You may love the sheer convenience of calling your trusty plumber, electrician or other maintenance or repair specialist whenever anything goes wrong around the house — however, the costs of that convenience probably inspires a different feeling altogether. Of course it makes sense to assign serious or complex maintenance and repair issues to a skilled professional, but you can save big money by tackling the following projects yourself:
Tackling toilet woes – If your toilet refuses to flush with its customary vigor, minor fixes might get it up and running again with no need for a plumber’s services. For starters, try scrubbing the tiny holes underneath the rim with a toothbrush; sediment may be clogging them and impairing water flow into the bowl. If your toilet seems content to run forever, you may need to replace the flapper – the valve that seals the opening at the bottom of the toilet tank. You can buy this part for just a few dollars at a home improvement store and swap it out with hardly any effort at all.
Silencing squeaky door hinges – Don’t assume that a repairman has to take your door off its frame to replace squeaky or noisy hinges. As long as the door alignment itself remains straight, you can silence that squeak yourself by applying a few drops of oil or a small amount of petroleum jelly to the hinges.
Caulking crevices – Aging caulk can lose its ability to seal your tub or toilet, causing potential water puddling and mold growth where these items interface with the floor or wall. But why call a contractor to replace that caulk when practically anyone can do it? You can find softening agents in stores that will make the caulk easy to remove with a putty knife. With that done, simply run the nozzle of your caulk applicator in a straight line along the join. If you worry about getting the line nice and straight, practice on some expendable material first.
Fixing faucets – If you have a standard compression-type faucet that drips constantly, the washer probably needs replacing. You don’t need a plumber for this. Unscrew the handle and remove it, then take out the packing nut and valve stem. Loosen the screw that secures the washer, then pull out the washer. Chances are that you can find the exact same size washer at any home improvement store. Just pop the new washer in place and then reverse your previous steps to reattach the other parts.
Take care of these and other little household issues yourself, and save your money for the big maintenance and repair jobs. You’ll be glad you did!