Every weekend, thanks to the rise of the internet and the help of a decent search engine, handy people across the nation are taking on DIY tasks and testing out their skills around the home. There are web pages and video sites full of detailed instructions in the repair, maintenance and replacement of just about everything imaginable, including plumbing.

It’s common knowledge that plumbing gained popularity in ancient Rome. Much has changed since the Romans ruled the world and although their reputation as early innovators remains undisputed, improvements have continued and plumbing has gained a foothold across the developed world.


One of the conveniences of modern living is the fact that homes are almost universally fitted with indoor plumbing. Bringing clean water into the house and moving dirty water out all comes down to the many different types of pipes that are used. Waste water comes from showers, baths, basins, sinks, dishwashers, washing machines, taps and toilets. After being used inside the home, the waste water needs to flow back outside and it ought to do so as smoothly as possible. Waste water is especially dirty and often contains grease, oils and harmful bacteria that can produce noxious gases over time.


Pipes that have been designed to flush away this soiled water ortrap and block the flow of odours and gases in order toprevent them from escaping into the home are referred to in the plumbing industry as soil pipes. Amongst the range of soil pipe fittings available, there are parts that also vent gases out of the system and back into the atmosphere to be safely dispersed. These are known as soil vent pipes, waste vents or soil stacks and at various times and for numerous reasons, these pipes need to be replaced and updated.


Fitting a new soil and waste vent pipe is a fairly straightforward procedure that can be undertaken by any active personarmed with the right tools, information and a modicum of DIY skills.As always though, if you feel the job is beyond your abilities then consult with a professional. Builders and plumbers are those typically skilled at installing this type of plumbing, although most council’s only stipulate that the person doing the work needs to be proficient. Plumbing installed by the home handyperson can be inspected at a later date to make sure it passes muster.


The following points are a mini checklist to ensure your installation goes as smoothly as possible.

  • Research the process involved before you tackle the job and be sure you have a logical and systematic approach worked out in advance. There are excellent resources and guides on the internet and many suppliers also carry brochures with step-by-step instructions using plain language that cater to the home handy person.
  • Familiarise yourself with the varying building codes and specifications as to the stipulated distance vent pipes should be positioned above rooflines and windows.
  • Take measurements of the lengths and diameters of the pipes you intend to replaceand pay close attention to the various fixtures and fittings that hold everything in place. Dismantling plumbing only to realise you don’t have all the parts needed to put it back together again is irritating and inconvenient. Take photos of all the parts, make a check list and be sure to refer to it when purchasing your supplies.
  • Be certain that any ladders or scaffolding is safe and secure and that you feel well-rested and confident before climbing. Remain cautious and alert as working from heights can be quite dangerous.
  • Have someone reliable help you with the repairs. An extra set of eyes and someone to problem solve with is always more advisable than working on the fly on your own.
  • Lastly, be honest about your limitations. If the job seems too complicated or beyond your abilities then it is best to call in a professional to do it once and do it right.

Repairing plumbing in your own home can be a satisfying way to improve your DIY skills as well as making your home more functional, safe and pleasing. Don’t be afraid to give it a try.