DIY vs. Professional: What Are the Factors to Consider?Factors to consider when determining whether you should attempt to complete a project on your own or seek professional assistance include:
- Skill and experience: Be honest with yourself about your DIY skills and level of experience. What appears to be a simple job at first could turn out to be much more than you bargained for. Mistakes can cause the cost of the project to skyrocket, and you may end up having to call a professional to undo the damage. Fixing a mistake will probably cost a lot more than if you had called a pro in the first place.
- Time commitment: A more involved DIY project can take days or even weeks to complete. Consider whether you’re willing to sacrifice evenings and weekends to get the job done. In most cases, a professional can complete the project more quickly and efficiently, while minimizing lengthy disruptions to your normal lifestyle.
- Local building codes: Most municipalities enforce building codes pertaining to home improvement projects such as constructing an addition, doing major electrical work or adding a deck or patio. In many cases, you will need to obtain permits before beginning the project. One advantage of hiring local professionals is that they are familiar with the permit process in your area, which can save time and hassles and help you avoid a code violation.
- Possible dangers: Some types of repair jobs, particularly those involving electrical, plumbing or HVAC systems, can result in fire, structural damage or serious injuries if they’re not done right. It’s important to know the potential dangers before starting these types of projects.
DIY Home Repair Project ExamplesThere are many types of home improvement projects that require little skill or money to complete. Examples include:
- Clogged pipes: A clogged toilet is one of the most common home repair issues. You can often remove the clog by submerging a plunger and applying eight to 10 downward thrusts. A commercial drain cleaning product such as Drano or Liquid Plumber can break up clogged sinks, showers or bathtubs.
- Broken toilet handle: If pressing the handle does not cause your toilet to flush, you can often correct the problem by removing the tank lid and reattaching the chain to the lever.
- HVAC system maintenance: HVAC problems can escalate quickly without proper maintenance and pre-caution. The simple act of regularly changing the system’s filter can maintain its performance and help to prevent a major repair job in the future.
- Blown electrical fuse: A blown fuse is a common problem that occurs during periods of heavy use of electricity. You can often remedy this issue by throwing the switch in your home’s circuit breaker box.
- Replacing a light switch: Light switches are fairly easy to replace – if you know what you are doing. Just be sure to turn off the circuit breaker prior to doing any type of home electrical work or you can give yourself one nasty shock!
Home Repair Projects That Should Never Be DIYThe following repair issues require the services of a trained professional:
- Major electrical repairs: Any electrical projects that involve wiring can be extremely dangerous and should only be completed by a professional electrician.
- Extensive plumbing work: Major plumbing jobs such as replacing a toilet, water heater, sewage system or whirlpool can cause flooding if not done properly, which is why you should call a certified plumber to take on these challenges.
- HVAC system installation and repair jobs: HVAC systems are one of the most expensive and complex pieces of home equipment. Attempting a DIY HVAC repair can easily result in a costly mistake. In many cases, an HVAC installation performed by anyone other an authorized seller will void the system’s warranty.
- Major home renovations: Extensive home remodeling projects typically require extensive HVAC, plumbing and/or electrical work that require the expertise of a professional.