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Safety Guidelines for Do-It-Yourself Home Improvement Projects

The prospect of diving into a long-awaited home improvement project is extremely
exciting, especially if you plan to do most of the work yourself. While you may have
the skills and technical knowledge to complete the upgrade with confidence, this is
no excuse for eschewing common sense and basic safety precautions. Before you begin,
take a few moments to read over these practical safety guidelines for home
improvement projects.

Before you begin, identify which tools and equipment are needed to complete each
step of the project. Once you have gathered these things, carefully inspect each
item to ensure that it is fully functional and does not show any signs of excessive
wear and tear. Regardless of the overall degree of difficulty, no job is easy to
complete without reliable, operational tools. Never use tools that are broken, bent
out of shape, have exposed wiring or have missing pieces; your success and safety
depend on these things.

It's natural to feel proud of yourself for committing to a project without the help
of a professional, but never undertake a risky or hazardous step alone. Accidents do
happen; a snafu may not be your fault, but does that really matter if your health
and well-being are endangered? Enlisting the help of another person is a good idea
no matter who you are, or what you are trying to achieve.

You may have the right tools for the job and a good idea of what needs to be done,
but proper safety equipment is an absolute must. Even the most experienced
contractors wouldn't dream of starting without first outfitting themselves with the
appropriate protective gear. Your needs may vary depending upon the type of upgrades
you plan to undertake, but a few key pieces are universally useful. These include
protective eye covering, durable gloves and thick-soled work boots. Other pieces to
consider are head coverings, face masks and possibly ear plugs.

After you've successfully powered through the first few steps of your project, it's
natural to be reluctant to accept that you've come up against a roadblock. If
financial factors are the driving force in making the decision to tackle the project
yourself, you might be loathe to call in a professional contractor to finish the
job. If this happens, you should consider the consequences of moving forward
unprepared; there is a very real possibility that you could do irreparable damage.
In fact, you may ultimately incur greater costs trying to fix your mistakes than you
would have paid otherwise.

Things can get rather hectic during a major remodel or upgrade, but it is important
to always maintain control of your working area. Paint cans, wires, toolboxes and
step-stools should be kept near the perimeter of the space and you should have a
path with at least 12 inches of clearance on either side. Extension cords, wires and
ropes should be coiled and contained when not in use. Putting tools and equipment in
the proper place after use takes only a few moments and goes a long way in
preventing trips and falls.

If your renovation of choice involves faucets, sinks, pipes or water heaters, you
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must remember to cut off all water before beginning. Failure to do so may cause an
unsafe condition as water pressure slowly increases within your pipes. Plumbing
safety measures also require you to inspect the area in which you will be working to
ensure that there are no hazards posed by exposed wiring or electrical outlets. If
you encounter an unexpected leak or spray, you are in danger of electrocution.

You probably already have a clear vision of how your project will look when all is
said and done, and it's safe to say that that picture includes yourself with your
health and well-being fully intact. After completion you will have all the time in
the world to sit back and enjoy the fruits of your labor, but only if you approach
it in a safe and rational way.

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