There’s no denying YouTube is a mine of useful information. Do you know it’s the world’s second most popular search engine? Top of the tree is Google, of course.
Millions of people from all around the world visit YouTube every single day. A lot of the time looking for how-to videos. I do it myself. I’m sure you’ve done it too.
But there’s a problem, or at least a potential problem – what if the person in the video has no idea what they’re doing and you blindly follow their instructions? Could you be setting yourself up for a fall?
Take a quick look at this video, which demonstrates how easy it is for things to go wrong if you are not careful or fully aware of what you are doing when it comes to DIY around the home.
Did you laugh out loud? Me too.
I know some of the clips were staged for You’ve Been Framed, but still, the video shows how easily accidents happen.
Electrical Safety First is running a campaign to highlight the dangers of DIY, especially when following the advice of non-experts who post ‘how-to’ videos on YouTube or answer threads in forums. It’s a campaign we wholeheartedly endorse.
Here’s a couple of short, light-hearted promotional clips for the Don’t Die for DIY campaign. The character’s a bit of a numtpy called Mike Power.
Think it’s unlikely to happen? Think again.
Not all advice online leads you in the wrong direction. Some of it is very useful and absolutely correct. It’s down to you to figure out if it fits your situation and your skill-set, and if you think the advice is bogus or trustworthy.
One thing I suggest you never mess with, unless you know what you are doing, is electricity.
Here’s a few tips from the Electrical Safety First website which you should bear in mind when dealing with DIY and electrics in your home:
- If something looks too complicated to try yourself, it probably is. You could save a lot of time and hassle by getting a professional in.
- When doing electrical DIY make sure you have RCD protection, either in your fuse-box or as a plug-in. An RCD is a life-saving device that cuts out power if there’s an accident and can help prevent an electric shock.
- If you have any doubts about the type of electrical DIY you should or shouldn’t be doing, visit www.electricalsafetyfirst.org.uk/DIY for more advice.
- Always use a registered electrician. Visit http://www.electricalcompetentperson.co.uk/ to find one in your area.
I can’t emphasise enough the importance of getting trustworthy advice before undertaking tasks around the home you are not confident about, and double-checking all the information you’ve found online before starting a job.
The infographic below highlights the resources people use to find information. Perhaps surprisingly, B&Q and other hardware stores are very low on the list, yet some of the people working in these places have a lot of first-hand experience of DIY and the building trade, and will often give you good tips, so don’t be afraid of asking.
If you need a tradesman, the best place to find one is through your own social network. In other words, ask your friends and family for recommendations. If that doesn’t work, check on site such as Rated People or Checkatrade.
Local classifieds are a good option too. There’s always tradesmen advertising in local papers, the only downside is you don’t know who they are and you can’t always trust a slick-looking website.
Remember, if you are not sure what you are doing, get help from somebody who does – don’t die for DIY!
Source: DIY infographic from Electrical Safety First.