Repairs are an unavoidable part of being a homeowner. No matter how newly updated your home is, it’s almost a guarantee that something will break down or malfunction within the year.
If you’re like many new homeowners, you don’t want to call a professional for every small thing that goes wrong. Not only is vetting each person time consuming, but professional tradesmen can also be extremely costly.
The good news is that there are plenty of home repairs you can do by yourself that are fairly easy. Here are seven DIY home repairs made simple with a few tools and a little guidance from YouTube:
1. Replacing Dirty Air Filters
Changing your home air filter regularly not only helps you save money but also conserves more energy. According to the Department of Energy, replacing dirty air filters can reduce your air conditioning energy consumption by as much as 15 percent. Changing air filters also helps the quality of the air inside your home since the air isn’t being filtered through a dirty filter.
A lot of homeowners will have a professional come in and change their air filters for them every couple of months. This is a costly service that you can easily do yourself in less than five minutes. Most, if not all, hardware stores sell replaceable air filters for cheap in all different sizes.
About every two to three months, simply open the guard, take out the old air filter and place in a new one. Make sure to measure the size of the vent so you purchase the correct filter size. It’s also recommended that you clean around the air vent by using a vacuum attachment or a dusting rag. This, along with the new filter, will help to keep the air in your home fresh.
2. Fixing a Leaky Faucet
Leaky faucets are both annoying and costly. Fortunately, you can take care of the constant drip, drip, drip of your kitchen or bathroom faucet all on your own.
Simply purchase a faucet repair kit containing all the necessary tools, such as washers, springs and a hex wrench. All you need to do next is shut off the hot/cold water valves beneath the sink, unscrew the faucet handle using a flathead screwdriver and fix the leaky faucet using your helpful kit.
3. Getting Rid of Mold in the Bathroom
Moldy caulk around your bathtub isn’t a good look, nor is healthy for your family. If it’s started to grow, you need to take care of it immediately by removing the mold and re-caulking the bathtub. Mold likes to accumulate in moist warm places making the shower the perfect breeding ground. When mold is left to grow it can cause you and your family to feel cold-like symptoms as well as cause allergic reactions.
While using a Dremel tool is the easiest way to remove the caulking around the bathtub, you can also use a paint scraper instead. If you use a Dremel tool to get rid of the mold, be sure to tape underneath the grout to protect your bathtub.
Once the mold is gone and you’ve cleaned up the area, apply fresh caulk at a 45-degree angle and fill in the gaps. Smooth out the caulking by dipping a gloved finger into water and then running it over the caulking.
If you find mold around your tub or shower, but it doesn’t necessarily require re-caulking, a product like Tilex Mold and Mildew cleaner (or any product containing bleach) will generally clear the mold in a couple of minutes. If harsh cleaners aren’t your thing, you can also make a DIY cleaner with vinegar. Simply pour some vinegar into a spray bottle without watering it down. Spray the vinegar directly onto the moldy surface and leave it to sit for an hour. After it sits, wipe the area clean with water and allow the surface to dry completely.
4. Fixing a Hole in the Drywall
If you have rambunctious kids — or clumsy adults — in your house, you may find yourself dealing with punctures or dents in your drywall. Learning how to patch these imperfections is homeowner 101.
For tiny holes, all you need is some spackle and a putty knife. But for holes larger than six inches, you’ll need a drywall repair patch, some joint compound, a big putty knife, a 150-grit sander and a screw driver or some other poking device.
To fix larger holes, clear away excess debris from the hole and sand the spot to make it smooth. Place the patch over the hole and use a putty knife to apply a thin layer of joint compound to the area.
Wait for it to dry fully and then sand it smooth once more. Finally, apply one more coat of joint compound followed by another sanding, and you’re ready to paint over the patch.
5. Unclogging a Sink
For bathroom sinks, there is often an easy fix that involves using a snake plumbing tool.
However, other clogged sinks can’t be resolved with a regular plumbing tool. Sometimes you need to inspect the P-trap to fix the problem.
The P-trap is a U-shaped pipe under the sink that helps prevent dangerous gases from entering the home from the sewer system. To unclog this part, all you need to do is place a bucket underneath the P-trap and unfasten the nuts using a wrench.
Let the water drain into the bucket and look for anything that might be the source of the blockage. Use a cleaning tool to brush out any debris in the trap and refasten it back in place.
This is also an important skill to know in case you drop something precious down the drain. By unfastening the P-trap, you can safely retrieve the item.
However, for larger sink problems and clogs, it is recommended that you call a professional plumber. Sewer line breaks, septic tank leaks, and water heater malfunctions are some examples of tasks that should be left up to the professionals
6. Fixing a Driveway Crack
A hairline crack in your driveway may not seem like a big deal at first, but it can become costly if ignored. Over time, water can seep into the crack and open it wider, creating an even bigger problem. Once water gets into unsealed asphalt the water can freeze and thaw causing frost heaves. Frost heaves can also occur when water comes up under the asphalt.
Before fixing a crack in your driveway, be sure to check the weather. If you have a string of days with clear weather, this is the best time to fix the crack. If the weather calls for rain or snow, it’s best to steer clear until the sun comes back out, or wait a few months until the weather is clear.
Clear your driveway of debris by using a leaf blower or a wet-dry vacuum. Go over the crack with crack filler and allow it to dry for eight hours.
If the crack is more than three inches wide, place a filler rope inside the crack to hold the caulk. Use a scraper tool to smooth the material, wiping the excess as you go.
That’s it — your driveway should now look much better, and you have instantly enhanced your home’s curb appeal. If you’re planning to move and need to sell your home, this is a super easy fix that will help you attract more buyers.
When doing home repairs, it’s important to know when you can do something yourself and when to hire a professional. Although many people can safely do electrical repairs, they can be dangerous for the typical DIY homeowner. It’s a good rule of thumb to save the big projects for the professionals. If you can look at a repair and think that you could do it yourself, you probably can. If a certain repair seems daunting or dangerous, go ahead and give a handyman a call.
However, the home repairs we’ve outlined here are easy to do both cheaply and safely. Not only do you save money doing your own home repairs, you’ll also earn some well-deserved bragging rights.
For more information on how to execute each project mentioned above, YouTube tutorial videos can be a great resource for all things DIY.