Millions of Brits are turning to the internet for help and advice about home improvements and DIY. And the internet is happy to oblige – there are more than three million videos about domestic DIY on YouTube alone, and websites such as ours are full to the brim with advice about how to deal with a range of domestic issues.
In fact, research by Electrical Safety First revealed that at least 21 million adults in the UK would carry out home improvements by following online videos despite not having the necessary experience.
But these DIY projects can turn into DIY disasters, with the organisation finding that one in sixteen people have “significantly” damaged their home or have had to shell out for costly repairs after following DIY advice online and messing up the job.
Furthermore, one-quarter of adults said they had come across incorrect or unhelpful DIY advice on the internet, and this large amount of low-quality material could pose a serious risk to people’s safety – nearly half of all serious electrical shocks are caused by DIY accidents.
Electrical Safety First also expressed concern at some of the DIY help and advice available on the internet. For instance, when adults were asked what electrical home improvement tasks adults they would feel confident performing with the help of online advice, rewiring a home and fitting a new bathroom were among the top-five most common responses. However, these are complicated tasks, with property law requiring this electrical work to be either undertaken or checked by a Part P registered electrician.
The organisation offered the following DIY safety tips:
- If a job seems too complicated for you to attempt yourself, it likely will be – get in touch with a professional to save time and trouble
- Use RCD protection for electrical DIY. RCDs, which can be in fuse-boxes or bought as a plug-in – these will cut out the power if an accident happens and could save you from a life-threatening electrical shock
- Visit the Electric Safety First DIY page when in doubt about performing electrical work
- Always use Registered Competent Electricians
Electrical Safety First spokesperson Emma Apter said “not everyone” has the experience and knowledge needed to perform electrical tasks, and online advice cannot always provide all the necessary information needed to do these jobs.
She said people should ask themselves, “If I have to Google this, should I really be doing it?”
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