DIY Disasters

4 Things You Should Avoid Doing Yourself

DIY: A Cultural Baggage

They say if you want something done right, do it yourself. Sometimes, that’s true, if you know what you’re doing. How often do we know exactly what we’re doing, though? There are so many things in the world that require technical knowledge that the DIY craze has become something of a cultural baggage. True, doing it yourself can save money, but when getting it wrong can lead to serious trouble – trouble that might cost you more money – what good is it? It’s important to know what makes for a good DIY project and what doesn’t.

4 Things You Should Avoid DIY

Keep in mind, some of these things might be things you can do yourself if you know how to do it, so don’t take these as “never” situations. If you actually have the tools and know-how, more power to you. For the rest of us, here are four things you should avoid for DIY projects.

1. Car Repairs

safety inspection on a carSE Performance – a mechanic shop in Logan, Utah – tells a story that perfectly illustrates why trying to fix your own car is usually a bad idea. Cars have become incredibly complicated machines. At the start, cars were essentially just big clockwork machines you had to wind by hand to get started. Then came the internal combustion engine, then the onboard computer, and now your car is a complicated, multifaceted machine. There are so many different parts that all have to work together, many of them relying on complicated electronics and wiring. Monitoring equipment adds additional safety features to keep you from destroying your engine, or hurting yourself, but the instruments don’t always make it clear what the specific problem is. If you don’t know how cars work, or don’t have the right tools to diagnose a problem, trying to fix it yourself might only cause more problems.

2. Landscape Lighting

Landscape lighting is a good way to increase the curb appeal of your home. Properly lit, you can create a dynamic view from the road that gives your house a strong, aesthetically pleasing impression at just a glance. Portland Sprinklers and Landscape Lighting offers some tips to properly setting up your landscape lighting if you want to try and DIY, but it’s very easy to get wrong if you don’t know what you’re doing. The examples of what happens when you light your home and yard properly are striking when compared side-by-side with examples of it being done wrong. It’s best to get help from a landscape architect if you want to make sure you get the proper effect.

3. Flood Damage

flooding in a basementWhether it’s overland flooding from overflowing water sources, or the more difficult to prevent groundwater flooding, floods can do serious damage to your home. The worst part it isn’t a one and done thing; the water that floods your home will keep on doing damage as long as it sits. This means flooding needs to be cleaned up quickly. You can build systems to protect yourself from flooding to minimize serious flood damage, but once the flood hits, you need help and fast.

As we’re coming to the end of winter, snow melt is going to start filling up our reservoirs. With many places getting more snow than normal, we need to be prepared for flooding to happen. If it does, you want to get help from professional flood cleaners, who will have the tools to quickly remove the water and minimize damage. You absolutely cannot afford to let it sit and drain by itself.

4. Air Duct Cleaning

We don’t think about it very much, but there can be some real horror stories when you don’t clean your air ducts very often. Easy Breezy Ducts, a company based in Cache Valley, has seen quite a few. From fiberglass insulation, to 30-year-old toys, all kinds of things get into your vents. Some of these things can be hazardous to your health if it gets blown into the air you breathe. Some people think they can pull out a shop vac and just stick the hose through their vents, but this is not really a good idea. Even very strong shop vacs will only have an effective range of 20 feet, while most vents will be 25 feet or longer. It can also be hard to get the shop vac’s hose to go around corners, and if there are large objects in the vent, it can plug the vacuum up.

Professional air duct cleaners not only have specialized cleaning equipment to deal with these issues, but they can use cameras to view the inside of the ducts and see if there’s any special needs, or any kind of damage that should be repaired. You don’t have to do this very often – only once every 3-5 years – but when you do need it done, it’s best to call in a professional.

DIY: Not Always The Best Option

We like to do things ourselves. There’s something satisfying about being able to say we solve our own problems, but when the desire for an ego trip leads us into Dunning-Kruger territory, it ends up making more problems for us than it solves. Whether we end up spending more time than is reasonable, make mistakes that make the problem worse, or just waste time and accomplish nothing, many things can go wrong.

Youtube might be full of DIY videos, but unless you really know what you’re doing, it’s often a better option to go to a professional.