How to Avoid Dangerous DIY Projects

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Being a homeowner means that you have all the freedom in the world to make your design dreams come true. Or, better put, you have all the freedom that your budget allows to make your design dreams come true. If you have big dreams, you may have chosen to buy an older home and fix it up to make it truly yours. Many homeowners are avid DIYers, and they come into their new homes with the idea that they can DIY their way through every project, from light fixture installation to tiling the bathroom, and even plumbing projects.

While DIY home improvement is great, and there’s certainly something to be said for fixing up an older home with your own two hands, some things need to be done by professionals. An easy way to recognize which projects to avoid is to assess the danger level involved, and that can mean either the danger level to you or to the home itself. A plumbing job, for example, may lead to a leak that can damage load-bearing beams and compromise the structural integrity of the home. Electrical fires can burn down your home and injure you and your family members. While this all may sound dire, it’s worth keeping in mind. Let’s take a deep dive into how you can get your home up to snuff and stay safe at the same time.

Describe the nature of the project to yourself or your partner.


Sometimes, we can get a bit overly ambitious about what we want to do around the house. We build it up in our minds, imagining ourselves with a light fixture in one hand and a screwdriver in the other, or busting up the ceiling and walls with a sledgehammer. What may seem like a simple job on the outset, however, can quickly turn into a dangerous mess. It can be helpful to describe what you’re planning out loud to yourself and your partner since that can make the actual hazards more identifiable.

Lighting fixtures are especially notorious for seeming like a simple job and causing havoc. The dangers posed by DIY lighting fixtures, when you actually think about them, aren’t worth it. Something as simple as a spark (pretty common in older homes with old wiring) can cause electrical fires or shock you. When you start to describe yourself handling electrical wires, you’ll see why it’s a better idea to call a qualified electrician.

Make a list of necessary tools and equipment.


This is another simple way to identify projects that you can take on, as opposed to the ones you should sidestep. What do you need to actually carry out the project? A drill, a screwdriver, and some screws? Or more advanced equipment? If you think that you can install the toilets and sinks in all of your bathrooms, maybe take a minute to think about whether you have all the necessary plumbing equipment to take on that major project. If you don’t, that’s probably a hint that it’s time to call in a pro.

Consider whether you’re willing to take on the hazards.

Once you’ve gotten through these two initial steps, take a quiet moment to think about whether you’re willing to take on the hazards you’ve identified. If you’re confident in your capabilities, you have the tools on hand, and you’ve done a lighting project or two in the past, maybe you can do this DIY-style. Still, there’s always the risk of electrical shock or worse. Many people in the United States suffer shock-related injuries every year—do you want to risk being one of them? Once you’ve considered this, you’ll be ready to take on anything—from a lighting project to appliance installation—with confidence or to call a licensed electrician to do it for you.

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