The dangers of DIY jobs in the home

DIY is a great way to save a little cash when updating or repairing your home. It’s also a great way to put yourself in harm’s way; every year, hundreds of thousands of people require an emergency room visit due to injuries sustained from DIY gone awry.

But it doesn’t have to be that way. Simply knowing which jobs are reasonably safe – and which should be left to the experts – is all it takes to limit your chances of ending up with an injury. Here are some of the most dangerous DIY jobs that are best left to the professionals:

Electrical work

Electricity can be lethal. If not treated with proper knowledge and respect, electrical work can carry the risk of severe shocks and burns.

While it’s safe to undertake the most basic DIY tasks, such as changing a light bulb (make sure the light switch is off and the ladder is secure!), anything more complex should have you reaching for the phone directory.

That’s because electricians have one of the most dangerous jobs, with lethal and serious injury an unfortunate risk associated with the profession. So even with professional training and experience, electrical work can be extremely hazardous – rather leave the risk-taking to the professionals, who are aware of those hazards and are as well prepared as possible.

Gas plumbing

Unlicensed professionals should never carry out gas plumbing work. That’s because gas is extremely dangerous, with catastrophe often ensuing when well-meaning DIY-ers try and take on work best left to the pros.

Carrying out unlicensed gas work will also void many home insurance contracts; Internet message boards are full of horror stories of huge out-of-pocket damage costs caused by poor gas plumbing work. So when you call in the professionals, it’s important to check they are fully registered and insured.

Getting a home warranty that covers repair work is a good way to ensure you always have a qualified professional carrying out repair work. For more information, check out home warranty providers and home improvement blogs for advice.

Roof repairs

On the subject of risky jobs, roofers also suffer a high level of on-the-job injuries, compared with other professionals. Unfortunately, a high number of DIY-ers also suffer serious injuries as a result of trying to undertake roofing repair work themselves. Often, they lack the knowledge and proper safety equipment to carry out roofing repairs – the act of overstretching or even the smallest gust of wind can be enough to set disastrous events in motion.

So ensure roof-related activities such as tile replacement and TV aerial repairs are left to the professionals.

Tree removal

For evidence of what can go wrong when trying to remove a tree yourself, look no further than YouTube; there are thousands of videos of idiots with chainsaws crushing their own or their neighbors’ houses, cars or sheds after trying to hack down trees.

In fact, damage to property is often the best-case scenario, with many less fortunate DIY tree removers ending up in hospital. So even if you’re thinking of removing a smaller tree, call in the experts. A tree surgeon or professional tree remover will have the necessary skills, knowledge and equipment to avoid an expensive catastrophe.

Wall removal

Open-plan living is still all the rage. And it’s a trend that looks set to continue for some time as people ditch the stuffy feel of closed-off rooms for the benefits of brighter, more airy living spaces.

So as tempted as you may be to start pulling down walls yourself, resist. Remodeling on that kind of scale takes proper knowledge of building structures; in particular, which walls bear the load of the building. That’s because accidentally removing the wrong wall can literally bring the house down on top of you. If you somehow manage to escape uninjured, you’ll end up with a costly bill to set everything back the way it was.

So call in a registered and insured builder to take down your internal walls. That way, you’ll minimize the risk of creating a little more open space than you bargained for.

Asbestos removal

During the 1980s, asbestos was a popular building material that was later found to be carcinogenic. While it’s possible your home may contain asbestos if it was built or updated in this period, it’s not dangerous unless it’s disturbed.

If your home was built in the 1980s and you want to renovate, it’s best to check for asbestos first. Call an asbestos removal company who will check for and dispose of the hazardous material safely.