06 June 2017

Home Repairs: What to DIY and What to Save for The Professionals

Have a list of home improvement projects, but you’re fretting about paying a professional to get them done?

While it can be tempting to save a few dollars by doing the projects yourself (DIY), the reality is that trying to tackle a complicated home improvement project or appliance repair can actually end up damaging your appliances or causing bigger problems in your home. This ends up costing you way more money, and aggravation, than if you had hired a pro from the start.

DIY is best saved for easy, safe projects:

Leaky Faucet – if your kitchen or bathroom faucets are leaking, the cause is often a worn ring. Taking the faucet apart and replacing the ring is usually pretty easy.

Other causes could be worn-out caulking, or the faucet becoming loose from use.

In all of these cases, a DIY fix is faster and more cost effective than hiring a plumber. It’s also a safe project because if the DIY fix doesn’t work, and the faucet continues to leak, you know there’s a bigger problem and can simply shut the water off to that area and call a plumber for help. There is very little risk of damage to your pipes or plumbing.

Tile Floors – Need new flooring in your bathroom, kitchen, living room or elsewhere in your home?

Putting in tile floors is fairly uncomplicated. Making cuts can become a bit daunting, but if your room doesn’t have a lot of angles, tiling the floor is pretty simple, and poses almost no risks of damage to your home.

Painting – a survey of homeowners found that painting was the most hated home improvement task.

While few people like painting, paying a professional painter can be expensive.

If you can tolerate the taping and edging, you’ll save a bundle by painting your rooms by yourself.

If you want to take on these smaller jobs, that’s totally doable. More complicated jobs, like electrical or appliance repair, on the other hand, can be complicated and dangerous:

Water Heater
Your water heating system is one place where you don’t want to test your DIY skills, especially if you have a gas water heater.

Your water heating system is called into action multiple times every day. Most of us move into homes that come equipped with a water heating system, and we don’t think much about it until the day that we turn the tap and find no hot water.

Water heating systems can break down for several reasons:

Flue Misalignment or Breakage – When the flue of your water heating system is misaligned, broken, or not connected securely, it can cause a carbon monoxide leak. Unfortunately, this problem is common with DIY water heater repair, and it can be deadly.

Pressure Relief Valve Problems - One of the most dangerous, and common, DIY water heater fixes is to modify the pressure relief valve. This valve is responsible for letting out the pressure built up while your system is heating your water.

If this valve isn’t functioning properly, or has been modified improperly, it can lead to an explosion.

Never modify the pressure relief valve alone. This is usually a quick, cost-effective fix for a water heating system professional, and not at all worth the potential life-threatening explosion and fire risk of doing the job yourself.

Electrical and Wiring Problems – water heaters are built to last between 8 – 10 years. Usually, the wiring and electrical components break down first. If your water heater is still fairly young, it’s worth the small investment to hire a professional to fix the wiring.

Electrical issues in a water heating system can be complicated. Do not attempt to fix them alone because there is a huge risk of electrocution, irreparable damage to the water heater, and fire.

Gas Heater
Gas heat is an energy efficient way to keep your home warm.

When something goes wrong with a gas heater, it’s time to call in a professional.

If your furnace isn’t heating up, is cycling on and off constantly, is noisy, or won’t turn on because the pilot light won’t stay lit, you need to call in a gas heater repair expert.

Why not just fix the problem yourself?

Gas is dangerous. Even the smallest gas leak causes fire and explosion risk. Plus, gas leaks can make you and your family very sick.

It is never worth putting your family and home in danger by trying to save a few dollars with a DIY repair. Gas heater servicing by a professional usually costs very little, and you benefit by knowing that all connections are secured and there will be no dangerous leaks.

Dishwasher Repair
Dishwasher problems, such as water not draining, not enough hot water during the washing cycle, or leaks are pretty common.

Some fixes are complicated, while others can be fairly simple.

But, before trying to fix your dishwasher alone, you should know that small mistakes can cause huge problems.

For example, trying to repair your dishwasher when it is not draining can seem like a simple fix. Often, DIY methods only work for a few washes.


Because deeper inside the plumbing, there are bigger problems.

One of the most common is that DIY methods push clogs deeper into the pipes. This causes pressure buildup, which leads to burst pipes. One broken pipe is all it takes to flood your home and cause damage to your floor, walls, and cabinets.

Flooding also increases fire risk.

The main advantage to hiring professional to fix your dishwasher is that they have the tools, and experience, to fix the problem correctly the first time. They can also discover clogs early, and remove them up before they cause flooding.

Ovens and Stoves

Next to a water heater, ovens and stoves are the most dangerous to DIY repair.


Your oven is a lot more intricate than you might think.

Because we use our stoves and ovens every day, it’s easy to take for granted just how much is going on behind the scenes:

  • Thermostat
  • Gas pipes or electrical wiring
  • Valves and fuses

These can be damaged unintentionally even during a fairly straight forward repair when done by a non-professional.

If you have a gas stove, do not attempt to fix it yourself.

Even the smallest amount of leakage can cause serious fire hazards. You can call the fire service to test, but they cannot test your stove every day. Daily use can knock fuses, valves, and pipes out of place. If you have not had a professional do the job, you risk causing a gas leak.

Gas stoves and other appliances are the number 1 cause of house fires in the United States. In Australia, cooking appliances, heating systems, and electrical equipment make up 3 of the top 4 causes of house fires.

Please call in a professional before you attempt any appliance repair.

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