Getting to the root of the matter

By The West Virginia Record | Sep 8, 2015

You can save a lot of money by doing it yourself, provided you know how.

You can save a lot of money by doing it yourself, provided you know how.

If you're a jack-of-all-trades, DIY is easy for you.

If, on the other hand, you're an ordinary person and you don't know how – or you're accident-prone or unwilling to read the instructions first – trying to do it yourself can wind up being very expensive, even dangerous.

It's penny-wise and pound-foolish to try to save a few bucks by doing it yourself if you later have to pay a plumber, an electrician, or a carpenter a small fortune to clean up the mess you made.

Nevertheless, nowadays, with so much practical information readily available on the internet, even a person who doesn't know how can soon find out. Step-by-step videos posted by equipment manufacturers or self-help gurus may explain even the most arcane and complex procedures.

Five years ago, for instance, General Pipe Cleaners posted an eight-and-a-half-minute video on Youtube giving detailed instructions on the proper use of its Easy Rooter Power Drain Cleaner. The video shows and tells precisely how to use the Easy Rooter to clear pipes draining waste water from your house to the street or a septic tank.

Though it offers “a general overview of the operating instructions and safety procedures for using the Easy Rooter,” the video recommends asking rental dealers for “a complete list of safety procedures” and warns that “serious personal injury” may result from misuse of the machine.

Michael Frantz of Terra Alta rented an Easy Rooter from Naylor's Ace Hardware in Kingwood in 2013 and was severely shocked when he tried using it while it was plugged into an ungrounded outlet in his garage. Now, two years later, he's suing Ace Hardware and A.D. Naylor & Co. in Preston Circuit Court.

Frantz says someone at the store should have told him how to use the Easy Rooter. On the other hand, he could have asked – or looked it up online.

Now the courts will have to decide if the complaint is well grounded.

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