Broken pipes and leaky faucets are a pain, but they don’t have to be a drain on your wallet. Quite the contrary, there are a handful of home repairs that can be done without the help of a pricey professional. So, the next time something around the house needs fixing, consider doing the project on your own. If you’re able to, you’ll stand to save yourself some serious dough.
1. Unclog a jammed garbage disposal
Garbage disposals aren’t as bulletproof as some folks think. Corncobs and avocado pits, for instance, are better off going straight into the trashcan. When your disposal does get clogged — because at some point, it will — follow these steps before resorting to a pro.
First, make sure you’ve turned off the power to the disposal. Then, insert a long tool, such as a dowel or a wooden spoon, into the opening of the drain. Push your tool against the blade, rocking it front to back. Hopefully, that should do the trick, and things will be freed up. If so, be sure to give it about 15 minutes before turning the power back on, and then push the reset button.
Next: Incessant dripping will drive anyone crazy.
2. Fix a leaking faucet
A leaking faucet is just about an irritating as it gets, which is why most folks want to fix it ASAP. If your sink needs fixing, you may need to get your hands on some replacement parts, which will require a little homework on your end.
Stopping spout drips all depends on what type of single-lever faucet you have — rotary ball, cartridge, or ceramic disc. If you’re feeling up for the challenge, check out this step-by-step guide to find out where to start.
Next: A properly working toilet is crucial.
3. Repair the broken toilet handle
Having a working toilet is a basic necessity. Without a properly functioning flusher, you’re basically a sitting duck. But don’t fret, because there’s an easy solution if and when this happens to you. To fix a broken toilet lever, you’ll first need to remove the top of the reservoir. Then, unhook the chain from the handle. Loosen the mounting nut that connects the handle to the inside of the tank, and remove the old handle. Finally, screw the new handle in, and be sure to attach it to the chain.
Next: One more toilet issue coming up.
4. Unclog the toilet
Toilets get clogged, it’s just a fact of life. Next time it happens to you, give it the old college try before calling the plumber to bail you out. The first step is to grab a plunger. If there’s not much water in the toilet bowl, pour some in before giving the plunger a few good thrusts.
If you’ve given it your all, and it’s still not clearing up, you may need to invest in a toilet auger. When it’s auger time, you’ll run the device into the toilet until it reaches the clog. Then, turn the crank, and the clog should be set free.
Next: Doing this task yourself is a total no-brainer.
5. Caulk the tub
So, yeah, caulking gone bad — as in dirty and dingy — happens to every bathroom at some point, so don’t feel bad about the state of your tub. Turns out, you just need to show your tub a little TLC. And never, we repeat never, call an expert for this menial task, unless of course you’re super unsure of your skills. However, if you’ve passed kindergarten art class, you can probably re-caulk a bathtub. All you need to do is grab yourself some caulking product and a gun, and have at it — keeping within the lines, of course.
Next: Clogged drains are just the worst.
6. Unclog drains
Clogged drains got you down? Don’t worry, there’s a fix for that, too. Grab a pot of boiling water, and dump it down the drain. Then, follow it up with 1/2 cup of baking soda. Once you’ve let that sit for a few minutes, combine 1 cup vinegar and 1 cup hot water. Pour that mixture on top of the baking soda, cover the drain, and let it sit. After about 10 minutes, dump one more pot of boiling water, and voila. You should be all set.
Next: When tiles crack, there’s a relatively easy fix.
7. Fix cracked floor tile
Considering tile flooring, back splashes, and even counter tops are mostly in kitchens and bathrooms, it’s no wonder that these areas see a lot of traffic. This traffic, of course, can cause tiles to crack or break. When this inevitably happens to you, don’t worry, there’s an easy fix.
If you think you can get away with it, you can first try applying matching paint. However, this may look rather unappealing, so you may need to replace the tile altogether. If that’s the case, you’ll need to break the tile, and get a new one. Once you’ve removed the broken tile, simply replace it with the new one using adhesive and grout.
Next: A tile isn’t the only thing that can get cracked.
8. Repair driveway cracks
Your driveway sees a whole lot of wear and tear, and that wear and tear most often comes in the form of cracks in the asphalt. Luckily, there’s an easy solution. All you need to do is thoroughly clean out the crack, and get your hands on some special asphalt crack-filler.
Next: Garage doors don’t last forever.
9. Replace garage door rollers
A stuck or noisy garage door doesn’t necessarily mean you need to replace the entire thing. In fact, you may be surprised by how simple a fix it is. To get started, you’ll need new garage door rollers, a clamp, pliers, a large flat head screwdriver, a prybar, and a partner who’s willing to give you a hand. Follow this step-by-step guide, and you’ll be well on your way to a working garage door in no time.
Next: Walls can really take a beating.
10. Repair damaged wall spots
With all the picture-hanging and doorknob-slamming, walls are bound to get a handful of holes along the way. But in most cases, this is something you can do yourself, without any outside help. The first step? Slapping on some spackle. After it’s dried, sand it down so it seamlessly meshes with the surrounding area.
Next: Drafty windows are never good.
11. Seal the windows
For this one, it all depends on what you’re going for. Are you after weather-proofing your windows for the winter, or something a bit more permanent? Once you’ve answered that question, finding a solution that fits your needs should be relatively easy. Your fix may require a special sealing product, or even something as simple as nail polish.
Next: Wood can be delicate, but patching up holes is possible.
12. Fix a stripped hole in wood
A stripped hole in wood can be a real eyesore, but it doesn’t have to stay that way forever. First, you’ll want to drill out the hole with a bigger screw. After that, you’ll need some carpenter’s glue, and oddly enough, a golf tee. Essentially, you’ll just be creating a larger hole than the original one, and then refilling it with some new supplies. Simple as that.
Next: Wallpaper is so last year.
13. Remove old wallpaper
Removing wallpaper in one smooth step isn’t always an option, but still, it needs to be removed somehow. For starters, take a scraper to a corner of a seam, and get underneath a piece of it. If it starts peeling easily, lucky you — you should be able to peel it off in sheets. If you’re not so lucky, you may need to create a liquid mixture, and let it soak on the stuck-on wallpaper. Still having trouble? Give your steamer a shot.
Next: You may be able to fix a leaky pipe yourself.
14. Fix a leaky pipe
Depending on how big of a leak your pipe has sprung, you may be able to get away with a quick fix. While some leaking pipes do indeed require a professional, others aren’t all too serious, and doing it yourself is an option. For instance, you can get a patch kit at the hardware store, or even make your own using some heavy rubber and a C-clamp. However, if this still doesn’t do the trick, it may be time to call in the experts.
Next: Lights out? There’s a fix for that.
15. Replace a light switch
If a light switch isn’t working, you’ll have to use a screwdriver to remove the light switch cover. Once you’ve done that, you should be able to access the wiring behind it. From there, you’ll need to do some rewiring, which will depend on what kind of light switch you’re working with. Still confused? No problem, here’s an easy-to-follow guide on how it all breaks down.