Jun 25, 2018
DIY Home Repairs to Avoid
With all the step-by-step home DIY tutorials readily available at our fingertips, it’s a wonder that we aren’t all installing whirlpool bathtubs and rewiring our homes ourselves. However, it’s important to remember that plumbing, electrical, pest control, etc. are skilled trades that require proper training, and not all home projects can — or should — be DIY-ed by homeowners.
Know your limits.
Sure, there are some easy repairs that almost anyone can complete to save money on plumbing, like unclogging a toilet or adjusting the water pressure on a showerhead. But there are some projects best left for the pros — and many homeowners have learned this lesson the hard way.
Ben Kelley, director of residential operations for CroppMetcalfe, emphasizes that the most important step to take when attempting a DIY plumbing repair is turning off the water. “Always shut off the main water supply valve before getting started, or if your home allows, you can isolate certain areas,” Kelley says. “Watching videos online helps, too, so you know how it’s done prior to trying.”
It seems self-explanatory, but you’d be surprised how many calls we get from panicked homeowners with a big mess on their hands.
It’s also important for homeowners to know when to throw in the towel and call a plumber
. Although there are many resources available, it doesn’t mean you jump into a major project, like rebuilding a toilet — a common DIY plumbing project.
“Most people will only change the flapper, or the flush valve,” Kelley notes. “They don’t realize all of its inner workings need to be rebuilt, which takes a lot of experience.”
Other seemingly straightforward plumbing repairs and projects you should not attempt include:
- Replacing burst pipes
- Installing a toilet, bath or shower
- Connecting a sewer line
- Building a new bathroom
Plumbing isn’t the only home service we see homeowners try to fix themselves. Another big issue we run into is damaged electrical wiring.
It’s one thing for homeowners to reset a tripped circuit breaker, but attempting to install light fixtures or replace old outlets are tasks only pros should handle. Not only can you cause costly damage to your home’s electrical system, but you put yourself in danger of electrocution. Faulty electrical repairs can even lead to house fires.
DIY solutions for electrical issues can often do more harm than good. Call one of our Northern Virginia electricians
to handle all of your electrical needs.
Discovering a pest infestation, whether it’s mice
, can be stressful. The desire to deal with the problem as quickly and affordably as possible is completely understandable, however, many DIY treatments are ineffective and can end up costing you more in the long run.
Store-bought chemicals can be dangerous for households with young children and pets, and often cannot target the source of the problem, which leaves you with a continuing or worsening infestation.
Pest control professionals
are able to assess the severity of an infestation, develop the right plan of action to treat the problem, and identify and seal off points of entry pests use to invade your home.
If you’re looking to get rid of the uninvited guests in your home for good, you’re better off calling in the pros for help.
Don’t start something you can’t finish.
A lot can go wrong if you don’t fully understand what you’re doing. Ask yourself these important questions before beginning any DIY home repairs:
1. Do I have the right tools?
2. Have I done anything like this project before?
3. Do I have the time to do this project right, especially if there are unforeseen complications?
Home repairs can take a lot of time to complete properly, even more so when they’re done by someone inexperienced. Save yourself the time and the trouble by leaving complicated projects for the trained professionals.
Consider the long term costs.
While the cost of hiring a professional to complete repairs may seem like a lot more than buying the parts and doing the work yourself, the damage you inadvertently cause can be catastrophic.
“One of the worst DIY plumbing repairs we’ve ever seen was when a homeowner tried to unclog and rebuild their toilet,” Kelley says. “They successfully allowed the toilet to drain, but did not clear the clog. So the repairs did not hold and the toilet began to run as the clog grew stronger. Evidently, the homeowner was on vacation when the toilet overflowed, which caused $125,000 in damages because it was on the third floor.”
Don’t always do it yourself!
No matter how skilled one is at maintenance in the home, there are things that only a professional plumber, electrician, or pest control specialist can do. Hiring a professional means that the job is done efficiently, without wasted time and money.
One of the biggest problems with DIY home repairs is that it can be very difficult to pinpoint when you’ve gone too far. If you have questions, concerns or begin to doubt yourself, just drop the tools and pick up a phone.
When you have a home service job that you just can't — or shouldn't — do yourself, contact CroppMetcalfe and our five-star technicians at 1-877-740-6657 or schedule an appointment