Do you love a DIY project? If you’re like most modern homeowners, you’ve likely attempted at least a handful of home repairs on your own, but how do you know when you’ve met your match? The fact of the matter is that there are some projects you just shouldn’t attempt on your own. Whether it’s electrical maintenance or engine issues in your car, some repairs are best left to the professionals.
If you’re considering any of these 4 projects, it’s time to take a step back and call an expert. It will save you time, money, and a lot of frustration.
Electrical Repairs 101: Don’t Do It
If you asked us one project you should never undertake on your own, we’d choose electrical work. As OSHA points out, when it comes to wiring, you should assume wires carry a lethal voltage. While this may not be the case, even a lower voltage wire can cause serious shocks and burns; only those with properly training should handle them.
With that in mind, then, next time you need some new outlets installed or old wiring updated, call an electrician. Sure, you might be able to figure out where the wires go, but is it worth risking death in the process – or an electrical fire down the road? Additionally, if you perform electrical repairs on your own, you may end up contravening code requirements, posing problems with the housing authorities.
Appliance Care – It’s More Than Just Parts
Many people think that appliances are the ideal items for DIY repair because they’re discreet objects not connected to the overall functioning of your home – your kitchen won’t collapse if you mess up an oven repair the way you might if you accidentally compromise a load bearing wall. What’s more, DIY appliance repairs are inexpensive; it’s the cost of parts plus your time.
On the other hand, while properly performed appliance repair may be time well spent, if you mess up a high-end stove or washing machine, you’ll be out far more than the cost of a professional repair. And if you have an older machine, you may have a harder time gaining access to parts. As any reliable handyman will tell you, a repair using easy to find parts is less expensive to perform than those involving rare, old pieces that need to be hunted down.
Lead, Gas Fumes, And The Potential For Poison
Also ranking high on the list of projects you should leave to the professionals is any undertaking that poses the risk of poisoning. This may seem obvious, but you’d be surprised how often people break this cardinal rule. Whether they’re removing lead paint or working on a car’s exhaust system, people put themselves at risk by exposing themselves to dangerous chemicals.
Consider, for example, a car having catalytic converter issues. Maybe it’s overheating or the system sustained damage in an accident. Whatever the problem, it’s dangerous to approach these repairs as though you were changing your car’s oil. Changing the oil is a fairly harmless undertaking, but the catalytic converter is responsible for transforming dangerous chemicals so they can safely be expelled by your car’s exhaust system. Mess this up and you could be expelling toxic chemicals into the atmosphere or even into your car where you’ll breathe them in.
Engines And Equipment
As with the example of a catalytic converter, many people are tempted to attempt car repairs on their own because they’ve been encouraged to be more independent in their car care – changing the tires, checking the fluid levels, and changing the battery. Unfortunately, much like repairing your catalytic converter, trying to fix your own engine can pose a lot of problems. You’re better off having a professional take care of it.
One of the main difficulties with engines is that they have a lot of tiny parts and if you take it apart, you may have a hard time putting it back together. Another problem is that – as with many repairs – you’re unlikely to have all the tools you need to undertake any engine repair. Maybe you can borrow them from a friend or a local tool library, but if you’re in a situation where you need to buy all the tools, this is no longer a financially advantageous undertaking.
Ultimately, before you try to perform any home repair project yourself – whether it’s working on an appliance, fixing the plumbing or electrical systems, or repairing your car – you need to balance a number of factors including time, money, and skills. If you don’t know how to do the repair, have limited time to do the work, or don’t have the tools you need to complete the project, you’re better off spending the money on the professional.
More than any other factor, though, always consider the dangers involved in taking a DIY approach to home repairs – it’s a lot less expensive to hire an electrician than to spend a few days in the hospital because you’ve electrocuted yourself. If you’re overconfident in taking on a project, you’re just courting disaster.