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5 home projects you shouldn't do on your own

By Salt Lake Regional Medical Center  |  Posted Jul 6th, 2017 @ 8:00am


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The DIY craze is sweeping the nation. While doing home projects yourself can be empowering and save you money, certain home improvements are too dangerous (no matter what your favorite YouTuber says!) and should be left to the professionals.

In fact, many studies have shown most serious or fatal accidents occur in the home.

Household accidents account for "as many as 20,000 deaths, 7 million disabling injuries, and 20 million hospital trips in the U.S. each year," according to data collected by WebMD.

DIY accidents have increased recently along with the trend, with over 200,000 people per year sent to the hospital.

You can't buy health, so consider finding a seasoned professional to do the following dangerous home improvement projects instead of attempting them yourself.

Roof replacement

Falls are one of the most common accidents around the home and are extremely dangerous — falls are more likely to be fatal than many other household injuries.

In 2013, 31,959 people in the U.S. died from household falls, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

A common cause of falls is people doing maintenance on their gutters or roofs themselves.

Even if you're just checking your roof for damage after a storm, you should always ensure you have a functional ladder standing on level, hard ground.

If you're tempted to get out your nail gun and rip off old roof shingles yourself, remember the dangerous potential for falls and accidents with construction equipment. A professional has experience and special gear, so consider hiring a roofer to keep yourself safe.

Solar panel installation

Solar panels are often heavy and unwieldy. Attempting to put them on your roof carries the same potential for falls as roof maintenance but adds the danger of working with the wiring and equipment needed to fasten them to your roof.

Bringing in experienced solar panel technicians can help you get them situated in the best position for sun exposure and prevent you from getting injured.

Electrical maintenance

Electrical cords and plugs are responsible for the most civilian deaths related to electrical accidents each year, according to the National Fire Protection Association.

These accidents are often caused simply by people plugging cords with frayed wires into outlets or overloading extension cords. Additionally, even if a person is not electrocuted and injured when trying to fix a fuse or do electrical maintenance themselves, people often mistakenly create the conditions for an electrical fire to start after they've tampered with their home's electricity.

A person's lifetime odds of dying as a result of exposure to fire, flames or smoke is 1 in 1,498, according to a graphic and data created by the National Center for Health Statistics.

Because of these hazards, if you have a faulty outlet or repeatedly have issues with your fuse box, make sure to find a licensed and knowledgeable electrician to take a look. This could prevent both electrocution and fire hazards.

Replacing windows

Window replacement requires working with large pieces of glass and creating a good seal around new windows to prevent air from escaping.

If you need to Google "how to replace a window," you probably don't have the specialty equipment and knowledge to do the job right. Also, the chemicals in certain sealants can be noxious, so often the DIY approach is more hassle and potential for injury than it's worth.

Luckily, as measured in the early 2000s, "The states with the fewest home-injury deaths per 100,000 residents were Massachusetts, Utah, Maryland, Minnesota, and New York," according to one study.

Stump and tree removal

Cutting down trees or pulling stumps out of your yard requires heavy machinery. Often, you will need to rent a tractor to pull out stubborn stumps and a chainsaw to cut the dead tree into moveable pieces.

“With DIY, the use of drills and chainsaws can lead to very severe injuries. You can half-amputate a limb with a chainsaw. Falling off a ladder doing DIY is another risk. Some people who do that die and some never work again,” said Dr. Cliff Mann, president of the College of Emergency Medicine in England, in an article for The Guardian.

If you're not used to this type of heavy machinery, it's best to not risk debilitating injury to save a few bucks.

Let's keep Utah's home-injury rates low by hiring professionals for dangerous household jobs, and make sure to contact Salt Lake Regional Medical Center immediately if you or a family member has an accident.

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