Home Home Improvement 4 Reasons to Be Cautious with DIY House Repairs

4 Reasons to Be Cautious with DIY House Repairs

When it comes time to start fixing things around your house, some tasks are easier than others. For example, replacing the hardware in your toilet tank, installing a new kitchen faucet, and replacing a broken light fixture are fairly easy to do yourself. Other things aren’t that easy, or they might seem simple, but when done wrong, can be dangerous.

4 Reasons to Be Cautious with DIY House Repairs

To avoid problems, including creating safety hazards, here are some of the top home repairs that a licensed professional should do.

  1. Replacing insulation

Unless you installed your original insulation or know exactly what insulation was used, it might be risky to replace it yourself. The danger is that your insulation might be made with asbestos, and if that’s the case, replacing it can expose you to the harmful particles you might inhale or ingest. Asbestos is the only known cause of a rare type of cancer called mesothelioma, and it can affect your lungs and your stomach if ingested.

When you’re dealing with peritoneal mesothelioma, for example, you won’t notice symptoms for many years, but eventually, you’ll start to feel pain in your abdomen along with fluid build-up.

Over time, as the tumor grows, it will start to negatively impact nearby organs. This can all happen pretty fast once you start seeing the symptoms. If you have anyone else living in your home, it will expose them to asbestos, too.

Instead of doing your insulation, if you aren’t sure it’s asbestos-free, hire a professional. They’ll get the job done safely by wearing proper PPE, containing the asbestos, and disposing of it properly.

  1. Electrical work

At first glance, many people think they can successfully do their electrical work. If they plug something in and it all works, it seems like a success, but there are several hidden dangers. For example, you can’t install a 20A outlet on a 14 gauge wire. It should be 10 gauge or 12 gauge or you risk blowing the circuit.

A more common DIY electrical mistake is that people often wire GFCI outlets backward. This presents two big problems. GFCI is designed to trip during a ground fault. It’s the only protection you have against electrocution. Many DIYers install the wires backward.

When the neutral and hot wires are reversed, during a ground fault, it will appear to trip, but it will open the neutral wire rather than the hot, which means there is no ground fault protection.

The result is a circuit that won’t trip in the case of electrocution. The other major safety issue is that when wired backward, an outlet is always “on” and you can be electrocuted simply by touching the metal in the socket even while it’s off and not in use.

Another mistake people make with GFCI is not installing them in wet and moist areas, like the kitchen or bathroom. These are areas that are more likely to present an electric shock hazard and GFCI outlets are usually a legal requirement.

  1. Roof repairs

Although there are some exceptions, most DIY roof repairs only prolong major problems. For example, if you patch your shingle or ceiling leaks with tar or other means, that won’t solve the problem. You’re still going to have water damage inside your ceiling, and eventually, it will soak the drywall enough to make the ceiling collapse and crash down. By the time you see water coming through the ceiling, it’s too late.

Roof repairs are best made by licensed professionals for several reasons. The main benefit is having someone who can pinpoint the source and address it matter-of-factly without guesswork. The other benefit is not having to risk injury by getting up on a ladder and standing on your roof.

  1. Fixing and installing gas appliances

It’s one thing to simply install a gas appliance, but it’s an entirely different task to repair one and then reinstall it. During the repair process, if you aren’t certain about what you’re doing, you can make a mistake that will cause the gas to leak when the appliance is reinstalled. This can happen with gas water heaters, gas stoves, and other gas appliances.

A licensed professional is your safest option for installing anything that uses gas, whether it’s propane or natural gas.

Hire a professional for peace of mind

Unless you’ve been trained by a professional or you used to do the work for a living, hire a licensed pro to perform the more complex repair tasks around your home. It’s often cheaper because you’ll avoid having to hire a pro to fix your mistakes. It’s also safer for you and your family, and it will give you peace of mind.

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