When was the last time you pulled your own teeth? Drew your own blood? Gave yourself a – cough-cough – physical? Chances are, never. You know that when it comes to your health, some things are better left to a professional. Well, home repairs are no different. There are many simple maintenance tasks you can perform just fine on your own. But when it comes to major home repairs, there are certain things you just shouldn’t try to do yourself. Here are the top five house repairs that are best left to a professional:
1. Plumbing Repairs
Unclogging a drain or replacing a toilet valve are tasks you can generally do yourself, but most plumbing repair projects should be left to a professional. Even the most ambitious do-it-yourselfer can get into trouble by attempting a plumbing repair. Water, even from a small leak, can cause thousands of dollars in additional home repair costs. The top plumbing projects that should be left to professionals are rerouting sewer pipes and extending or moving hot water lines. Something as small as an incorrectly sealed water line can cause major structural damage to your home. Plus, there are many safety requirements set forth by the Uniform Building Code that most DIY-ers are unaware of. Most plumbing projects aren’t dangerous, but they can go horribly wrong really fast, so it’s best to leave them to a pro.
2. Electrical Repairs
Much like plumbing repairs, there are some electrical projects you can safely and effectively do on your own. Installing a ceiling fan and changing a light switch are a few electrical home repair projects a novice can do solo. Most electrical repairs, however, carry a high risk of electrical shock and should only be done by trained electricians. Some electrical home repairs even require you to get a special permit before the work can be done. In these cases, you have no choice but to get some home repair help from a professional.
3. Wall Removal
You’d be surprised by how many homeowners try to remove a wall themselves. It may seem like a simple task, but most walls are either structurally important to the house or contain pipes or wires that you may not know about. If you are doing a home improvement project that requires you to remove a wall, you should probably be working with a contractor already. If not, it’s best to make sure you consult an expert before taking down a wall. This is especially true if your home contains asbestos, which should only be removed by a professional.
4. Roofing Projects
The biggest reason for not doing a roofing project yourself is pretty obvious – you could fall and injure yourself. Much like electrical and gas repairs, safety is the number one concern here. Even if you’re comfortable being on the roof, doing repairs requires steady footing and roofing experience. You may get away with replacing a single shingle or fixing a small part of the gutter, but major roof work requires a professional. Even if you don’t hurt yourself in the process, there’s a big chance you may not do the work correctly. This can lead to water damage, high heating and cooling bills, and expensive home repair costs down the road.
5. Gas Appliance Repairs
Projects that require you to move, repair or work around gas appliances should always be approached with extreme caution. You may think the project is within you skill set, but even the most experienced do-it-yourselfer can make a mistake. And with gas appliances, one mistake can have harmful or even deadly consequences. Moving a dryer to paint a wall or moving a stove to re-tile a floor are examples of projects that may seem harmless at first but can cause big problems if not approached with knowledge and respect. One of the simplest ways to avoid gas-related accidents – besides turning the gas off – is to install functioning carbon monoxide detectors. Carbon monoxide poisoning kills more than 400 people a year in the United States, even though it is one of the easiest things to prevent.
Before you start any house repair project, ask yourself these three questions:
1. Have I done anything like this before?
2. Do I feel comfortable with this project?
3. Is the project I’m about to start completely safe?
If you answered no to any of these questions, you most likely need to consult a professional.