A young man holding a smoking electrical cable after electrical accident with dirty burnt face

Chicago Home and Lifestyles – Common Home Repair Mistakes

A young man holding a smoking electrical cable after electrical accident with dirty burnt face

Everything you would ever want to do in your home now has a video on You Tube. It’s all well and good until you make a mistake, and it winds up costing you more in the long run. Here are a few tips to help with that DIY project. 

Make sure you use the right tools. Using wrong or improperly sized tools can be downright dangerous, not just to your project. There are many home improvement and hardware stores that will rent tools and even offer classes and advice for DIY projects. 

Be careful with the surroundings. You would hate to install a ceiling fan and discover too late your ladder scratched your beautiful hardwood floor! There are inexpensive ladder covers or you can make your own with pool noodles. For large room projects like painting, drop cloths are good if the room is carpeted. Use rosin paper and painters’ tape to cover hard surface floors. If you are doing a dusty job like drywall, it’s a good idea to seal off the room with plastic and duct tape. You will be surprised at how much of that dust will permeate through the house if you don’t take precautions. It can wreak havoc with your HVAC system. 

Always make sure to properly turn off the electric or water supply when working on these systems. It seems like a chore with your busy schedule to figure out which circuit in the electrical panel needs to be off to change that light fixture, but it’s definitely worth it. Unless you want an exorbitant repair bill, or worse, cashing in on your life insurance!

Prep before painting. Painting is one of the least expensive projects and can really transform a room but if you don’t prepare properly it can result in a big mess. Especially if you are painting over old glossy paint. Fix any imperfections and sand well. Use a high-quality primer and your project will have beautiful long-lasting results. 

Be careful when nailing or drilling into a wall. It can be a disaster if you drill into an electrical cable or cause a water or gas leak. Invest in a stud finder. This will ensure proper attachment and if you have one that detects electricity also it will prevent injury. If you feel any resistance, stop! You most likely hit a pipe or metal strapping around electric cables. Always measure when using fasteners, especially on floors and ceilings. Using too long of ones can protrude through. 

Finally, be careful when replacing water pipes. We know plumbers are crazy expensive, but you can run into real trouble here. Plastic pipe is sometimes not rated properly for hot water. Mixing galvanized pipe with copper can cause a corrosive reaction that will cause more problems than the one you are fixing. So go into those DIY projects prepared with as much knowledge as you can find. 

Kathleen Weaver-Zech and Dean’s Team Chicago