Don’t Call an Expert: Top Five Home Repairs You Can Do Yourself

You can eliminate labor costs and wasted time by tackling some simple home repair jobs with your own two hands. Here are some quick fixes for common household repair issues.

Constantly Running Toilet

toiletA running toilet is not only annoying, but can waste large amounts of water. Determining the cause of a running toilet is simple, and fixing it may not even require repair parts.

Step 1: Lift off the tank lid and observe the water movement. If water is spilling into the tube that sticks up from the bottom, the water level should be adjusted.
Step 2: Adjust the float arm by bending downward. Some newer toilets may have adjustment clips that slide down for adjustment purposes.
Step 3: If water does not spill into the vertical tube, the rubber “flapper” covering the tank drain likely needs replacement. Turn off the water and pull out the flapper. You can obtain an identical one at any hardware outlet.

Faucet Washer Replacement

A leaky faucet can put a dent in your bank account and your sanity. A faulty washer is usually the culprit.

Step 1: Shut off the water.
Step 2: Remove the faucet handle and packing nut. You will need a screwdriver and pliers.
Step 3: Unscrew the valve stem and take it out of the fixture housing. Then unscrew the washer screw, and remove the washer. You may to need loosen it with oil.
Step 3: Find a replacement washer at any hardware outlet.
Step 4: Reverse steps to install the new washer.

If your faucet still leaks, it may require replacement. Be care while unscrewing the faucet as if your water lines are older they could be brittle from water corrosion and break, costing you a little extra and a trip to the hardware store to replace.

Hole in the Wall

Broken or dented interior walls are usually the result of rambunctious teenagers or unrestrained doors. Wall dimples or holes create unsightly decor, but leaving them unrepaired can generate more maintenance. Before you call a carpenter, try this simple fix for your damaged wall.

Step 1: Crumple newspaper to a reasonably solid wad.
Step 2: Wedge the paper wad tightly into the hole or dent, leaving a space of approximately one-quarter inch between the paper and the outside wall surface.
Step 3: Fill the space with joint compound. Smooth the surface of the compound to match the wall surface, using a putty knife or other wide-bladed tool. Let the compound dry according to package instructions.
Step 4: Use fine sandpaper to refine repaired surface before painting.

Squeaky Hinges or Sticky Doors

Always keep a can of household lubricating oil for squeaky hinges. Wet, dry or spray lubricants can work equally well. If your door does not close without hitting the frame, loose hinges, wood expansion and warping are probably to blame.

Step 1: Examine the door hinges for loose screws. Hinges may need to be moved down, if the screw holes have been damaged. An extra set of hands may be required.
Step 2: If hinges are not loose, rub colored chalk on the door frame where it meets the door. Close the door and observe where chalk rubs onto the door. Shape these areas with a rotary grinding tool.

Damaged Furniture or Woodwork

Scratches and dents can be sanded out of wood trim or furniture items.

Step 1: Remove old paint or stain from the affected area with sandpaper or steel wool.
Step 2: Fill with wood filler product and let dry according to package instructions.
Step 3: Sand new surface and paint or stain.

Gina McNeely works with PartSelect, an ecommerce company that sells replacement appliance parts for all types of appliances.  An appliance repair can save an appliance from a landfill, and it is often far less expensive than replacing the whole appliance.

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