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When NOT to Be Your Own HandymanJanuary 12th, 2015 by
Knowing how to fix things around the house has a host of benefits. It can be more convenient than having to schedule something with a contractor, it’s sometimes cheaper, and it often comes with a healthy dose of pride. Most homeowners can easily take care of many household projects and broken fixtures themselves. For example, common issues like clogged toilets, leaky sinks, and broken floor tiles do not typically require special skills or fancy equipment to fix. On the other hand, it is best to hire a professional handyman or handywoman for the home improvement projects listed below.
Fiddling with the breaker box probably won’t hurt anything—they’re designed with the average person in mind—but playing with wires is never a good idea. Electricians are trained to rewire circuits correctly and know what safety precautions to take while they are working. Handling wires inappropriately can result in an electric shock, at minimum, but keep in mind that people have died from less than 30 mA of electricity. (To give you an idea of just how little electricity that is, a small power drill uses about 2,250 mA.) Although such a low amount will likely just give you a painful shock, many other factors contribute to how the body responds to an electric current. Calling for reliable handyman services can also prevent other electricity-related disasters, such as electric arcs (when electricity shoots through the air—imagine lightning inside your home), fires, and explosions.
Advanced or Atypical Plumbing Repairs
It’s generally not a big deal to unclog a drain or fix the dripping pipe under the sink, but trying to take care of a plumbing crisis on your own often does more harm than good. If you have a busted pipe or if you get the snake stuck while trying to unclog that drain, hire a plumber. Most people don’t have the right tools to repair a cracked pipe, and tugging on that snake until you’re able to rip it out could also rip out part of your piping system, depending on what it’s stuck on.
Cleaning out the gutters and replacing a few shingles might seem like simple tasks, but they’re certainly not without their risks. In addition to the possibility of falling, attempting to work on your roof without really knowing how could lead to more costly damages down the line. The last thing anyone needs is a roof that leaks because it wasn’t fixed correctly. Even if you do know how to properly repair a roof, never do roof work when you’re home alone. It’s not safe to climb on and off the roof unless someone else is there to hold the ladder steady, and it’s always a good idea to have someone there to help in case you fall.
Anything That Involves Making Structural Changes
Are you considering expanding your home by adding on a sunroom, a master suite, or even a whole upper story? What about all the times you’ve thought that you would much rather have a breakfast bar than that dividing wall between the living room and kitchen? No matter how small a project may seem, it is not safe to alter the structure of your home without professional assistance. Such projects almost always require a permit, and a professional will be able to help you with that process. The same goes for building things like storage sheds and garages, even if they’re not going to be attached to your house.
Cutting Down Trees
It may seem like people cut down trees and chop off branches all the time, but that doesn’t mean just anyone can do it safely. If you’re not careful, a branch or a tree can easily fall the wrong way—like onto your house, or worse—a person. It’s often very difficult to determine exactly where a tree or branch will fall, and without the right equipment and safety precautions, it’s just too dangerous to take a chance. Save this one for a professional tree service.
Many jobs not listed above are also better left to professional handymen. Use your judgment. However, bear in mind that handyman services are the most beneficial when you need someone who can do a few different types of work; professional contractors who specialize in a specific type of service are best for bigger or more complicated jobs. If you’re even the least bit unsure of how to fix something, save yourself the trouble by calling for handyman repair services. That’s what the professionals are there for.
Sources: The Family Handyman; The Huffington Post; Live Science; Occupational Safety and Heath Administration (OSHA).
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