Avoid dodgy DIY disasters this bank holiday

If you're planning to use your extra day off this weekend to get stuck in to those DIY jobs you've been putting off, be careful.

Cutting corners and bodging jobs will cost you much more to have fixed than paying for the job to be done by a professional in the first place.

Ian Gough, 53, from Croydon recently learned this the hard way. He opted to change the wall fitting of a dimmer light switch to a normal switch himself after deciding a quote from an electrician was too high – at between £75 and £100.

However, he subsequently connected the wires wrongly, blew the fusebox, and had to pay £200 – twice as much as the original quote – to get an electrician to fix the problem.

DIY electrics can be particularly dangerous. Sean, an electrician from Southampton, recently discovered extremely dangerous electrics created by dodgy DIY at the home of an elderly lady.

Her late husband had installed the electrics in a new extension himself but did not earth them properly. Sean said this meant that metal parts around the house – for example the bath taps – had become potentially deadly conductors of electricity.

"There were numerous examples of overloaded cables and unprotected electrical junctions close to flammable materials, which could mean that if a fire was to occur it wouldn't be contained and could spread quickly."

It took three weeks for Sean to make the house safe, and the work cost £5,000.
In a recent survey by charity the Electrical Safety Council, 69% of people said they thought it was too expensive to pay an electrician to help with a DIY job. But at the same time, 82% of electricians said repairing failed DIY efforts costs the homeowner more overall.