Four DIY Repairs that Often Go Wrong
Many homeowners take immense pride in their ability to upkeep their homes and fix issues that come their way using nothing more than their hands and their skills they have developed over years of practice and testing. Such skills are to be commended—repairing a home isn’t always easy, and being able to rectify some issues on your own is not only a great way to save money, but it’s also a great opportunity to put your stamp on your home and truly make it your own. However, while we encourage everyone to try and fix things where they can, people who don’t have the skills they need can quickly find themselves in way over their head. And when that happens, our handymen are often called in to pick up the pieces and restore things to working order.
Here are four DIY repairs that homeowners often find themselves struggling to complete properly, either due to a lack of knowledge or insufficient skill and tools to get the job done properly.
Replacing a Leaking Pipe
Leaking pipes are a pretty common problem with indoor plumbing. After a while, materials will corrode, pipes can shift, and a number of other things can cause issues ranging from a slow drip to a leaking stream. These issues can cause a whole host of problems with your home, so there’s a good chance you want to fix this issue as soon as possible. However, this is one repair where people often make mistakes that could lead to the issue coming back or even getting worse.
Our plumbers have seen all sorts of pipe replacement jobs go wrong for a variety of reasons. One such mistake is homeowners will sometimes try to replace a leaking copper line with a stretch of plastic pipe. Making the connection between the two materials isn’t always simple, and that’s why plumbing codes dictate that water lines can only go from metal to plastic (and vice versa) in a very limited number of circumstances. It’s typically at these connections where the two materials switch where most people find their plumbing lines leaking again, and it might even be leaking worse than it was before you started the repair. This is why we advise leaving these replacements to a professional.
Fixing a Faulty Breaker
Replacing a faulty circuit breaker can actually be a pretty simple job. All you have to do is simply shut off power through your panel’s main switch, pop out the faulty breaker, disconnect and replace the wires (making careful sure that the polarity lines up), and then popping the new breaker back into place. Sounds easy, right?
Unfortunately, there are two big issues with breaker replacement for homeowners. For starters, homeowners often don’t replace the old breaker with the right type of replacement. For example, replacing a faulty kitchen breaker means installing a GFCI-equipped breaker for safety. Living areas should have an AFCI safety measure installed. Likewise, some homeowners try to save a little bit of money by purchasing a breaker with a smaller load capacity, but this is usually far worse than it seems. Not having enough capacity makes a breaker more likely to trip and shut off, and it could cause the breaker and other devices connected to that circuit to overheat. That could cause fires, injury, and a whole host of other issues that could otherwise be avoided by trusting this job to a pro.
Installing a New Light Fixture
New light fixtures are a great upgrade to your home. They can take your old, outdated fixtures that make your space feel dated and give it new life with a fresh and modern look. Modern fixtures even offer energy efficiency improvements, and some even have smart home connectivity options to give you increased control. And for some, the replacement might seem as simple as disconnecting power, removing the old fixture, and connecting and installing the new one.
However, fixture replacements are not always that simple or straightforward. Electrical lines can eventually wear out over time, particularly in outdoor settings. This means you might need to service your electrical connection before installing your new fixture. Likewise, if you’re adding fixtures to your home, many people do not make a proper connection to an electrical line, and that could be extremely dangerous. Splices or improper electrical joints have been known to spark fires, so it’s best that you have these fixtures and your new lights installed by an experienced pro who will make sure your new fixtures are safe and bright.
Replacing a Water Heater
On the surface, replacing a water heater might seem like a pretty simple job. Water heaters only have a few simple connections to electrical power, gas, and water lines, and they are generally pretty quick to disconnect and remove. However, most people underestimate the sheer number of ways things can go sideways with a water heater replacement.
Water heaters require a steady and stable electrical connection in order to operate properly, and that means you’ll likely need to properly connect wiring (which is easy to make a mistake while doing). You might also have to properly connect a gas line, water connections, and so much more. These are opportunities for further leaks that could damage your home.