A few basic DIY skills can save every homeowner quite a bit of money. Here are a few things that every homeowner should know how to do and a few tips on how to tell when it’s best to call in a professional.
Turn Off The Main Water Line
Many homeowners have no idea where the main water line is or how to shut it off. This is very important in cases of emergency; such as a burst pipe or other water leaks.
Your water shut-off valve could look like an outside tap or a lever. Depending on your home, it may be in your basement, crawl space, or the concrete slab your home rests on.
Shutting off the water is usually simple. If your home has a round wheel handle, turn it clockwise until it closes fully. If it’s a lever, simply push the lever handle down so that is perpendicular to the pipe that it is attached to.
Open your tub faucet fully to relieve pressure and drain the water from the lines. Then open all other faucets in your home to drain the remaining water.
Reset Your Circuit Breaker or Replace a Fuse
If your home is without power, the first step is to check your circuit breaker panel or fuse box. Locate it before there’s a problem. Look for a box with fuses or switches in the basement, laundry room, garage, or closets – it’s typically rectangular in shape, gray in color, and mounted on an exterior wall.
Most times a power outage is just a blown fuse or a tripped breaker. You can spot a blown fuse by looking for a broken wire or cloudy glass. Just unscrew it and replace it with a new one. If your home uses circuit breakers instead, it’s even easier – just look for the breaker that is pushed a bit more to the “off” position than the others. To reset it and restore power, just flip it all the way to the off position and back to the on position. If the breaker will not stay on or if there’s an unusual smell, there’s a bigger problem and you’ll need to call an electrician.
Fix a Running Toilet
Water constantly trickling through your toilet not only drives you crazy – it also increases your water bill substantially. The most common cause of a running toilet is a worn flapper valve.
The flapper valve is a rubber seal that lifts when you flush the toilet to let water flow into the bowl and drops to let the tank refill. However, over time flapper valves wear out and no longer seal properly. Fortunately, changing a flapper value is a quick, inexpensive repair that any homeowner can tackle.
To make the fix, turn off your water supply to the tank. Remove the worn part and take it with you to the home improvement center to find a match. Removing the flapper valve is a simple procedure. Replace it with the new one and it should solve your problem.
Fix a Squeaky Door
Fixing a squeaky usually only requires lubricant. Use either lithium grease or WD-40 and lubricate the top and bottom hinges. Wipe away excess and move the door back and forth to work the lubricant between the metal parts.
Adjust Modern Cabinet Doors
If your home has newer cabinets, it’s a very simple process to adjust the doors. Doors go out of alignment from use and moisture. Fortunately, most cabinet doors have hinges you can adjust up and down and closer and farther apart with a screwdriver.
Plunge a Toilet
Toilet clogs are easy to remedy with a proper toilet plunger. A toilet plunger has an extended rubber flange that fits into the toilet bowl drain, unlike a kitchen plunger with just a rubber dome.
Place the plunger in the drain and ensure water covers the top of the rubber. If you need more water, pour it in from a container. Do not flush as this could cause your toilet to overflow! Push the plunger down forcefully so the rubber dome deflates. When you release the plunger, it creates a vacuum in the drain. Repeat until you free the clog. You’ll often hear a “whoosh” when you do so.
Reduce Household Dust
Keeping dust levels low in your home improves air quality and helps your furnace, air conditioner and appliances work more efficiently. Changing the filter on your furnace or air conditioner is simple to do. Remove it, record the part number or dimensions, or take it with you when you go to buy a replacement.
Clean your dryer vent, bathroom exhaust fan grills, air registers, and the coils on the back of your refrigerator regularly too.
Always assess your skills before you attempt repairs. If you don’t have the expertise, hire a professional. Projects that involve electrical lines or natural gas are definitely best left to the pros. You might want to consider using a plumber for major work, too, since water can cause extensive damage if you do not do the work properly, and it doesn’t always appear immediately.