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Whether you’re an everyday Bob Vila or hammers and screwdrivers make you nervous, chances are there are some simple do-it-yourself home repairs you can easily master. You don’t want to have to call a handyman every time you need to fix something basic around the house — be the handyman (or handywoman) yourself! Not only will this make you feel accomplished, but you’ll save money in the long run. Here are some fixes you should know about. 


Maintain your HVAC by replacing the air filter

When your air conditioning unit has a dirty, clogged filter, it has to work much harder to function. This is the leading cause of coil freeze and busted AC units. You’re also putting dirtier air into circulation if you’re lax about replacing your filters. At a minimum, you should change your filter every three months. Fortunately, it’s one of the easiest home maintenance tasks there is. Here’s a quick list of common locations for air filters on different types of HVAC units. There are no screws, nuts, or bolts. Filters simply slide in and out. Remember, if replacing the filter doesn’t fix a problem you encounter, you should contact local AC repair immediately. Pros are better equipped to handle more involved fixes when it comes to your HVAC system. 


Fix that little hole in the wall

For less than $20 and in fewer than 20 minutes, you can fix a hole in your drywall caused by a doorknob, rowdy kids, and general carelessness. All you need is a mesh patch, spackling, sandpaper, and a putty knife. Sand the hole smooth, apply the self-adhesive patch, cover it with spackle, wait until dry, sand it smooth again, and paint. 


Silence a squeaky hinge

Whether it’s your bedroom door or a kitchen cabinet, a squeaky hinge is one of life’s great annoyances. The good news is that fixing them is easy and cheap. For pin-style hinges, remove the pin with the help of a hammer and lubricate the inside of the hinge with petroleum jelly. For other types of hinges, the WD-40 and rag method is best. 


Repair a crack in your trim molding

Cracked molding is unsightly, but luckily can be repaired with a method similar to patching a hole in the wall. You’ll need special wood filler for this job, however. Fill in the cracks, sand, paint, and repeat if necessary. 


Fix a broken or clogged toilet

Major plumbing work requires the skills of a plumber, but minor work like fixing a toilet handle, replacing the guts of your toilet if it’s not flushing properly, or unclogging a stopped-up drain are simple and well within the DIY realm. Familiarize yourself with the parts of a toilet — the fill valve, ballcock, lever, etc. Once you understand it, fixing common problems is a breeze. 


Replace a light switch

Whether you need to install a new light switch for functionality or aesthetic reasons, there’s no need to call in an electrician! Step one involves turning off the power at the source (your breaker box). Once you’ve removed the switch plate with a phillips head screwdriver, use an electricity test gauge to make sure no power is running to the wires before you disconnect them from the old plate. A standard light switch only requires two wire connections, making this a truly simple task. The principles of this job can be extended to replacing any basic light fixture or ceiling fan as well. 

Learning these basic home repairs will give you the skills and confidence to learn more ways to save on DIY projects. Few skills in life are more useful to a homeowner than being a passable handyman or handywoman. Of course, the best skill of any blossoming DIY’er is recognizing your limitations and having the good sense to call a professional when you get in over your head. Learn this skill as well.  

Photo by Unsplash

Written by:
Danny Knight
danny@fixitdads.com
Fixitdads.com
February 2, 2019