Every now and then the King of the Castle may get the urge to repair a squeaky draw bridge himself. In the modern era of DIY superstores and internet how-to videos, many homeowners actually enjoy spending their Saturdays under the sink or putting on a coat of paint.
However, it’s important to know when DIY could spell disaster. Tradesmen spend years honing their crafts. When working on parts of your home that could place you on the wrong end of 240 volts, the city sewer system or a natural gas line — consider calling a pro. Here are five weekend warrior jobs best left to the people who do it Monday through Friday.
1. Remediation of Potentially Toxic Materials
Mold, asbestos, lead and radon are just some of the scary substances that homeowners may encounter. While removing these materials may seem straight forward enough, the tools and training are expensive and complicated. Special vacuums, safety suits and testing equipment are just some of the items required. In many cases, improper remediation by a homeowner is a greater threat to family health than doing nothing.
2. Cutting Down Trees
Falling trees is the most deadly of the dangerous jobs out there. Trees are often much taller than they look from the ground. You may think you have plenty of room — only to land General Sherman on your neighbor’s new car. Climbing in trees also requires caution and no matter how easy it seemed as a kid, just one fall can be life changing. Power lines and the inherent dangers of chainsaws also make this a task you should never tackle DIY-style.
3. Messing With the HVAC System
Your home’s HVAC system is not only important to your comfort and health, but also dangerous to work on. Furnaces and air conditioners draw large amounts of electricity and may connect to the gas line as well. Even comfort and health solutions, like Aprilaire air purifiers and humidifiers, require a trained HVAC technician. Equipment can operate incorrectly, damage other parts of the system and fall out of warranty if installed by anyone except a recognized expert.
4. Digging Up the Yard
It’s certainly okay to put a shovel in the ground in your own backyard, but you should be aware of proper protocols before you dig. All states have locating agencies that will come out and map cable, electric and gas lines on your property. This helps ensure you don’t send a pick-axe through a utility — potentially causing extensive damage and severe bodily harm.
5. Anything You’re Not Comfortable With
Everyone likes to save money by turning their own wrench now and then. However, it takes practice to do things safely and correctly and you might not want to experiment on your own house. Also, make sure doing the job yourself will actually save you money. Voiding warranties, the purchase of special tools and difficulty finding parts are main reasons that even having the knowledge might not be enough. For every job you can think of, there is likely a contractor who can help.
If you plan on working on your house this weekend, just remember to call an expert if the job warrants it. Also keep in mind that all Aprilaire products are sold by and installed by a network of HVAC dealers who understand exactly how your unique HVAC system works. Use our dealer locator to find an expert near you.