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When Should You NOT Do It Yourself

Many of us enjoy DIY projects. It can be very rewarding building or fixing something yourself instead of having to hire a helping hand. You may even save money in the process. 

However, DIY is not always the way to go. There are some instances in which attempting a project oneself could have negative side effects. Below are just a few times in which you shouldn’t do it yourself.

Am I doing it right?

Before tackling any DIY project, it can be important to educate yourself. This is easier than ever thanks to the internet – you can find blog posts and Youtube tutorials on practically anything from crafting your own jewelry to fixing a creaky floorboard.

It’s unwise to attempt any DIY project if you haven’t got a clue what you’re doing. This is particularly the case with projects that could be expensive if you make a mistake (such as fixing your car yourself, knocking down an internal wall or attempting to restore an expensive antique). If you’re uncertain of what you’re doing and there’s a chance you could do expensive irreversible damage, think twice before putting your DIY hat on.

You should also be careful when it comes to ordering parts. If you’re fixing the piping in your home, consider what type of piping you need. Are galvanized steel pipes the best choice or is PVC the best choice? It could all depend on what the piping is going to be used for (is it for water supply or waste?). Know exactly which part you need so that you don’t waste money on unnecessary parts. If you don’t know what parts you need, hire an expert. 

Isn’t this a little dangerous? 

Another time in which you should refrain from doing any DIY is when there’s a real risk of causing danger. If you know exactly what you’re doing, then this risk may not be such a concern. However, if you’re tackling something for the first time and there’s a chance it could cause serious injury if it goes wrong, consider whether you should call an expert.

For instance, if your roof is damaged, consider whether it’s truly safe for you to go up there and fix it. Step on a loose tile and you could fall through the roof or slip to your death. Unless you have safety equipment (such as a harness and hard hat) or know exactly where to tread, you may want to avoid this repair task.

In some cases, it may not just be yourself but others that could be put at risk. When fixing an electrical appliance for instance, you may want to be careful of playing around with wiring if you don’t know what you’re doing – faulty wiring could give someone an electric shock while using the appliance or start a fire. Hiring an appliance technician could be a better shout. 

Am I certified to do this? 

Certain tasks shouldn’t be carried out unless you have certification. This is because they’re deemed so dangerous if they go wrong that they require expert knowledge.

Two examples of this include complex electrics and plumbing. While you may be able to unblock a u-bend or replacing a broken light fitting without a license, there are certain jobs such as rewiring a room or installing new gas plumbing which should always be left up to an expert. You could get in legal trouble when selling your home if a job hasn’t been done by a licensed professional. The law is likely to vary depending on which state you live in. 

Could I save money by hiring an expert?

Going DIY can sometimes be a way of saving money, but there are times when it can actually work out cheaper to hire an expert. Some jobs can benefit from specialist tools. Buying these tools could be very expensive. A professional meanwhile may already have these tools and the rates they charge could work out a lot cheaper. 

Renting tools may of course be a way around this. However, even then you need to consider whether it’s better to pay a pro if you’re going to need to rent it for a long time. 

Crafts are an area where often it can be cheaper to make something yourself than buying a prebuilt product. However, there can be times when it’s still cheaper to buy than make yourself. For instance, you could spend more money making your own detergent than buying a bottle of detergent off the shelf.

It all depends on whether you’re willing to spend money on it as a hobby. It may cost more to craft your own beer than to buy a crate of beer – but the whole craft process is part of the fun and reward, in which case the extra money is worth it. 

Am I covered by insurance/a warranty? 

In the case of repairs, it’s often important to weigh up whether you’re covered by insurance or a warranty before rolling up your sleeves. There may be no point repairing a refrigerator yourself to save money if you can call out a technician to repair it for free by claiming your warranty. 

Attempting to repair something that is insured could also potentially make your coverage void. This is particularly the case if a repair is botched and leads to a further incident. For instance, let’s imagine you attempt to fix the brakes on your car yourself after an accident and this then leads to another crash because they weren’t fitted properly. If your insurer discovers this, they will likely refuse to offer you a payout and may even blacklist you. Even if you’ve got a high deductible or are trying to protect your no-claims bonus, it is better to claim your insurance when it is an option rather than attempting repairs yourself in order to stay covered. 


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