As a homeowner, it's not typically a good idea to tackle big plumbing projects yourself. Things like clearing a sewer pipe or replacing a pipe are definitely best left to a plumber since they have the training and experience to do these things safely and properly. However, that doesn't mean you should never touch your plumbing. There are a couple of easy plumbing tasks you can tackle and tips you can follow to solve some common, basic plumbing troubles.
Use a vacuum to remove items dropped down drains
If you drop an item such as a ring down a drain, it will typically land in the drain trap. To reach it, you might assume you need to take apart the whole drain, which is bordering on a task you should hire the plumber for. However, you could also just hold a vacuum cleaner up to the drain. This will suck most items out of the drain trap; then you'll just need to rescue the item from the vacuum cleaner, which is much easier!
Replace the flapper to fix a weak flush
If your toilet is flushing weakly or if your toilet is "ghost filling" when you have not flushed it, then you may just need to replace a component called the flapper. You don't need a plumber to do this. Just take the cover off the tank, and look for the plastic cap that sits over the main fill pipe. Unhook this plastic cap, and take it to the hardware store so you can buy a new one that's the same. Hook the new flapper into place, and put the lid back on the toilet. Everything should work better now.
Quiet noisy pipes with felt
Do your pipes make banging and clanging noises? You can often quiet them with some felt, which you can purchase quite inexpensively at a craft store. All you need to do is temporarily unhook the fasteners that are holding the pipe in place. (Usually, you can do this with a screwdriver.) Put some felt between the pipe and the fastener, and do it up again. Do this with one fastener at a time so you don't risk the pipe getting distorted away from the proper angle. Your pipe should no longer make noise as it bangs and clangs against the fasteners.
All of the plumbing tasks above can be tackled by the average homeowner with basic skills. If you come across any larger and more demanding issues, do not hesitate to contact a plumber.