The freedom of homeownership also entails some expensive surprises. You may not have counted on home repairs when bought your home, but they are bound to arise.
Home repairs come in all shapes, sizes, and costs. You can save money by doing many fixes and updates yourself. But that doesn’t mean you should do them all yourself.
Take a step back before plunging in, especially if you think you are qualified to tackle the ones with the heftiest price tags.
Some jobs are better left to licensed professionals.
Fixing a leaky faucet or repairing a running toilet is one thing. A clogged drain may be within the scope of your skills, too.
But a burst pipe is a different beast. You can create expensive damage to your home in the blink of an eye if you don’t know what you’re doing.
If you’re new to home repairs, even if you are feeling confident, get the help of a plumber with major repairs.
But don’t let that discourage you, though. Before a plumbing crisis strikes, find a household repairs class for homeowners — a community college, library or hardware store are a few places to look. Also, see if you can find a plumber who’d be willing to talk through an issue with you and help you learn.
When trouble strikes, though, smart novices call a plumber.
2. Electrical repairs
Go ahead, hang a light fixture. The job of upgrading outdated, old or incomplete electrical work, however, is another matter. Hire a licensed professional.
Keep your wiring repairs on the outside of the walls, advises Liberty Mutual Insurance. Don’t touch wiring inside the electrical panel, ceiling or walls. Call a licensed and bonded electrician, too, to make repairs on an old homes with non-traditional wiring.
“Even when you think you know what you’re doing, you might get shocked. Combining amateurism with a cavalier attitude can be a dangerous thing,” warns The Spruce, in an article that says homeowners who are especially logical and cautious can cautiously tackle electrical jobs.
If you want to build skills, start slowly. Ask a friend or relative who is a professional electrician for lessons and a hand.
3. Large renovations
Adding new kitchen cabinets is something you can handle.
But moving a wall or making a major structural change to a home? Those aren’t small tasks. Leave demo day to the experts.
Anything involving restructuring your home — blowing out a room, for instance, or creating an addition — is not a job to attempt yourself.
Skimping by trying to do large renovations yourself can cost you more in the long run — after you have to hire a professional to clean up your mess.
4. Roof repairs
Falling off a roof doesn’t sound like much fun. You think you’re getting up there to inspect some damage, but the next thing you know you’re airborne.
Is trying to do your own roof repairs worth the risk? Probably not. “Not only can you seriously hurt yourself, you can seriously damage the structural integrity of your home without the proper skill set and tools,” Liberty Mutual cautions.
You may not have the expertise to diagnose the cause of the problem or condition your roof is in. Patching and pre-patching can cover serious problems.
Call an expert, at the very least to get a thorough, professional assessment of your roofing problem.
5. Gas appliances
When your clothes dryer stops blowing hot air or your oven won’t ignite, don’t turn to YouTube if you haven’t got a clue what you’re doing. Find a qualified professional instead.
Natural gas mishaps are scary. Explains the Ohio Public Utilities Commission:
“If a faulty furnace does not burn natural gas properly, or is not vented properly, carbon monoxide can begin to build in the home. When a person breathes carbon monoxide their brain and organs are robbed of the oxygen necessary to function properly and they can become sick and incapacitated very quickly.”
When you think about it, it’s cheaper to pay a licensed professional to fix a gas problem than it is to risk the lives of those you love.