Rental maintenance jobs – no matter the circumstances – that should be left to a maintenance professional is the maintenance checkup from Keepe this week.
Fixing a paint job yourself that didn’t turn out right is one thing. However having to pay thousands of dollars for repairing the structural damages that resulted from a poorly done plumbing, electrical or HVAC job is another.
Leaving these maintenance projects to a professional will make what you spend worth the peace of mind and safety you’ll get in return.
No. 1 – Hands-on Electrical Work
Repairing or re-configuring wiring is not do-it-yourself project. You might change a lightbulb or even install a new light fixture – maybe. But there is a reason why electricians charge higher rates. They have to go through extensive professional training to prepare for safely tackling wiring repairs. A property’s wiring/electrical configuration can be made unique by different electrical work being done throughout the years. This makes “one size fits all” procedures that are advertised online completely useless. The main risk of attempting electrical work yourself is being shocked or starting a fire. Both potentially deadly side effects to handling wiring without experience. Also doing it yourself can risk creating further damage that requires more extensive, and pricier, repairs down the road.
No. 2 – Gas Appliances
Working on gas appliances implies handling hazardous materials and facing potentially deadly side effects. Gas furnaces, ovens, water heaters or dryers should only be worked on by professionals. Turning off the gas while working on them is not a sufficient precaution. Gas leaks can easily be created by a poorly done project or reassembly. That could expose your rental home to a leak that could cause carbon monoxide poisoning, or worse, an actual explosion.
No. 3 – HVAC
Our HVAC professionals strongly encourage property owners and tenants to stick to the basics. That means changing filters and cleaning around vents. Let the professionals handle anything more serious or complicated. Air conditioning and furnace repairs affect the air quality within a property. Poorly installed or maintained equipment can reduce efficiency and inflate. It can also be the root cause of respiratory infections and problems for those living and breathing in the property. Just like electrical professionals, HVAC professionals are required to undergo specialized training. That training allows them to obtain special licenses that legally allow them to work with certain materials. When refrigerants are concerned, one would not be complying with the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) regulations by working on air conditioning as a do-it-yourselfer.
No. 4 – Plumbing
That clogged drain might have been a piece of cake to work on. However major plumbing projects like re-routing existing plumbing or spot-fixing a leak is a whole different story. Water damage is extremely costly to repair. Even a small leak can be the culprit behind a plumbing-related emergency that costs a property thousands of dollars in damages.
No. 5. – Chimney Sweeps
Chimneys require regular cleanings/chimney sweeps to clear combustion buildups that could cause fires or restrict adequate air flow, which degrades the air quality within the property and can potentially cause severe breathing problems. Our experts encourage scheduling a yearly inspection to ensure everything is in adequate working condition. The actual inspection and cleanup involve working closely to toxic fumes and flammables, which only a professional is safely equipped for.
No 6 – Structural Alterations
Do not demo existing walls to “open up the space” like you see on TV. Demolishing a wall that might not only be bearing, but also encasing other circuits and piping, will permanently damage a property’s systems and potentially cause major, long-lasting structural damages. Additionally, official permits are generally needed to move forward with structural alterations, which is why working with a professional is always best.
No. 7 – Pest Extermination
Over-the-counter products, traps and gadgets are rarely ever enough to guarantee the successful extermination of an established pest colony. Those solutions result in a “surface clearing” without actually affecting nests and nearby populations. Stronger chemicals should be handled by a professional as they are extremely toxic to humans. Professional exterminators will be able to assess the characteristics of a property and treat the area in the most effective way. They are trained in the safe handling of chemicals and products.
No. 8 – Siding Installation
Most people attempting the installation of siding by themselves are trying to save money. Our experts warn that poorly secured siding can allow for harsh weather to strip it off and/or for moisture to penetrate underneath. That can damage the frame of the home and thus require repairs that are vastly more expensive than what having a professional doing the installation costs.
No 9 – Tiling
Tiling is one of those projects that is not as dramatically high-risk when it comes to DIY. However it is important to keep in mind that a botched job will still come with unwanted strings attached. A well-done tiling job will require extremely precise measuring and planning. Subtle inaccuracies in tiling placement can still account for a visibly uneven finished product, not to mention that cutting tiles as needed requires even more precision and special tools. Tiling for moisture-prone areas (showers, backsplashes, and bathroom floors) needs to be properly insulated and waterproof. If this is not done, water can seep under and cause severe damage.
No. 10 – Tree Trimming & Removal
For older/taller/larger trees, trimming and removal is a delicate process that involves dangerous power tools and likely working at a high point off the ground. Hiring trained professionals is the best available option for projects of this kind.
In the last few years, TV, magazines and famous personalities have fueled a “do it yourself” (“DIY”) craze that has left many viewers itching to test their hand at home improvement projects. DIY-ing is definitely a fun and creative outlet, and leaves many feeling empowered and proud after successfully beautifying and/or personalizing their rental homes. Many also view DIY as a way to save money: a quick search on Google or Youtube will harbor hundreds of “step-by-step” guides that outline how to complete almost every possible project for your home. So remember, it is important when important, critical maintenance is concerned to hire a professional to do the job right the first time.
Other recent rental property maintenance Keepe posts you may have missed:
Keepe is an on-demand maintenance solution for property managers and independent landlords. The company makes hundreds of independent contractors and handymen available for maintenance projects at rental properties. Keepe is available in the Greater Seattle area, Portland, Phoenix, San Francisco Bay and San Diego areas.