 30-minute TV episode “actually took a week and a half; they just edited it down so it wasn’t an entire series,” says Kelly Russum, owner and president of KC’s 23½ Hour Plumbing, in Palm Springs, California. “It’s not as simple as it looks on TV.”

3. Don’t cover up the problem.

Stephenson just wants to hear the truth about what happened to your toilet, no matter how embarrassing it is.

“People never want to own it,” he says. “They say, ‘It’s not mine; I don’t know where it came from.’”

Spare your plumber the detective work and confess about the nature of the clog; a pro can work more quickly with the facts. And remember: They’ve seen it all. “It’s just business for us,” Stephenson says. “There’s nothing to be ashamed of.”