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When not to DIY

The coronavirus lockdown has not only seen many of us take a big cut in working hours, but it’s forced us to stay indoors too. Naturally, our thoughts have turned to those long overdue home and garden improvements, but not every job is suitable for the DIY enthusiast.

While the majority of us may feel confident wielding a paintbrush or hanging a new shelf, when it comes to work on your plumbing and heating systems, some jobs really must be left to the professionals. Jerry Whiteley, Technical Manager for the Chartered Institute of Plumbing & Heating Engineering (CIPHE), urges householders to be cautious when undertaking DIY. He explains, “There’s no doubt there are a number of simple jobs the average homeowner can tackle themselves. However, when it comes to plumbing systems there are a number of high-risk things that can go wrong: from leaking or burst pipes that cause extensive water damage, to misconnections resulting in water contamination.”

Worryingly, if you run into issues during lockdown, not only could you have trouble finding a professional tradesperson to put it right, but it could potentially cost you a lot of money - especially if your home insurance policy does not cover accidental damage, or you have attempted work that you are not competent to do. 

If that isn’t enough food for thought, then the darker side to DIY might stop you in your tracks. Every year thousands of people end up in A&E, walk-in centres, or minor and major injury departments due to a DIY accident. This trend is continuing now, with hospitals reporting a worrying rise in casualties. At this time of national crisis, the NHS cannot afford additional strain. Whether it’s a fall off a ladder, a power tool related injury, consequences from cutting through electric cables or a nail through the finger, DIY can be a dangerous hobby if you don’t know what you are doing.

Jerry continued, “Unless you have the knowledge and experience to undertake work on plumbing and heating systems, it’s just not worth taking chances. The DIYer has to abide by exactly the same regulations as the qualified professional. So, although you may think you are making the most of your new found spare time and saving money in the short term, uninformed DIY can very easily become costly, stressful, dangerous and can land you in hot water with the law.”

“Our members regularly rectify work carried out by people who have no formal plumbing training. We would recommend tacking smaller DIY tasks such as decorating, and waiting for the lockdown to lift so you can engage a professional to carry out any plumbing or heating work. You know the job will be done professionally and competently, and with the peace of mind of a job well done.”

If you do have a DIY disaster and need to find a professional plumbing or heating engineer, visit  www.ciphe.org.uk.