Any homeowner knows that upkeep can get overwhelming and expensive, especially when you need to contract out the work. The average contractor employed to solve a basic problem (replacing windows, fixing links, repairing drywall, etc.) charges £59/hour!1 Fortunately, many of these projects can be done by a non-professional — that means you!
Avoid spending all your hard earned money on an expensive contractor and save more by teaching yourself and working through basic problems. Here’s a list of common household problems you’ve probably come across and some potential quick fixes to help you out.
Please remember that not all issues can be resolved with this guide. When in doubt, hire a professional to take care of the problem.
- Replacing old caulk can be a challenge, but it is necessary to prevent further damage caused by leaks and mould. The key to applying caulk successfully is starting with a clean, well-prepped surface. Make sure you take the time to prepare the area correctly and you’ll see much better results over time.
- A leaky faucet is one of the most common household problems. It may seem like a small annoyance, but if you consider the amount of water lost from every leaky faucet, it contributes to a large problem. The average home wastes about 42 kilolitres of water every year through leaky faucets — that’s enough to fill a swimming pool!2 What’s worse is that it’s also wasting your money. Teach yourself how to fix a dripping faucet and save yourself a headache (and money) in the long run.
- Unclogging a toilet isn’t the most pleasant task as a homeowner, but sometimes it needs to be done. A plunger is an easy fix for basic clogs, but sometimes you need something a slightly more aggressive. Try a plumbing snake or closet auger to catch and remove what is lodged in the pipes. If that still doesn’t do the trick, visit your local hardware or plumbing store and get a carbon dioxide cartridge tool that uses pressure to help dislodge the clog.
Quiet the Squeaks and Noises
- Lubricate door hinges with WD-40 or petroleum jelly, moving the door back and forth to work the lubricant in between the hinges. If that doesn’t work, pull the pins out (one at a time — otherwise the door will fall), wipe down with a 3-in-1 oil and replace them.
- Quiet a noisy old floor with talcum powder. Sprinkle it across the floor and then sweep it into the cracks.
- Decrease the noisy friction that occurs from old window tracks. Whether your windows are wood, plastic or metal, you can spray a rag with silicone-based spray lubricant then wipe along the tracks.
- If a door tends to slam when it closes, there are a couple things that can help quiet things down. A simple solution is to wrap a rubber band around the door knob from one side to another, stretching the rubber across and minimising the noise. If the door is still loud, apply some peal-and-stick foam weather stripping around the door stop.
- A fresh coat of paint can help improve the value of a home greatly, especially when it looks professionally done. The easiest way to do this is by preventing any uneven portions or opportunities for splatter. Take the time to prep correctly. It will make the process easier overall, so it’s guaranteed to be time well spent.
- Updating your light switches can make your whole room look lighter and brighter, especially if you have old white plates that have grown yellow with time. Due to the risk associated with electrical updates, most fixes should be done by a professional. However, a basic update (or a switch to smart switches for more efficiency) is something that most can manage.
- Accidents happen. Your drywall may have suffered from hanging a picture incorrectly or knocking a corner of your furniture too hard into the wall. It may seem like an elaborate project, but patching up your drywall is easier than you think. Use this step-by-step DIY video to help you get started.
Buying a home is a large investment unto itself. Maintaining it? Well that’s a whole other financial challenge. When problems arise, do your research and see if you are able to fix it yourself rather than calling an expensive professional right away. You’ll save more, feel accomplished and have pride in the home you helped fix all by yourself!
1Home Advisor. (n.d.). Learn how much it costs to hire a handyman. Retrieved 18 July 2017, from http://www.homeadvisor.com/cost/handyman/hire-a-handyman/
2Elliott, S. (25 August 2009). 5 home repairs you really should know how to do yourself. Retrieved 19 July 2017, from http://home.howstuffworks.com/home-improvement/repair/5-home-repairs-you-should-do-yourself4.htm