Most home owners don’t think of home improvement as being particularly dangerous. Sure, you have to watch where you step on a construction site, but the work itself is pretty straight-forward and easy to learn, right? Not according to our experts. Last week, we asked our home maintenance professionals what the most dangerous parts of their jobs are, and their answers were often surprising. Here are just a few of the hidden risks involved in three major categories of home improvement. All of them are excellent reminders of why you should hire professionals and not try to DIY all of your home installation projects!
“Pest control services can be very dangerous when labels are not followed. Homeowners should leave this job to the professionals. I have seen homeowners use a product that is designed to be mixed in water but just sprayed it out directly from the container at concentrations hundreds of times over the label rate.”
- Mark Puglisi, Greenleaf Pest Control
- Mark Puglisi, Greenleaf Pest Control
Many homeowners think that extermination is a job easily done on their own. Just go to the store, buy some bug poison, and apply it yourself, right? Well, according to expert exterminator Mark Puglisi of Greenleaf Pest Control, homeowners frequently put themselves at risk trying to take care of their own pest problems. “Pest control services can be very dangerous when labels are not followed. Homeowners should leave this job to the professionals. I have seen homeowners use a product that is designed to be mixed in water but just sprayed it out directly from the container at concentrations hundreds of times over the label rate.” Most extermination products have instruction labels that should be followed meticulously, but even so, homeowners often get it wrong, which is why professionals exist. And even when it’s done correctly, many of the chemicals used in extermination are still quite dangerous, as expert Joseph Molluso of Northeastern Exterminating reminds us:
“Many pest control technicians risk their health on a daily basis to improve the quality of yours.”
Plumbing is one of those things that most homeowners don’t think about much–until it goes wrong. But “going wrong” can be a lot more than just a leaky pipe. Plumbing expert Greg Chick of Ramona’s Plumber reveals the hidden danger behind gas water heaters:
Water Heaters are fire hazards–electric ones, as well as gas. Problems are not always obvious at installation time. …with either LPG or Natural gas water heaters, the two gases are so different that the wrong one installed can blow up an entire building along with anyone in it. This is a silent killer and too often…there is nothing media worthy about a house fire, and as a result media education is missing.”
Many home improvement stores sell water heaters for DIY installation, but as Greg explained, that can end up costing you a lot more than the price of paying a professional. It can cost you your life.
Plumbing can also be quite dangerous by virtue of the spaces you have to work in. Expert Michelle of JMS Plumbing told us that crawling under houses, using torches in closed spaces, and encountering potentially venomous reptiles are just a few risks of the jobs.
“We never let an untrained employee under the house without the proper knowledge & equipment,” she tells us.
“There is always a potential for something bad to happen, so the better prepared our plumbers are, the less likely something will go wrong. … It is best to leave those kind of jobs for expert technicians that have the knowledge, experience & expertise.”
The dangerous of plumbing are so varied and complex that professionals have to be trained in a variety of areas, and always stay on their guard when at work.
Finally, we come to the home improvement element that most home owners will think of when they think about potentially dangerous renovation projects. It’s common knowledge that electricians have to face the danger of sometimes fatally strong electric shocks, and that bad wiring could lead to any number of hazardous situations. But expert electrician Marc of MI Electric told us about another, less commonly considered risk:
“…electricians are often working at very high altitudes. They have to not only be aware of the fall, but they also have to be very mindful of the fact that they are sometimes working on “live” or “energized” circuitry while they are up there. … Getting hit with an electrical “jolt” can easily cause a technician to lose his or her balance or grip.”
Accessing power lines or light boxes, or even just wiring in a high ceiling, can mean putting yourself in a precarious situation. Even if you aren’t working with high voltage lines, a tiny shock or a misplaced step can spell disaster for an electrician who has a long way to fall before hitting the ground.
For many home improvement professionals, their work isn’t just about making sure the job is done well. It’s about making sure that it is done safely, and that nothing will go wrong in the future. There is nothing more valuable than safety.
Photo courtesy of FaceMePLS.