Don’t Try This at Home: Home Repairs You Need a Professional For


DIY fever has spread across the nation like wildfire.

Thanks to TV networks like HGTV and DIY, websites like Pinterest and of course, giant home improvement stores selling everything you need to complete any project, it’s easy to think “I can do that myself!” when it comes to home projects.

And there are some things that you can do yourself. Painting rooms, refinishing floors or simple plumbing jobs like putting in a new faucet are easy enough for most homeowners to tackle on their own. Bigger jobs, though, especially those involving utilities, are best left to the professionals.

Trying to DIY the following home repairs and projects often unsafe, and in some cases, even illegal.

1. Installing and Maintaining Gas Appliances

As you might expect, anything involving gas is potentially dangerous, especially if you don’t know exactly what you are doing.

Even if you take the necessary precautions, such as shutting off the gas, even a small mistake when installing or repairing a stove, dryer or other gas appliance can lead to a leak. And gas leaks are bad news: Not only can they lead to health problems, but if there is gas in your home, even a tiny spark (like static shocks) can cause a fire or explosion.

Therefore, it’s best to leave any gas work to the pros, who have the tools and know-how required to make sure everything is installed correctly and safely

2. Electrical Work

Faulty wiring is one of the most common causes of house fires.

Not to mention, working with electricity is dangerous if you don’t know exactly what you are doing. Like gas, even if you take precautions, one mistake can lead to injury or damage. That’s why in many municipalities, it’s illegal for anyone who doesn’t have an electrician’s license to make any repairs or modifications involving the electrical system – beyond simple tasks like changing fuses, etc.

Even installing a new light fixture, like that amazing chandelier you picked up at the flea market, must be done by a licensed electrician if it involves changing the wiring in any way. Keep in mind that if you go ahead and do it yourself anyway, and something goes wrong, it could nullify your homeowner’s insurance.

3. Indoor and Outdoor Sprinkler Systems

Sprinkler systems are used indoors as part of fire prevention and outdoors to water lawns and landscaping.

In either case, the installation and maintenance of these systems is not a job for amateurs. Most everything involving plumbing (beyond fixing simple clogs and leaks) is best left to a professional; otherwise you could face damaging (read: expensive) leaks later on.

It’s better to work with a sprinkler repair and maintenance company to take care of yours, ensuring that they work correctly every time you need them.

4. Tree Work

There’s a dead tree in the backyard. How hard could it be to cut it down?

Unless it’s a relatively small tree, and you have plenty of space and the equipment necessary to ensure it comes down safely, you could be asking for trouble. Otherwise, call a landscaper or tree service. Even if you just want to remove a few branches, you could get seriously hurt and/or cause damage if everything isn’t handled perfectly. It’s especially important to call a professional if the tree is close to electrical wires or your roof.

Trying to save a few bucks by doing it yourself could you with an expensive home repair, a hospital bill or even worse.

5. Removing Walls

Chip Gaines might keep audiences ramped up about “demo day,” but before you start taking sledgehammers to your kitchen walls to create an open concept living area, slow down. First of all, you need to make sure it’s not a load-bearing wall before you knock it down.

That will end badly. Second, when you see home show stars launching themselves through sheetrock, they have already made sure that there aren’t wires, pipes or other obstacles in the way.

That might not be the case in your home, so it’s better to call a contractor to discuss your plans and leave the demo to the pros. As a bonus, most include cleanup in their estimates, so that’s one more chore and expense you won’t have to worry about.

6. Garage Door Spring Repairs

If you heed no other warning about DIY tasks to avoid, listen to this one.

Trying to repair garage door springs on your own can lead to serious injury or even death if you don’t know what you are doing. Fixing the springs requires releasing then returning the tension to the springs.

Without the proper knowledge of how to do this, there is a chance the spring could go shooting off, seriously hurting anything – or anyone – in its path. Better to save this one for the professionals.

7. Water Heater Replacements

Finally, there are very few of us who haven’t experienced the agony of a busted hot water heater.

No hot water, followed by the discovery of a flooded basement… it’s never a good time. While it’s usually easy to pick up a new heater at any home improvement or appliance store, it’s best if you don’t try to handle the installation yourself. Just think: You have water, and electricity or gas, and it’s a recipe for disaster. Hot water heaters need to be installed according to strict safety standards and codes, so to keep your family safe, just leave it to the pros.

There are some other tasks that you should always call a pro for, such as roofing, but these are some of the most commonly attempted DIY jobs. Just think – with the time you spend letting someone else do these jobs, you can sit back and watch more DIY TV and get more ideas for new projects.

Jeff Campbell

Jeff Campbell is a husband, father, martial artist, budget-master, Disney-addict, musician, and recovering foodie having spent over 2 decades as a leader for Whole Foods Market. Click to learn more about me

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