Do It Yourself or Hire a Pro?
The old electrical system, wiring and devices are not what they used to be? Cords fall out of outlets, the switches only work some of the time, and it seems as if everything is on one circuit when a breaker trips. You know that the dreaded time has come to rehab the electrical system and components. The question arises that you may have pondered for a few years now; Should I do it myself or call a professional? Some factors may determine that answer. Let’s look through a few things that will help you determine the appropriate answer.
1. Is Time a Factor? As with any project that you do yourself, it’s going to take up a certain amount of your precious time. Determine if you’re going to have enough time to plan, start and complete the project yourself. Nothing is worse than getting something started and not having the time to get the job done. For the married guys out there, this would be the time your wife would broadcast to the world that her husband “had to do it himself and now there it is, still not finished!” If time isn’t going to allow you to complete a project on time, then it may be time to hire someone.
2. What’s Your Skill Level? To do any electrical project, you are going to have to have some basic knowledge of electricity, how it works and how to work on it safely. Remember that when you tear anything apart, you’re the one who has got to put it back together. Don’t forget to draw yourself a wiring roadmap! Most electrical repairs can be learned from my step-by-step guides. If you tear into a switch or outlet, look at it and scratch your head for more than five minutes, then I’d suggest calling a professional. This project is not for you.
3. What are Your Finances? The true maverick do-it-yourselfers have a certain pride about them. When the spouse says, “Let’s call someone to fix it,” the other spouse may say, “Where are we going to get the money for that?” Chances are, if money is tight, you’ll be attempting it yourself. This doesn’t mean that you won’t have to call a pro to bail you out at some time throughout the task. If financing is not an issue and you feel like giving it a shot, do it! Then again, there’s something to be said for watching someone else do the work for you.
4. How Difficult is the Project? Let’s face it. We all want to be the Tim ”THE TOOL MAN” Taylor of home repairs, but some projects that we undertake are just bigger than we can handle ourselves. Don’t rush into something that will overwhelm you and leave you with power to only half of your house. Using the skills you have for attempting simpler projects is just fine, but tearing the wiring out of your walls when you don’t know a ground wire from a hot wire is quite another. Start slowly and only tackle the projects that you can complete
*The next time someone calls the redbpower office and asks, “when do I need a professional.” I am sending them to this article on About.com. It is a tricky subject for the DIY’ers out there. Where is the line? Trust me. We know what you are going through because we are a bunch of DIY’ers, too! This article is great. I can’t explain it better myself. Oh, and the Indian Electrician picture is from flickr. I think it is perfect for this article. Don’t you? — Christy