DIY Repairs: When to Call a Professional

Being a homeowner is fun, but not easy. On the one hand, homeowners get to choose everything in their homes—from the toilet to the light fixtures—and know that everything will be exactly their style. On the other hand, though, they’re responsible for all repairs and issues that may arise. When you were a renter, the landlord called in a handyman to take care of electrical work or a leaky faucet. Now, though, that faucet is all yours, and so are the electrical wires or the light fixtures.

There are some things that can be done DIY-style, and that’s great. If you’re handy, you can probably fix a crack in your drywall, clean your gutters, or hang some shelves on your own. Opting for the DIY route can save money, but only if you know what you’re doing. If you don’t, though, you may end up doing some serious damage which will only cost you more on repairs. That’s why things like plumbing and appliance installation are usually best left to the experts. Let’s take a look at some times when it’s best to call in the pros instead of heading to the hardware store yourself.

Anything that has to do with plumbing should be done by a plumber.

Plumbing is the kind of thing that looks simple right up until you’re under the kitchen sink wondering why you thought this would be a good DIY project. A DIY repair in your home shouldn’t be a repair project that may cause structural damage to the actual home, and that’s what water damage does if it gets bad enough. Don’t try to handle a sink, toilet, or faucet fix on your own and risk water damage because you didn’t notice that you caused a minor drip. Put in a call to a plumber and trust them to get your pipes back in good shape.

Don’t electrocute yourself—call an electrician.

Electricity is another realm best left to the pros. Faulty wiring can be very dangerous, and can even cause a fire if handled incorrectly. Why risk it? That’s why an electrician will have gone to school to learn all about the dos and don’ts of wiring. The cost of repair is, in this case, far less than the cost of a new house after the faulty wiring caused a fire.

Does the washer and dryer look too complicated to install?

A washer and dryer (or any other appliance other than a microwave) may look easy to install, but they aren’t. These appliances are hooked up to a gas line, and mishandling a gas connection is a very bad idea. Not only can a gas leak be toxic and undetectable to you and your family members, but it can also be flammable if not done right. Get your washer and dryer installed correctly in the first place by calling a professional.

The roof is no place for an amateur handyman.

The roof is not a good area for a DIY project. Fixing your own roof sounds great, and it’s true that roof repairs boost a home’s value in a significant way, as does re-done attic insulation. Your own roof, however, is a very dangerous place to be hanging out. It’s one thing to be cleaning out your gutters—you can probably climb a ladder without too much trouble—but replacing shingles, clearing debris, and recognizing and treating potential mold are all things that should be taken care of by a professional roofer who knows what they’re doing. It’s just the safer route to go.

Every homeowner should have a toolkit with a screwdriver, drill, some WD-40, and a hammer for the little DIY projects. Knowing your way around Home Depot or Lowe’s is a great thing, too. Still, when it comes to complex and risky home repairs, it’s a good idea to call in the pros and make sure the job is done right.