This week I inspected a wood stove and chimney that was installed several years ago by a well intentioned and very nice older gentlemen. Unfortunately he got it wrong, very wrong. The chimney was installed upside down and had missing components. The stove was also installed too close to the wall and the black pipe was also installed upside down.  All this made for an unsafe heating appliance in my mind. The owner though it was very safe and claimed he never had an issue. Even the insurance company said it was great. My point is not to say the owner was negligent, as I am sure he was well intentioned as I said but when it comes to a life safety issues such as wood heat it is critical to get t right.

Many times I come across homeowner repairs and modifications to various components of the home. Some of the most dangerous are electrical. Other do it yourself jobs might include plumbing with black tape and caulking. While this is not a life safety issue it can cause a flood when things fly apart. Now don’t get me wrong on this, I am an advocate of do-it-your self. I personally have done all kinds of modifications over the years and have even made some mistakes that I later regretted. After all we learn the most from our mistakes. I just want to say that there is little excuse anymore for not understanding how to properly install or repair something in your home. There are tons of examples and step by step web pages that tackle almost anything you will ever come across. So do the research and get prepared mentally before you begin the job. Often it only takes a few minutes to read up on the right way to do it. Take your time and don’t be afraid to ask questions of people that have the answers. If you call someone for help and they don’t want to co-operate, move on to someone that does. It has been my experience that if you come across as someone that wants to do things properly, there are lots of people out there that are more then willing to guide you.  Lets be honest labour is not cheap and the more you can safely and knowledgably undertake yourself the more sweat equity you will have in your home.

Of course I do not recommend that you tackle jobs that require a journeymans status such as gas fitting. If the law allows you to do it yourself, why not. Just do it right the first time so inspectors like me don’t criticize it later on.