​​UK Homeowners Can’t Perform Simple Household Tasks

A woman fixing a shelf to a wall with a drill
Author: Samuel Beckingham
Updated: Mar 22, 2023
4 minutes read

A recent survey of 2,000 adults throughout the UK has found that many people are scared of DIY jobs, even simple ones, or find themselves unable to change a light bulb. British Gas commissioned the research, which also found that 29% of people were unaware that they could lose out on money by using inefficient appliances. As an example, a washing machine labelled A+++ on the old energy label is much more efficient and cost-effective than one with only an A rating.

The importance of this survey was to highlight how putting off little jobs can make the situation worse further down the line. From people who don't trust their skills to those that are capable but keep putting it off, a lot of insight was provided.

Of the total people surveyed, 46% said they were able to hang a picture, while only 42% thought they were capable of changing a fuse. The highest percentage was found in those who could change a light bulb, but this was only 54%. Only 41% of people thought they could turn off the water supply. Despite the fact that you need to be aware of the location of stopcocks in case of a water leak, this is an incredibly low figure.

Confidence Levels in Household Tasks

On the lower end of the scale were 17% who said they could stop a dripping toilet, while only 11% thought they could also change a radiator. It doesn’t come as any surprise that 40% were scared of DIY jobs that involved gas and 38% thought the same about electricity. Perhaps this is what puts more people off simple tasks like changing light bulbs. Homes have been built with consumer units for a number of years now, allowing you to switch off power the specific areas of your home. This is one step you might take if you wish to change a light bulb.

Despite these small percentages, it’s important that people don’t overestimate their abilities. 37% of people surveyed tried a home DIY job only for it to go wrong. Within the past year, the statistics say it’s happened three times individually on average. If you’re not confident, it’s probably best to not attempt a repair, even if it’s cheaper than replacement. If something goes wrong, it could cost much more to rectify the issue than it would have been to have got a professional in the first place.

Small issues can sometimes lead to bigger repair jobs, and 20% had major issues with their home because of neglect in this matter. Despite at least 50% of those capable of their own DIY maintenance putting off these repairs, it’s important any issues aren’t left to get worse as you’ll end up suffering all the more for it.

When it came to common excuses for putting off jobs, the biggest ones came out as the following three:

  • Lack of time (45%)

  • Lack of funds (43%)

  • No enjoyment (37%)

Even so, almost half of people surveyed want to improve their home DIY repair capabilities this year. While 39% of people confess to not sticking to New Year’s resolutions, it would be interesting to see how many actually follow through with this goal. If you can’t do the job yourself, don’t delay - call a professional in before it gets any worse.

The rest of the jobs people don’t have confidence in doing themselves can be seen below. How many of these can you do (without making the problem worse)?

  1. Replacing a radiator

  2. Changing radiator valves

  3. Fixing a dripping toilet

  4. Placing loft insulation

  5. Maintaining the water pressure

  6. Changing a light bulb

  7. Putting in water pipe insulation

  8. Hanging a TV bracket

  9. Replacing a tumble dryer filter

  10. Hanging wallpaper

  11. Changing a plug socket

  12. Emptying the guttering

  13. Applying sealant around windows and doors

  14. Using the consumer unit

  15. Putting up a shelf

  16. Fixing a hole in the wall

  17. Switching off the mains gas

  18. Switching off the mains water supply

  19. Changing the settings on a boiler

  20. Changing the toilet seat

  21. Bleeding radiators

  22. Changing a fuse