DIY repairs can save you a tonne of money if you are skilled at minor renovations or you are willing to get your hands dirty and learn something new. Labor accounts for around 25 to 40% of the cost of a repair job, so if you are quoted $1,000, up to $400 of this could be for labor alone. It is little wonder why DIY has experienced a resurgence in recent years.
Painting, decorating, restoring flooring, upcycling furniture, updating fittings and lighting, creating new units, and so on are all amazing tasks to try your hand at as a DIYer. From here, you can build up a bank of skills that can serve you well around your home, cut the cost of home repairs, and call in the pros to get the job done.
But, despite there being so many positives to DIY, you should also remember there are limitations, too. Not every aspect of your home is open for novices to try their hand at, and some fixes can make the job worse or put you, your family, and your home in danger.
If you're unsure of what you should and shouldn't try at home, read on to see why you need to leave these tasks alone and get someone qualified to carry them out.
How To Know When Not To Attempt DIY
There are a few instances when you shouldn't attempt DIY. For the most part, doing things yourself will actually be a good idea and can save you time and money, not to mention increase your repertoire.
Typically, if there is risk involved, then you should leave it to those who know what they're doing and have the correct equipment and tools to complete the job safely. If a job is out of your comfort zone or you feel it will take too much time to learn, then it might be best to leave it to the pros.
Being honest about your skill set, your track record, and the scope of the job can help you assess if it's worth attempting yourself or if you'll be better off paying the extra for someone to do it for you.
Another good rule of thumb is to identify if the work you are carrying out needs to meet local building codes and regulations. If they do, then calling a contractor can help you to ensure the work meets those standards and reduce the risk of carrying out the work, only for it to be incorrect, and you end up having to pay someone to do it for you in the end.
Cleaning your HVAC, your filters, and the unit itself to make sure it's working correctly is perfectly fine. However, if your system is making any new or loud noises, isn't performing as it used to, or isn't working altogether, then you need to take a hands-off approach and call in qualified and experienced tradespeople to check it out. Hooley Heating and Air Conditioning, for example, can assist with an hvac repair or replacement.
Your HVAC is a highly complex and expensive piece of equipment, and attempting to fix a fault yourself can lead to bigger problems and potentially a higher cost to get the damage and initial problem fixed. In addition to this, if your system is under warranty, any work that an authorized repair company doesn't carry out will void the warranty.
Gas is a highly volatile element and can be a threat to life if handled incorrectly. If you have gas lines running through your property or have gas appliances, the last thing you want to be doing is attempting any repairs or gas work without relevant experience and qualifications.
Installing new gas lines, or updating old lines, connecting gas stoves, gas fireplaces, water heater repairs, and so on should all be carried out by a qualified gas engineer, and if you are in any doubt as to whether your gas appliances need repairing or you have a gas leak, turn off the gas supply at the mains, iar the property out and call for a repair to get things checked out asap.
Electricity is highly hazardous; unless you're a qualified electrician, it shouldn’t be part of your DIY adventures. Sure, you can change light fittings, light bulbs, switch plates, etc., but more significant tasks like rewiring the house or moving outlets can be extremely dangerous and under no circumstances should be attempted by anyone other than a qualified electrician.
A clogged pipe or leaky faucet is generally easy to fix, and most people can learn to resolve the problem with a quick search online and a video tutorial on YouTube. However, anything more complex, such as replacing toilets, baths, basins, etc, or pipework, should be left to a plumber. If you are unaware of plumbing regulations, or you aren't skilled in this area and make a mistake, you put your home at risk of flooding.
Your roof is your home's protection from the elements, and attempting any repairs can inadvertently make the issue worse. Working on your roof means you are working at a height, and this automatically makes the tasks riskier to carry out. Plus, the roof is likely to be at an angle and can have many different heights and gradients depending on the style and construction. Filling holes from the inside can be a quick fix if this is possible until you get a roofing company that can help you put a temporary fix in place, but avoid climbing onto the roof and attempting any roofing repairs yourself.
While you should absolutely attempt DIY tasks to help you improve your home and ensure it is habitable, the last thing you want to be doing is making the issue worse or putting yourself in harm's way. The repairs detailed above are the major pens you should avoid doing yourself, even if you are a competent DIYer. Know your skills, don't overestimate your abilities, work safely, and know when to call in the pros to help you ensure that everything is completed properly.