Can You Really DIY? How to Tell When to Call a Pro for Home Repairs

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If you’re really committed to a self-sufficient lifestyle, then doing your own home repairs probably seems like a no-brainer. You can foster your family’s independence while building new skills and saving the money you would have paid to a service professional. And, for many home repairs, that’s perfectly appropriate, especially if you know your way around a toolbox.

But you’re just not going to be able to tackle every home repair, because you might not always have the skills a job requires. The stakes are higher than just messing up and having to live with a shoddy repair, or needing to fork out even more money to get your mistakes fixed in addition to the original problem. You could easily make your home unsafe if you attempt a job that’s beyond your skillset. Here’s how to tell when a home repair job is too much for you.

Be Honest with Yourself About Your Skill Set

When considering whether you want to do it yourself or find a home repair professional to tackle your job, you need to know your own limitations. If you have years of experience as a contractor or you’ve been successfully tackling complex home repair jobs for half your life and already know you’re handy, that’s one thing. But if you’re a relative newbie when it comes to DIY home repair, you need to research the job carefully and be honest with yourself about whether you have the skills and experience required. Some jobs, like replacing a toilet or repairing a clothes dryer, don’t require a high level of skill if you have the right tools and assistance (toilets are heavy).

But other jobs, like replacing a water heater or doing more electrical wiring than it takes to replace an outlet or lighting fixture, require more specialized skills. For example, to replace a water heater, you’ll need plumbing skills, and you might even need welding skills if you have to change the configuration of the water pipes running into or out of the appliance. Doing electrical wiring yourself, unless you happen to be an electrician, could be deadly if you get a big enough shock — or if you unwittingly create a dangerous situation with your home’s wiring. Do you want your house to burn down? No, you do not. Hire a professional electrician from electrician perth to do your wiring work.

Know the Potential Dangers

Doing your own home repairs isn’t always dangerous. You can clean your own dryer vents, repair your own leaky faucets, even replace your own weather stripping or clean your own gutters with minimal danger (just be careful you don’t fall off the ladder). But when it comes to fixing electrical wiring, gas appliances, or plumbing repairs, you should know the dangers of failure.

If you mess up a plumbing job, you could flood your house, costing far more in water damage than you would have paid to have a professional fix the problem originally. Gas leaks that occur as a result of shoddy repair work can cause serious health problems for your family, or even result in fires or explosions. Wiring mistakes can also be deadly, as faulty wiring is a leading cause of home electrical fires, along with outdated, aging appliances. Know what’s at stake before you attempt a home repair.

Check Local Permitting and Inspection Requirements

Many municipal and county governments require homeowners to pull permits for certain jobs, such as major electrical work, adding an addition, or adding a deck or patio. To do a job yourself, you’ll need to be familiar with the process of obtaining a permit locally, and you’ll also need enough familiarity with local building codes so that your work can pass inspection.

Consider the Time Commitment

You might have the skills to do a home renovation or repair yourself, but do you have the time? What might take you weeks of nights and weekends could take a team of professionals just a few days to do. Are you willing to sacrifice your free time to a project? Do you even have free time to sacrifice? Sometimes, it’s just easier and faster to pay someone else to do a job.

Doing it yourself can help you build home repair skills and confidence, as well as supporting your self-sufficient lifestyle, but it’s not always the way forward. Sometimes, you need professional help — and it pays to know how to recognize those times, especially when yours and your family’s lives could be on the line.