When it comes to home projects, it’s tempting to take the DIY route. After all, with a few clicks on YouTube and a trip to the home improvement store, you can easily feel empowered-and save money in the process.
But when the project turns out to be harder than it looks, sometimes empowerment can turn to embarrassment. And some projects are simply too dangerous to tackle without professional experience.
How do you know what projects are safe to take on versus those that are too difficult? Here’s some advice from CRS (Certified Residential Specialist) magazine and other experts.
Yes to DIY: Repairing nail holes with spackle.
No, you need a professional: When the spot to repair is bigger than a nail hole.
Air conditioner unit maintenance
Yes to DIY: Performing routine cleaning of the unit with hose and coil cleaner. Also changing filters monthly.
No, you need a professional: When repairing or replacing HVAC unit. These tasks involve “a large amount of voltage electricity,” notes CRS, and the use of “specialized tools” that should preclude amateurs from attempting the job.
Repairing plumbing hardware
Yes to DIY: Go ahead and replace plumbing hardware such as seals, and chains, as well as wobbly toilets or loose seats.
No, you need a professional: When altering plumbing in significant ways, as such jobs require permits and meeting building codes that professionals are more likely to be familiar with and understand. Professionals also can make sure connections to current plumbing are done correctly.
Yes to DIY: Pruning small branches low to the ground.
No, you need a professional: When trying to trim branches that require a ladder or when there is a safety hazard; also, when the branch is larger than 4 inches in diameter.
Yes to DIY: There is never an electrical project amateurs should undertake.
No, you need a professional: Improper wiring can cause electrocution or fires. Also, such projects may require knowledge of building codes. Call a competent handyman for small items (like light fixtures) and use a licensed electrician for everything else.
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