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Angie’s List: Do-It-Yourself Dangers

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Have you considered taking on a home improvement project yourself in hopes of saving money?

More and more people are doing it. But in this week’s Angie’s list, Jim Donovan tells you why that’s not always a good idea.

In an effort to save money, many people are skipping the experts and opting to do their own home improvement projects. But in some cases, that can be a costly mistake.

“What they find out is they get in over their head and end up having to hire a pro to come in and fix a botched job, which can cost even more money,” said Angie’s List founder, Angie Hicks.

Not only can it be more expensive, it can also be more dangerous.

“There could be some serious injuries involved in Do-It-Yourself projects when people are handling equipment or trying to do projects they are not familiar with,” said Hicks.

Whether from falling off a ladder or getting a serious cut or other injury, 164,000 Americans end up in the emergency room every year because of do-it-yourself accidents.

“And now because of the injury, they are out of work for a prolonged period of time and they’ve got a health expense that they certainly were not budgeting for. It all boils down to often times loss of appreciation of how dangerous the tools are,” said Dr. James Creighton.

If want to tackle something yourself … Make sure you’re skilled enough to handle the job and the tools. Just because it looks easy, doesn’t mean it is. And recognize some jobs should be left to the experts.

“Homeowners should avoid projects related to plumbing and electrical as far as do-it-yourself and hire in a pro for those,” said Hicks.

3 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Tackling Any DIY Project:

1. What experience (if any) do I have? Just because you’re not afraid to take on a project – doesn’t mean you should. Be realistic about your skills. Not having the expertise could lead to additional costs and work. Also, you might find it difficult to find a contractor who will fix your snafu.

2. Do I have the time? Many home improvement projects take weeks rather than days. Measure the inconvenience against the cost of hiring a professional.

3. Do I have the right tools? If you have to go out and buy a power saw, but don’t plan to use it again in the future, it’s probably not a good investment.

Angie’s List Tips for Making Hiring Decisions:

• Call at least 3 contractors for estimates and check references, credit history and business standing.

• Ask about licensing. Make sure the contractor is properly licensed for the job they will perform.

• If your home was built before 1978, confirm that they are meet the EPA’s new lead paint certification requirements.

• Get estimates in writing. Documentation is often the best ammunition you have if things go wrong.

• Beware contractors who give you only a PO Box or answering service as contact.

• Clearly communicate the updates/repairs you want done. A rough idea on paper is better than nothing.

Reported By Jim Donovan, CBS Philly

More from Jim Donovan
  • Michael Jay

    CAUTION: We used angies list to find a roofer & sider. When we googled the fellows name after his visit to give us a price, we found he was a convicted murderer that had just been released from prison.

    We then called and hired Home Depot to do the job!

    Angies list does not check out the workers like they say they do!

  • Latest How To Save Money For A Home News « Home Saving News

    […] Angie’s List: Do-It-Yourself Dangers Have you considered taking on a home improvement project yourself in hopes of saving money? More and more people are doing it. But in this week’s Angie’s list, Jim Donovan tells you why that’s not always a good idea. Read more on CBS Philadelphia […]

  • John boy

    Every year 164,000 DIY’s end up in the emergency room, what are the statistics for the pro’s? Every occupation has accidents.

  • Mel K

    All those home improvement shows on TV give people the impression that it’s so easy to do. It’s TV, so they edit out the mistakes and put everything into a 30 minute show. People need to be realistic. If you want something done right, and you don’t have the experience, then it probably won’t be done right. You can try, but it’ll probably look like an amateur job which isn’t good when you go to sell your house.

  • paul lore

    if you do your research,learn by doing,take small jobs and see how they come out. then if you need a saw ,router buy one.learn by your mistakes,that,s how you can become skilled.painting isn,t hard,just have to take your time,ceiling first,use the blue tape to make it easier,then the wall,s. no big issues here. fenceing can be a hassel,but you need two people. measure once or twice to make sure everything lines up. ask at the store where you bought the materials, they will offer you good information or demonstrate to you how to do the job,good luck

    • johan

      You forgot the 2 most impotant thing in renovations. Cauking and moulding. The pros use it all the time.

  • Guess Who

    Tools can be rented, ya know.

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