There are plenty of plumbing problems the average person can deal with. Is your toilet clogged? You can probably solve the problem with a plunger or a bottle of Liquid Plumr. Is your faucet leaky? You might just need to replace a small washer or something equally as insignificant. But there are other problems that require the help of a professional. No one likes the idea of shelling out hundreds of dollars for a repair, but if you wait too long or you attempt to fix something outside your comfort zone, you could wind up causing more damage and making the price tag skyrocket. When it comes to plumbing, you need to know when you are not good enough for the job.
Most problems with the pipes indicate the need for a professional. Amateur plumbing hobbyists should restrict themselves to fixing things that can be dealt with on a simple basis. When you start talking about trying to fix rattling pipes or another problem in the walls, things start getting complicated and potentially very expensive. A plumber knows just what to do and can diagnose a problem based on his years of training and experience. When a problem seems a bit too steep for you to handle, don't let ego stand in the way of your better judgment.
As mentioned before, slow or clogged drains can usually be handled at the home. If store bought remedies or plungers don't work, you may need to give a plumber a call, however. Before you take it upon yourself to take apart the pipes and look for a clog, just call a professional and see what they have to say. Remember that while you may be spending quite a lot to have a plumber come out to your home, you could be saving an incalculable amount by not messing around with things that are outside of your wheelhouse. Your homeowner's insurance is unlikely to cover considerable damage done by an overeager amateur handyman.
When you do decide that the job is too much for you and you would be better off hiring a plumbing professional, make sure you hire one that is prompt and easy to work with. Ask your coworkers and friends who they use in case of an emergency. They will probably be able to point you in the right direction. In fact, it's a good idea to find a quality plumber before anything goes wrong, just so you know who to call when a problem comes up.