Do It Yourself Home Repair
Do it yourself home repair! Simple, common-sense tips on doing minor household repairs inexpensively without calling in a professional.
Most minor household repairs do not require a professional; just common sense and basic tools. Every home-dweller should own the following: a plunger, two screwdrivers - flat (actually, in a pinch, an everyday butter knife can substitute for a flathead screwdriver) and Phillips (the x-shaped head) head and a pair of pliers and keep on hand: a spray can of household oil (WD-40), drain cleaner, and superglue. I strongly recommend investing in a drill (either rechargeable or electric). Not only can you use a drill for its intended purpose, i.e., drilling holes for cable and telephone lines, shelving or cabinets, but it can also be used as an electric screwdriver. Your man hours will be cut in half when putting together (or taking apart) furniture, gas grills, and even bicycles if you use an electric drill instead of an old-fashioned, manual screwdriver.
While it may seem like common sense, if your sink or toilet is overflowing, there is no need to call a plumber. Nine times out of ten, a good plunging is all that is needed. In the case of a stopped-up sink, plunge until the water starts to drain. Usually it will drain slowly at first, but with repeated plunging the flow will return to normal. If the sink is still slow, add some drain cleaner before you go to bed. In the morning, run some hot water for a minute or two and the sink will be as good as new. Also, for those who live in the colder climates and have experienced frozen pipes, trying running hot water to "unfreeze". Do this slowly as you don't want the pipe to overflow. If the hot water does not warm the pipe, pour a few teaspoons of drain cleaner down the frozen drain and wait about an hour before again running hot water down the pipe.
If your toilet is stopped up and still runs slow after plunging, invest in a "snake". It's an inexpensive tool used to unclog toilets as well as sewer lines. Just insert the "snake" end into the toilet bowl and crank the handle. The faster you turn the handle, the more efficiently the snake will clear the clog. A plumber will use the same tool and charge you $50 an hour to do it.
Household oil can work miracles! Not only is it good for squeaky doors, it works on jammed windows and ceiling fans that won't turn. If your windows are old and still open and close via a chain, spray some oil on the chain and let it sit for a few minutes. Also, spray some oil around the edges of the window as with extremely old windows, sometimes they are painted shut. Sometimes a little oil is all it takes to pry them open. If your ceiling fan isn't turning, turn it off and spray some oil into the motor housing. Turn the fan back on and manually push the blades to give the fan a "jump start". Usually the combination of the oil and the manual push will keep your fan cooling for a long time.
Do the doors on your kitchen cabinets appear crooked? Do they close improperly? Chances are they are not adjusted correctly. First try tightening the top screws on the hinges, located on the base of the cabinet with a screwdriver. If this does not correct the problem, try loosening the screws.
Remember that majority of fixtures in your house are connected with some type of screws. If it's loose, tighten it, if it's tight, loosen it and if it's crooked, adjust it. Again, common sense, but a carpenter will charge you $45 an hour to do just that.
As for the superglue, its uses are endless. I've used it to secure furniture, picture frames and even countertops! A word to the wise – it is superglue so be very careful that your fingers do not get glued to the surface you are repairing.
Usually when something breaks, cracks, or overflows, our first instinct is to panic. The best household repair tip I can give you is to KEEP YOUR COOL. Take a deep breath and use a little ingenuity. Trust me, this will save you major headaches and hundreds of dollars.