5 Signs It’s Time to Call in a Professional

There’s no shame in calling on a pro. Learn how to recognize the signs for when a home repair goes beyond a DIY job.

Photo: The Home Depot

You might think of yourself as pretty handy around the house. You can build your own shed foundation, you’ve mastered all the major woodworking joints, and you can even pour a concrete countertop. But knowing what you can’t do is sometimes just as important as what you can do. Attempting to fix certain things yourself, when you have no experience with the task at hand, can be a frustrating fool’s errand at best or downright dangerous at worst.

When you need reinforcements—like trained experts in a specific field—it’s time to call Home Services from The Home Depot. Yes, the same store you go to for all your hardware, tools, and lumber. In addition to all the experienced staffers who work the floor on a daily basis, The Home Depot also partners with local, vetted professionals with decades’ worth of on-the-job knowledge. The Home Depot can help with more than 400 different Home Services—including all the jobs you can’t or shouldn’t tackle yourself. When should you turn to these pros? It depends on your level of handiness, but these are five times you definitely shouldn’t go the DIY route.

1. Your water heater is on the fritz.

It doesn’t take a pro to recognize when a water heater is malfunctioning. A puddle around the tank, a lack of hot water, or noticeable water quality issues in the house are signs that something is not right. But before you grab your toolbox to handle the repair on your own, pay attention to the warning stickers all over the tank. Tinker with things yourself and you could void your warranty, cause a combustion, or have an issue with carbon monoxide.

Fortunately, one of The Home Depot’s water heater installers can usually come out to see you right away. Get matched with their licensed, insured, and background-checked pros by filling out a brief questionnaire to help identify the problem and pick three preferred dates and times for an at-home visit. Same-day water heater installation is available during the week in most locations if you request service before noon and live within 30 miles of a Home Depot store. And all water heater installation services are backed with a one-year warranty on parts and labor.

2. Your air conditioner can’t maintain its set temperature.

The AC being unable to keep its set temperature could be an indicator for a range of problems. It might just be that the filter needs to be changed or it could mean something more severe, like wearing internal components or a refrigerant leak. If cleaning or replacing the filter doesn’t work then you should call in a pro for an HVAC check up. In fact, even if the filter was the problem, you should still have your HVAC inspected every spring and fall.

A routine tune-up, which can be done by a pro at The Home Depot, can check and measure critical components like voltage, refrigerant levels, airflow, and all sorts of things that only a qualified professional knows to look for and repair. “This is primarily preventative, but the experts can find things that are starting to degrade, so you can fix them before they become a real problem,” says Viviane Essex, the National Install Merchant for HVAC Systems at The Home Depot. Just like getting your annual physical, the idea is to have regular maintenance so your HVAC performs comfortably, safely, and efficiently—and so don’t find yourself with an unexpected breakdown when it’s 90 degrees outside.

If a problem does arise, you’ll know it. Your system could either be constantly running or constantly turning on and off. It could also be making funny noises, emitting a strange smell, or failing to actually keep you comfortable. A Home Depot pro can come out and identify the issue. The Home Depot Diagnostic fee covers the travel time to inspect your system and adequately diagnose the problem—any needed repairs will be quoted for your approval before work starts—and if work is required, it’s all backed with a 90-day guarantee.

Photo: The Home Depot

3. Your garage door randomly changes direction.

Garage doors (and their openers) are surprisingly complex, so it’s generally best to call a pro when any fixing is needed. (It’s not worth risking having the whole thing fall down on your car or not being able to open it when you’re already running late for work.) Through The Home Depot’s Garage Door & Opener Repair Services, a licensed, insured, and vetted pro will come and inspect your garage door, and most repairs can be completed during the same visit. If there are bigger changes to be made, your pro can make specific recommendations.

4. There’s condensation on your windows.

“You should never see condensation on the inside of your windows,” says Karla Thompson, the Merchant for Windows and Doors at The Home Depot. “If you can see a rubber seal that’s dropped down between the glass in the window, that’s another sign it’s time to check those windows because it means that the gas that was in there to prevent heat exchange or cold exchange is no longer in there.” There’s nothing you can do in these cases, other than replace your windows. The silver lining is that new windows can make your home more energy efficient and save you money on your utility bill.

You can easily get these new windows through The Home Depot. Sign up for a free consultation (either in person or virtually) and a pro will walk you through your options. The consultant will be able to recommend pocket installation versus full-frame window installation, suggest the best type of glass based on your home’s location, take all the measurements, order the windows, and handle every step of the process. All of The Home Depot’s window replacement and installation services come with a robust and competitive warranty.

5. You need a fence installed.

Never underestimate how much work it is to install a fence on your own. It’s incredibly time intensive and requires demanding, physical labor. If your yard has rocky terrain or any sort of changes in elevation, that only adds to the job. Professionals not only have years of experience to pull from, they also usually come with a team.

The Home Depot’s professional fence installers have earned more than 4,500 verified 5-star reviews. And it couldn’t be easier to start (and finish!) the job. Sign up to get a free, no-obligation quote, choosing from all sorts of customizations, styles, and materials (wood, vinyl, metal, composite, or something else). Your pro will secure any and all necessary permits, install your fence, and clean up and dispose of any job-related debris. They’ll even do a final walk through with you to wrap up the job.

The Home Depot is licensed and stands behind our installation work. Learn more here.

This content is paid advertising created in partnership with The Home Depot. Its facts and opinions are those of BobVila.com.