Whether you’ll admit it or not, somewhere inside of you there’s a desire to be a bit of a handyman. You relish the opportunity to fix something on your own, tackle a renovation project, or actually apply some of that knowledge you’ve consumed on self-help blogs or Pinterest boards. And while it’s admirable to be self-sufficient, there are times when you can’t afford to take a DIY approach. If you encounter one of the following situations in your personal life, call the professionals!
Major plumbing issues.
There are certain small plumbing projects that naturally handy homeowners can take one with little risk. For example, it’s pretty easy to install a new toilet flapper or tighten a loose bolt under the kitchen sink. However, when it comes to something like a major drain blockage, it’s time to call in the specialists. Liquid drain-clearing products can only do so much. You need heavy duty tools and expertise to fix a blockage before it causes serious damage (leaking and water damage). Other plumbing projects that shouldn’t be handled on your own include installing a water heater, pipe-fitting, and welding.
There are certain small car-related repairs that the average person can handle with little-to-no recourse. These include changing your oil, adding fluids, and replacing taillights. However, the list pretty much ends there. “In my opinion, owners should not attempt to do the majority of repairs on a modern automobile,” says Michael Calkins, manager of AAA’s Approved Auto Repair Program. “There are just too many things you can damage in today’s cars, and it’s not worth the risk.” Things like timing-belt replacements, transmission repair, and suspension problems are not issues to handle on your own.
Aside from the obvious dangers and risks that come along with electrical work, you also risk voiding your homeowner’s insurance policy by performing DIY jobs. Most policies require you to go through a number of pre-established steps in order to have electrical work done in your home. These include things like acquiring a permit, getting an inspection, and hiring a licensed contractor. By attempting to save $100 on home electrical work, you could end up costing yourself thousands.
Cutting down a tree.
You’ve got a chainsaw, how card can it be? Well, in most cases, cutting down a tree is incredibly difficult. It’s not as easy as making some cuts and dropping limbs exactly where you want them to go. You need specialty equipment, knowledge of surrounding telephone lines, and a team of licensed professionals. If you try to do it on your own, odds are pretty good that large limb will come crashing through your living room – not gently falling to the ground.
Filing your own taxes.
A lot of people will argue this one, so keep reading before disagreeing. Certain people can (and should) file their own taxes. For example, if you’re a single person working your first job with one stream of income and no investments, a service like TurboTax can save you lots of money. However, if you’re married with two streams of income, real estate investments, a stock portfolio, and a long list of charitable donations, you should pay a few hundred bucks and opt for the services of a professional CPA. There’s just too much risk involved to stress over it on your own.
There are plenty of projects and jobs you can do yourself – this article isn’t meant to curb your inner-handyman. However, you should be careful any time you take on a new task. Ask yourself what the risks and rewards are. If the risks highly outweigh the rewards, there’s little advantage in taking a DIY approach. Learn from your mistakes and make calculated moves!