When you think about it, we live in a golden age of DIY. Almost any questions you have can be answered in a matter of seconds, with a little help of Professor Google. Want to know how to screw in a light bulb? Yep, there’s a video for that. Never learned to use a hammer? Hit up YouTube, and you’ll be pounding nails like a pro in no time.
Even so, there’s something to be said for having a little general knowledge. Get a handle on your basic repairs, and you’ll gain the confidence you need to take on new projects. Plus it will help you tell when some good old fashioned ingenuity will suffice or when it’s time to call in the pros. Read on to learn about several easy-to-manage repairs that can be completed with little-to-no home improvement know-how.
Fixing a Leaking Faucet
Nothing is more annoying than that constant drip…drip…drip of a leaky faucet. It’s enough to make you twitchy—and for good reason! The EPA estimates that leaking faucets waste about 1 trillion gallons of water annually. And guess who pays the price? Yep, you guessed it: you, in the form of skyrocketing water bills.
A leaky faucet is nothing to get all worked up about, though, especially once you know your way around the pipes. Most faucet leaks are caused by worn out or dirty seals—something you can fix pretty easily using one of these detailed guides from This Old House. Essentially, you unscrew the handle and replace the old washer or O-ring. Of course, for certain types, you’re better off just replacing the whole faucet. Luckily, that’s not too hard either.
Voilà—you’re now 10 times smarter than you were two minutes ago!
Patching a Hole in the Drywall
You know the drill: all you want is to play a few video games with the kids, when suddenly you’ve got a controller-sized hole in your wall. Relax. Patching a drywall hole is actually a lot easier than it seems.
Lowe’s has a helpful step-by-step for all kinds of drywall defects which you can use when you begin your project. At a high level, though, patching a hole involves a mesh screen that you position over the hole, then cover with joint compound. Once that’s dry, you sand down the rough edges and paint. It’s so easy, you can even get your kids to help. And that should encourage them never to throw another controller again!
Unclogging the Toilet
Ugh, toilet clogs. This is one plumbing project that even the handiest homeowners don’t cherish. Unfortunately, until they invent something better than the flush toilet, clogs are an unavoidable part of life.
For most stopped up toilets, a good plunger and a little elbow grease are all you need. But for a really stuck commode, you may need to go commando. For these you can use an auger, a plumbing tool that looks like a long wire with a handle at one end. You snake the auger down the toilet, turning the handle until it stops. Then you work it around until you either hook the clog or loosen the gunk—whichever comes first!
Caulking Around Windows, Floors and Tubs
You don’t know it yet, but this fix is going to quickly become your best friend. Silicone caulk is kind of like the duct tape of home improvement, in that it can be used in a number of projects around your house. More specifically, it helps seal joints and stop leaks, like between your tub and the floor or your window glass and the frame. And that last fix can even help lower your energy costs! Woo hoo!
All you need to know is how to load the caulk gun. From there, it’s just a matter of laying a straight bead of sealant and smoothing it down! Easy peasy!
Now the only thing left to do is decide what to do with all the money you’re saving on household repairs!