Rosie Romero exclusive to the Arizona Daily Star
A question: I consider myself fairly helpful and like to do most of my home maintenance. What projects are best left to the professionals?
Answer: There are projects that a homeowner can do easily and those that should be left to the professionals. Just because it sounds easy on home improvement software doesn’t mean it is. The professional has the experience and tools needed for a successful project. In addition, safety is a serious concern.
With some exceptions, these four areas require experience and should be left to professionals: plumbing, HVAC, electrical renovation, and furniture. Here’s why.
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Plumbing tasks can range from simple maintenance to more complex projects such as replacing fixtures or a leak behind a wall or under a foundation.
do it yourself
Maintenance can be cleaning or removing accumulated metals from fixtures. All you need is a light 50/50 mixture of vinegar and water on a soft cloth or sponge and some elbow grease to make the fixtures sparkle. Don’t forget to clean the screen at the end of the faucet as well. Using pliers or a channel lock, unscrew it from the tap. Place the strainer into a mixture of 50% water and 50% distilled household vinegar. Leave it on for a while until you see a noticeable reduction in mineral buildup. Use the cloth or sponge to gently clean the screen and when you’re done, simply reinstall it.
Flushing a supported toilet or drowning yourself can save a few dollars. You will need a plunger that seals the surface of the spare unit and some “gravity” to run the handle up and down. Do not use the same plunger for the sink and toilet. Invest a few dollars and buy a separate one.
Cleaning the drains of sticky soap buildup and hair tangles is another simple task. Tub and shower drains usually pop up immediately. Clean the tube with a snake, your hand, or another portable tool of your choice. Don’t be too strong, as the tube is likely only PVC and could be damaged. You’ll want to wear gloves for this task, and don’t eat too early before you do it. It is total.
Some tasks may require a specialist. Almost all fixtures need some form of gasket and skill to remove existing fixtures without breaking anything and reconnect new ones.
In terms of HVAC systems, unless you are skilled at servicing the various components, don’t mess with them. If you have a separate system where part of the unit is on the roof, we don’t recommend climbing there. This is an accident waiting to happen.
do it yourself
There are HVAC tasks you can and should do, such as changing filters. We are biased to pleated cloth filters and HEPA filters. These further purify the air with particles. be cerfull. Some filters may make the fan on the unit run too hard. Check airflow requirements before purchasing a new filter. Also, when changing the filter, clean the unit filter box of dust and debris that may have collected. Never store anything in the filter cabinet.
clean the Floor mounted compressor unit. Keep papers and any other materials such as dirt from gathering around the unit. Thin metal fins can be cleaned with a leaf blower or compressor. Just don’t make the air pressure too high. 40 to 50 psi will do the trick.
Replace your old thermostat with a new programmable one. Research the different types based on your needs and application skill set. This job can be simple, although some of us may need millennials to help with programming.
Duct relocation or addition should be evaluated by a professional. The concern is your HVAC fan’s ability to handle the overload. This will require a technical account by a professional.
Be very careful with electrical tasks.
do it yourself
Simple tasks like removing and replacing port cover plates and switches do not require professional training (just make sure the screw holes are perpendicular). Furthermore, some technical knowledge is necessary to prevent injury and electrocution.
If you want to replace a lamp or light socket, make sure you know how to turn off electrical power in the specific area you are working in. Find out which circuit breaker you want to turn off. Don’t assume the power is off. Keep a non-contact voltage tester in your toolbox. Make sure all wires in the port or Lightbox are turned off. The wires in the box may be from other circuits. This means that the breaker you turned off may not be enough. This is why you should test all wires for power. A slight shock while working on a ladder can lead to disaster. Always check and test each wire before you touch anything with your hand or an instrument.
Commissioning a new electrical circuit or adding a new outlet or lighting location should be done by a professional. Some of these projects will require a permit From your local building department, especially when adding a room or component.
do it yourself
There are quite a few things you can do to keep your furniture looking great and working as it should. Dusting, vacuuming cushions, removing stains, and polishing according to the manufacturer’s instructions are DIY tasks.
To preserve wood furniture, Irwin’s Furniture Restoration, Rosie at Home Approved Partner, suggests sweeping the area first. Using a soft, 100% cotton or microfiber cloth, dab it with a light amount of furniture oil. Do not use abrasive cloths or pads and scratch finishes. Wipe in the direction of the grain. Do not use heavy hand pressure if there is a heavy layer of dust particles as it will scratch the surface. Wipe gently with a soft, damp cloth to remove dirt. Then come back with pure oil like Mohawk, Old English, or Guardsman to clean and dust. Stay away from aerosol products. Contains added chemicals that are harmful to furniture finishes.
Irwin’s also offers these tips for fixing stained wood and watermarks: tucne.ws/1llh
You can also arrange outdoor furniture Like metal and wicker yourself.
Leave it to the professionals to restore vintage or one-of-a-kind furniture or projects that require special materials and tools. They will have the skills, knowledge, and access to materials that you may not have. You may spend a little more, but it will be worth it in the long run.
If you have the knowledge and skills, have them – with caution. Learn how to do some of these tasks by watching the videos on our website rosieonthehouse.com/videos.
Rosie Romero, an expert in the home building and remodeling industry in Arizona since 1988, is the host of Rosie’s Saturday Morning syndicated House radio broadcast, which is heard locally from 10-11 a.m. on KNST (790 a.m.) in Tucson and
8-11 a.m. on KGVY (1080-AM) and (100.7-FM) in Green Valley.
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