Four Jobs You Shouldn’t Try to DIY

San Rafael

(415) 942-6565

Santa Rosa

(707) 452-3464

Doing things yourself is a great source of pride. When it comes to fixing problems in your home, a DIY repair is a great way to both save money and give yourself the unrivaled satisfaction of improving your situation. However, attempting a DIY repair when you don’t have the skill, tools, or experience can prove costly. Not only can it make the problem worse, but in some instances, it could cause injury or even cause damage that costs a fortune to repair.

If you want to avoid making one of these costly mistakes, knowing when you’re in over your head is a great place to start. Here are four jobs that we have found the average person simply doesn’t have the skills or knowledge to do properly, meaning you should call a professional for help right away.

Water Heater Replacement

With the average tank-style water heater having a life expectancy of only around eight to ten years, there will very likely come a time when you have to replace your heater while you own your home. If you live in the same home for multiple decades, this may happen more than once. However, this is a big job that can be costly, so many DIY-ers look to save by doing the change themselves.

There are several reasons we always advise against this. First, the overwhelming majority of DIY water heater installations are done without obtaining the proper permits. Unpermitted installations throw up red flags when your home is inspected and could lead to a lot of extra money out of your pocket later on down the road. Second, most people don’t take the time to inspect the lines that feed water, electricity, and gas into the unit before simply hooking the new one up. In many cases, wear and tear make it prudent to replace these lines, and a professional will always take the time to check and replace them if the job calls for it. Finally, professionals are familiar with codes and requirements that make your water heater safer. An installation that isn’t up to building code could be dangerous should something happen like an earthquake or fire. The next time you need a new water heater, save yourself the headaches and call a professional to come out and take care of it for you.

Thermostat Replacement

Has your thermostat gone completely blank or stopped responding? There’s a good chance your problem is as simple as the battery in your unit dying. This is an easy fix, but if it doesn’t solve the problem then you should reach out to a professional for help. Thermostats are actually quite complex, particularly when it comes to the wiring that makes them work. Thermostats aren’t as simple as one or two wires—the average unit in the modern home will have several, and many modern units often include wireless connections too. One wrongly-connected wire could break your thermostat, or worse, damage your HVAC equipment that it’s hooked up to. Repairing damaged HVAC equipment can cost thousands, all because of a mistake that someone with better knowledge and experience may have known to avoid.

The next time you need your thermostat replaced, leave it to a professional to ensure the job is done right. A professional will also help you with jobs like thermostat calibration, ensuring that your indoor temperature readings are accurate.

Air Conditioner & Heater Repairs

Air conditioners and heating equipment are incredibly complex pieces of equipment. While it may be easy to look up how they work, diagnosing your problem isn’t something the average person is equipped to handle. What you think might be the problem could actually just be one symptom of an even bigger issue, and most DIY repairs don’t address this larger problem.

To make matters even more complex, spare parts are often difficult for the average person to locate and order. While most home improvement warehouses will include things like new lengths of pipe or fittings for plumbing repairs, air conditioning and heating parts are a lot more specific, and in some cases completely proprietary. Finding these parts can be a huge pain if you don’t know where to look, take a ton of time to show up in the mail, and may not even be right for your system. You’re better off calling a professional who probably has the parts you need in their company’s stock warehouse and has the knowledge, tools, and experience to make sure they are addressing the true problem for you.

Ductless AC Installation

Ductless HVAC systems are growing rapidly in popularity, and you can find them in an increasing number of stores. Home improvement warehouses, online stores like eBay and Amazon, and even specialized online retailers are just a few places where you can buy a unit for yourself. While this may seem convenient (especially if shipping is free), the hard part is getting the installation done properly. How do you know exactly where to mount your indoor unit? How should you set up an outdoor unit (for mini-split systems)? Where should you drill a hole to allow lines to pass inside and outside? How should you wire your unit into your home’s electrical system?

A skilled installation technician can take care of all of these variables for you. The average homeowner usually makes an attempt at an installation, but ultimately gives up after a while and then calls a pro out to finish the job. In reality, it would have likely been far more economical to allow them to do the job from start to finish. We encourage you not to make the same mistake.

Looking for professional help with your project? Leave the job to John Owens Services and make sure it gets done right the first time! Call us now to schedule your appointment.

Need Help?

We’re open Monday – Friday 7:30am – 5:30pm, call today or schedule online now!

Serving Marin & Sonoma Counties

Good plumbing, heating, and air conditioning systems are vital in every North California home. John Owens Services, Inc. is proud to be the expert plumbing company you can count on

The John Owens Way

Our philosophy is simple, we always want to maintain equipment to give it the longest life possible. Next, we want to focus on repairing when something goes wrong. Then only as the last choice, we replace equipment when needed. That’s the John Owens Way.

San Rafael
(415) 942-6565
Santa Rosa
(707) 452-3464



Regular maintenance keeps your home’s systems running well all year long. We’ll help you gain efficiency and save money.



When something breaks down, our team will get to you fast. We’ll find the problem and fix it to get you back to normal.



When it’s time to replace something in your home, we’ll help you get a top quality product that matches your specific needs.
San Rafael
(415) 942-6565
Santa Rosa
(707) 452-3464