Top Tips for Staying Safe When Repairing Your Home
Doing basic home repairs can offer a feeling of satisfaction and accomplishment, but you won’t feel that way if your day of repairs ends with a trip to the emergency room. Here, we offer some tips on the proper selection and use of tools, and some ways to prevent injury.
The saying “You get what you pay for” is especially true with tools. You don’t have to buy the most expensive choice on the shelf, but low cost goes hand-in-hand with lower value. Try to find higher-quality home repair tools on sale or at a discount. It’s important to use those tools correctly, too; you might be tempted to use a screwdriver in place of a chisel, but it will only end up breaking the tool and hurting you.
You should always wear safety equipment when working with power tools or filing, sanding or sawing something. Choose wraparound safety glasses to keep flying particles from getting into your eyes. Power tools can be damaging to your hearing when they’re used for a long time, so earplugs may be in order as well. Once you’ve bought good tools and learned more about their proper use, you’ll need to maintain them regularly to keep yourself safe.
Like we said, quality comes at a price—thankfully, tools can last many years if they’re maintained properly. Below you’ll find some tips on taking care of your tools:
- Protect them from excess moisture. Periodically oil metal parts, wrap them up, or keep mothballs in your toolbox for absorption.
- Cover hacksaw blades when not in use, and store circular blades in reinforced shipping envelopes.
Stepladders make a lot of jobs easier, and if you don’t own one you should buy a high-quality one. Most ladders are made of aluminum or wood; depending on their quality both are generally reliable. Aluminum ladders are lighter and easier to move, and they’re available in every weight rating. Choose a ladder with plastic or rubber “feet” so it won’t skid on a hard floor.
If you’re painting a ceiling or a high wall, you might find yourself making frequent trips up and down the ladder. It’s easier to buy another ladder of the same height and place two 2 x 8’ boards between the two ladders, creating a bridge you can walk across. Don’t forget to fasten the ends of the 2 x 8s to the ladder with C-clamps. Here are some other ladder safety tips:
- Always open the ladder to its widest position, locking the braces on each side and pulling down the shelf.
- Always climb and descend the ladder facing it and holding onto the rungs or side rails.
- Climb no higher than the second rung from the top, and NEVER stand/sit on the shelf or the top of the ladder.
- Lock doors if you’re working in front of them.
- Put paint cans and trays on the shelf before you ascend the ladder, and don’t climb with things in your pockets or hand.
Safe Electrical Work
Electricity makes our lives easier, but it can also be harmful. Don’t work on live electrical circuits; take out the fuse, unplug it, or throw the circuit breaker before starting. NEVER touch a charged capacitor, and use only equivalent parts when replacing them. Check wiring for stress or damage, repairing any with fasteners, wire nuts or electrical tape.
It can be very satisfying to do your own home repairs, but it can also be dangerous. Using some common sense and following the tips above will help you tackle most projects with confidence and safety.
Guest piece from Amy Fowler for Vibrant Doors, suppliers of internal and external doors. Find out more at vibrantdoors.co.uk.