It’s a common thought to have, the “how hard can it be?” is the first question an enthusiastic do-it-yourselfer may ask themselves when approaching a perceivably easy home repair. Unfortunately, there have been those that have found out the answer to this question the hard way. One of the reasons is because there is virtually every kind of repair or renovation job explained in full online, many times with different step-by-step video’s to go along with them.
Not that they are incorrect nor the correct way to do something and that this post is being oxymoronic; teaching people how to do these jobs professionally, it’s that there are different things to consider for all the different varieties of jobs from, systems, designs and installations, devices, regulations, laws, health and safety precautions, and rules and the list continues.
So how would we know when us keen ‘DIY’ers’ are being penny-wise or pound foolish?
If you get a chance to ask any DIY enthusiast about the fun of a self-styled home renovation they’ve experienced, and you’ll likely be scoped with horror stories of snapped studs in walls and wobbling floorboards. But in comparison, walls that aren’t plumb and floors that aren’t level are far different from leaking ceilings, sparking outlets and incorrectly installed appliances causing potential health hazards. Attempting certain home repairs can become dangerous to your house and even harmful or fatal to life.
Here are some repairs that are best off that it would be better off to leave to a professional.
There’s one thing turning your water off and changing a couple of taps, and another replacing a cylinder tank or modifying the radiators of the heating system. With a plumbing professional, you will cut any chance of leaks and mistakes by 99.5% and there’s a way out, water will find it. The very smallest leak, if undetected can potentially cost thousands of dollars worth of damage, especially if it’s not caught in time.
If you’re a capable do-it-yourselfer and there are minor upgrades that need changing on the existing plumbing in place, minor repairs like changing a shower head or replacing a sprinkler valve are manageable when isolation procedures have been taken. Even installing a new toilet is within the realm of a capable DIY-er after following the correct isolation procedures and always consider water contamination.
This is another area in plumbing where you can get into trouble, by modifying the existing plumbing system, like extending hot water lines or rerouting the sewer pipes. If it’s not the cold water you work with, then hot water definitely means copper pipes, and that requires a blow torch. Unless you have welding or soldering experience, it’s best to leave the torch jobs to the professionals. Some pipes can be hidden in loft-spaces, cavities or floorboards and using a blowtorch in these spaces greatly heightens the risk of fire.
Gas Appliance Repairs
Most cases, the typical domestic homes (and even commercially within factories) may have several different types of appliances that run on a few different forms of gas. Clothes dryers, ovens, and hot water heaters are a few.
It’s not always the case that an explosion will occur from a gas leak and working gas parts will generally have a fail-safe. There are other factors to think about such as the poisonous gas called Carbon Monoxide that is produced from incorrectly modified gas parts. Of course, it’s not always a repair that leads people down the path of danger when dealing with gas. Often people may just want to move the stove because of a tiling project or to move a dryer away from a corner that needs painting and this is when problems may happen. Or by sealing a vent not thinking about the open flued appliance that they have in the living space that needs that oxygen. If you are unsure, contact one of your local reputable and registered heating repair companies to advise you.
Some homeowners feel like a hot water heater replacement is within their capabilities and this is when serious accidents happen. A lot like water but even easier at sourcing the smallest holes, gas will always find a leak. So while you may have done a good job in cutting off the gas supply line and moving the stove, you may not have been as careful when hooking it back up. Always get your gas appliances tested and checked annually. Report any symptoms and signs of incomplete combustion.
Like gas, live electrical wires can be incredibly dangerous, even fatal if you don’t know what you’re doing. Any projects involving domestic electricity should be considered with professional advice and approached with extreme caution. Like plumbing, the able DIYer may be able to pull off minor repairs like changing the odd light switch or even installing a ceiling fan; again, as long as you make sure that you have followed the correct isolation procedures and the power is turned off before you start. Always do your checks when working with electrics which is why electricians have a decent voltmeter, one of their tests would be to test wires for power.
Is it a bird? is it a plane? No, it’s Paul the neighbor falling from his roof trying to pry the ivy growing up into his rooftop. Any work done at a height such as maintenance on the roof, guttering or eaves and repairing a roof isn’t recommended for a do-it-yourselfer for two reasons; it’s easy to fall off and one mistake could cost thousands of dollars in damages, like plumbing, if the leak goes undetected, could keep racking up damages and unnoticed problems from mold to termites and rot. Though repairing a roof shingle or two isn’t the most complex job in the world, it’s getting up and down with your tools with you that pose the risk of injury or even death. CAT Ladders are often specially designed to help provide security to the roof while a person gets access with numerous ropes and harnesses designed to stop the ladder from tipping.
If you are adamant that you are capable of cleaning those gutters or painting them eaves, at the very least you should consider having a spotter in place to hold the ladder and be there in case of an accident. Aside from the dangers involved in health and safety assessments that need to be taken, roofing work also requires experience to get it right. If you bite off more than you can chew, you may end up with a leaky roof and an expensive water damage bill.
Are you a professional who thinks that with the right set of tools anyone can do the job or is there a little more to it? Or are you the capable self-taught master of all trades? Let us know in the comments below!