These home repairs are just too dangerous for DIY work
Written by Monica Miller
We are living in the golden age of do-it-yourself (DIY) work. Empowered by internet tutorials covering every aspect of home maintenance, repairs, and remodeling, more and more homeowners are tackling weekend projects on their own. Any homeowner who is willing to learn and try things out is able to take on DIY projects, ranging from repairing their own fence to installing a smart thermostat.
Yet, not every home project or repair is DIY-friendly. In fact, there are many home projects that are just too dangerous for a homeowner to handle themselves. In this blog, we’ll discuss three categories—electrical, plumbing, and roofing—of home repairs and what makes them so dangerous to both the homeowner and their property.
Unfortunately, as more and more homeowners become DIY savvy, there are some who take it too far. Whether it’s part of your kitchen remodel or you’re trying to install a new light or fan, call an electrician. Without the right tools and training, electrical work can be very dangerous. First and foremost, there’s the risk of electrocution. Every year in the U.S., there are 430 deaths and more than 1,600 injuries as a result of electrical failure or electrocution. At least some of those deaths and injuries can be attributed to the other major risk associated with DIY electrical repairs: home fires. Annually, there are more than 43,000 home fires caused by faulty electrical wiring.
Perhaps more than any other component of your home, electrical systems pose a threat to your health ands safety. Take no chances. Hire an electrician.
Major plumbing issues mean major trouble for your home. Pipe leaks, sewer line clogs, and damaged water heaters are high-stakes problems that require the immediate attention and intervention of a professional plumber. You need to hire someone who knows what they’re doing and has the tools to quickly address the problem and limit the extent of any water damage.
As many homeowners have unfortunately discovered, the only thing worse than a leaking pipe is a leaking pipe that the novice homeowner has attempted to repair. Water damage is insidious. It can destroy floors and walls while quickly creating the perfect conditions for mold and mildew growth. Whether it’s a slow drip behind a wall over the course of several months or a sudden rush of water from a burst water heater tank, messing with your home’s plumbing could lead to bigger issues.
Even the plumbing maintenance you can do yourself comes with limits. Many homeowners drain and flush their own water heater annually. As part of this essential home upkeep, they also test the pressure-relief valve and inspect the water heater for any signs of trouble, such as cracks in the shell. So long as the homeowner does this all by the book and takes precautions, this maintenance can be done safely. However, when it comes to actually addressing any problems that are discovered—such as replacing the aforementioned pressure-relief valve—you should always bring in a professional.
Your home’s roof seems pretty benign, and perhaps even DIY-friendly. You have everything you need to get started on your roof repair. What could go wrong?
For starters, there’s your own safety. On a roof, even temporarily losing your balance could put your life at risk. Every year in the United States, more than 500,000 people are injured falling off of roofs and ladders—as many as 97% of them, unsurprisingly, are homeowners. About 300 people die from these injuries. Climbing out onto your own roof without the right training or a safety harness is a major mistake.
Of course, even if you are able to get onto the roof safely, do you know what repairs need to be made? If you have a tile roof, be careful: professional roofers know to watch where they step to avoid breaking tiles, but many DIY homeowners replacing tile on the weekend may end up breaking more than they originally came up to fix. If you’re trying to diagnose a roof leak, one of the best reasons to hire a professional is for their trained eyes. Otherwise, it can be difficult to pinpoint the origin point of the damage or the leak—especially on an older shingle roof.
When in doubt, work with a professional
The point of this article is not to discourage you, or make you—as a homeowner—feel powerless to do anything. In reality, the projects and repairs reviewed above constitute around 5% of your home’s maintenance and repair needs. This means there’s so much more (95%) you can accomplish with a DIY mindset, from replacing sprinkler heads in your yard to painting the inside of your home. It’s just crucial to know your limits and when the project calls for an experienced service professional.
To learn about other the home projects that are too dangerous to DIY, including HVAC repairs and maintenance, check out this infographic: