More than 1 million Americans a year wind up in the emergency room due to injuries related to home improvements, including garden care and maintenance, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission.
That’s often because the job is over their head, in more ways than one.
In an effort to save money, the National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI) says do-it-yourself (DIY) homeowners often underestimate the necessary physical strength, agility, skills and time necessary to get the job done.
DIYers also often overlook the scope of the job, don’t always know which set of tools to use for a given job, nor do they have the skills to use them. On-the-job power tool training without an instructor is foolhardy and dangerous.
The National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI) devised a 17-point quiz, “Home Improvement Projects: Do It Yourself Or Hire A Professional?” to help keep you out of harm’s way.
If you don’t cheat, it will teach you what you know and don’t know about home improvements and what home improvements you likely can and can’t do.
There’s a lot of harm that could get in the way if you don’t hire a professional when you should.
Epic do-it-yourself failures
According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, there are more than 164,000 emergency room-treated injuries related to ladders alone. CPSC’s 2011 Annual Report to the President and Congress reported 356,019 injuries related to home workshop apparatus, tools and attachments; 336,747 related to yard and garden equipment and 156,245 injuries related to home and family maintenance products.
Those were reported incidents.
• Gas appliances. Mistakes can be explosive.
• Roofing. Falls can kill. Even minor repairs, like cleaning gutters, should never be done without someone to steady the ladder.
• Asbestos. This is a hazardous material. Stiff laws regulate asbestos removal. Improper removal can allow toxic materials to become airborne. Your neighbors will then see you in court.
• Electrical. Shocking mishaps can cause your home to go up in smoke and send you singed to the emergency room – or worse.
• Plumbing. You may get away with replacing toilet tank parts even fixtures, but re-plumbing, extending water lines or re-routing sewer pipes can leave your home underwater – even if the property is worth more than your mortgage balance.