Knowing When To Call A Pro
There seems to be always a repair that needs to be done around the house, however it's important that you don't bite off more than you can chew and end up damaging your home, or even worse yourself.
A recent string of injuries and deaths from people falling while attempting home repair and maintenance continued with former Holmdel Committee candidate Brian McFarland allegedly falling while working on his roof Monday.
There's a desire by many homeowners to take maintenance into their own hands and pick up the hammer and screwdriver, but according to experts it's important to know where to draw the line.
Bill Cappuccio, chairman of the Remodelers Council of the Builders League of South Jersey says there are some important rules to follow when deciding whether to attempt a project by yourself or call an pro.
Firstly if the project is an outdoor one it's important to observe it thoroughly from the ground first.
"If there's something that you see that you can reach without going on a high ladder, without putting yourself in danger, little minor caulking little minor repairs, that's fine to attempt. "
Cappuccio says the problems often start when do-it-yourselfers start climbing onto the roofs of their homes without the proper equipment and training. He notes that regulations set up by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) require any work done over 6 feet to be properly secured by a "harness, a safety harness, a lanyard, and all that."
The simplest advice Cappuccio can give when figuring out if a project is worth attempting on your own is to follow this rule: "if outside it's over six feet you want to call someone who has the right equipment and the right knowledge to know what they're doing when they get out there."
When it comes to indoor projects, especially anything having to do with wiring, Cappuccio says be mindful of your abilities.
"Anybody with a little knowledge and common sense can shut off a plug or a breaker. Anything beyond that, it's not something you want to attempt on your own. " He says any wiring that's any more advanced than the basic light switch or outlet could pose a risk of you making a mistake and doing something that doesn't meet code. Noting that creates two bad scenarios, the possibility of a fire, and "when It comes time to sell the house and you have a home inspection and they find wiring or electric that's done improperly you're going to incur a cost. "
Furthermore one of the hazards home handymen have to concern themselves with if they have an older home is lead. EPA regulations ()require that work being done by a contractor any home built before 1978 that could stir up paint chips or dust be tested for lead. Cappuccio explains that while a licensed contractor will do the required steps of testing and abating if need be, a do-it-yourselfer isn't required to do any of that and often doesn't even know it's there. Noting that "if you don't know what you're doing, and you start stirring it [lead based paint dust] up, you're creating a health risk for you and your family.
Ultimately, Cappuccio reminds home owners that contractors have licenses to reflect the years of training and knowledge necessary to complete projects properly and safely. So there is no shame in deferring to them when you aren't 100% comfortable doing a repair. Even though you might be tempted to save a few dollars, often times the savings won't even be there.
"If you fix it wrong, you still got to call somebody and it's usually going to cost more money for them to fix it when you've made a mess out of it. "