Home repairs and maintenance are an inevitable part of homeownership. From leaky faucets to faulty appliances, there’s always something that needs fixing in a house. While calling a professional handyperson may seem like the easiest solution, DIY repairs can save you a lot of money and give you a sense of accomplishment.
According to HomeAdvisor, homeowners can save 30-70% on home repairs by doing it themselves. With proper planning and preparation, many minor to moderate home repairs can be successfully tackled as DIY projects. This comprehensive guide will cover several strategies for common DIY home repairs.
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When appliances stop working properly, there are often easy fixes you can make before calling a repair person. For refrigerators, inspect the door seal and clean the condenser coils. For dishwashers, check the filter and clear any food debris from the sprayer arms.
For washing machines, clean out lint traps and drain pumps and make sure the load is balanced. Dryers, a vital component of any household, can sometimes exhibit issues, particularly with the drive belt. If you experience issues like the drum not turning properly, it might be time to fix your dryer drive belt. The process involves opening the dryer panel, locating the drive belt, and checking for wear and tear. If the belt appears damaged, replace it with a new one by looping it around the drum and motor pulley.
Many appliance issues can be diagnosed online to identify the faulty part. Watch tutorial videos for common repairs like replacing water inlet valves or drive belts.
Caulking and Weatherstripping
Caulking and weatherstripping help seal air leaks and drafts around windows, doors, and other openings. Over time, caulk can crack and dry out, allowing cold air to penetrate the home. It can lead to higher heating bills and discomfort.
To recaulk windows or doors, remove the old caulk with a putty knife. Make sure the area is clean and dry before applying fresh caulk. Apply a steady, continuous bead and smooth it out with your finger. Allow the caulk to fully cure before exposing it to the elements. High-quality paintable caulk will last several years.
For weatherstripping, replace any strips that are cracked or missing. Measure the area and cut strips to size. Remove the adhesive backing and firmly press it into place. Effective weatherstripping forms a tight seal to block drafts.
That annoying squeak you hear whenever you walk across the floor can be easily fixed. Start by locating the exact spot that squeaks. Have someone walk across the floor while you listen from below in the basement or crawlspace. Once found, drive a screw at a 45-degree angle through the subfloor and into the floor joist. Apply weight to the screw as you drive it in. Be careful not to penetrate the finished floor above. The screw pulls the subfloor tightly to the joist, eliminating friction that causes the squeak.
Sticking Windows and Doors
Windows and doors that stick can be frustrating and lead to damage. A sticking window can be fixed by adjusting the sash cords, replacing the balance, or scraping down swollen wood. For sticking doors, check the hinges first. Tighten any loose screws, or replace hinges if sagging. Use a plane or rasp to remove wood, keeping the door from closing flush. Or sand down high areas on the door edge that rub the jamb. A soap lubricant also allows wood doors to slide more smoothly.
That constant drip from bathroom or kitchen faucets can raise your water bill. Start by shutting off water valves and removing the faucet handle, then clean mineral deposits from washers and valve seats with vinegar or CLR. Replace worn washers and O-rings to stop leaks. Use the plumber’s grease on the new rubber parts.
Re-assemble the faucet and turn the water back on. If drips persist, you may need to replace internal cartridges or valves. Leaky faucets are an easy DIY fix with basic tools and replacement parts.
Clogged drains are a nuisance. Start by trying a plunger to force out the clog. Cover overflow holes first to get a tight seal. If the water starts rising, stop plunging. Next, use a drain snake to reach deeper clogs. Slowly rotate the snake’s crank as you feed the cable down the drain. It’ll break up hair, grease, and other gunk. For stubborn clogs, try a liquid drain cleaner formulated for your specific type of pipes. Avoid harsh chemical cleaners.
Prevent future clogs by installing hair catchers and avoiding grease down drains.
Loose Door Knobs and Handles
Wobbly, loose knobs are annoying and indicate a problem with the latch and strike plate. Remove the knob and tighten any loose screw holes with longer screws. You can fill holes with wood glue and toothpicks first. File down the strike plate if it’s keeping the latch from closing properly.
Adjust the placement if needed by filling old screw holes and moving the strike plate. Spray lubricant inside the latch mechanism occasionally to prevent sticking.
Sagging Garage Doors
An improperly balanced garage door can sag, stick, and be difficult to open. But a few adjustments can often realign and smooth out the door. Start by tightening any loose hardware on the door panels and track system. Then check the torsion springs. Adjust spring tension or replace broken springs to properly balance the door. Lubricate the metal roller track to help the rollers glide. Finally, test the auto-reverse sensor to ensure it stops the door if obstructed.
With proper preparation and safety precautions, many common home repairs can be successfully tackled as DIY projects. Learning basic maintenance and repair skills will save you significant money on hiring professionals. However, making use of online resources to understand appliance issues and fix them accordingly is advised. Since issues like fixing dryer drive belts are technical, DIY solutions available online can be of assistance. More importantly, you’ll be satisfied with repairing and improving your home all by yourself.