There’s plenty you can do yourself in your house: painting, laying tile, and even replacing flooring are easy tasks for most people with minimal technical skills, and there’s immense satisfaction in making a home repair on your own. But even the most savvy DIYers know when to ask for help. When it comes to property repair work that could endanger your life, the lives of others, or your house itself, rely on licensed professionals to see you through. Here are six times when you need to put down the toolbox and call the experts.
If you don’t have experience walking on a roof, now is not the time to start trying. A roof sits anywhere from 10 to 20 feet off the ground and slopes at an extreme angle, making it an extremely dangerous fall. Call a professional who’s used to navigating heights and pitches of different types of roofs and keep your feet squarely on the ground.
Major Plumbing Repairs
Fixing a running toilet or leaky faucet is easy enough, but don’t try to DIY plumbing problems beyond that. Water can do serious damage that’s often invisible — until a ceiling or floor gives way, of course. For problems like slow or blocked drains or sudden low water pressure, find a licensed plumber right away.
Simple electrical repairs like replacing an outlet or light fixture can be manageable with the power turned off at the circuit box. But when it comes to replacing a water heater, running wire through walls to install a new plug, or replacing a circuit box, it’s time to bring in a professional. Certain localities have electrical codes to promote safe living spaces that are best decoded by electricians, not the average homeowner. Attempting to DIY electrical repairs can also pose significant harm to yourself and your property.
More than one-third of U.S. residences still use natural gas-powered heat and appliances. Natural gas is versatile and often highly flammable, so if your home has sizeable natural gas appliances — water heater, stove, fireplace insert, HVAC system — install carbon monoxide and natural gas detectors and set up a service schedule for regular maintenance and checks.
Major Home Renovations
A house without structural integrity is in danger of collapsing. While it might be possible to remove a wall or two to give an older home a modern open floor plan, those decisions have to be made by licensed engineers or architects. Additionally, local codes often require permits and inspections when a homeowner moves a wall, adds a room, or moves a doorway. Professionals will know how to protect the structure from top to bottom during this process.
If you can safely reach a hanging tree branch to pull or saw it down, go ahead. However, if the limb is dead, still attached to the trunk, or you need the whole tree down, call a tree company. These professionals will come with harnesses, spotters, and serious equipment. They also know how to place cuts so that when wood falls, it won’t hurt humans or nearby structures.
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