Home & Garden

To Fix or Not to Fix?

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When something breaks, one of the biggest conundrums for a homeowner is knowing when to dig your heels in and fix it yourself vs. realizing when it”s time to call in the pros. Below is a list of what you should reasonably expect to be able to repair yourself if you”ve got the time and you”re handy.

  1. Doors and Entryways
    One of the simplest aspects of your home is also one of the most important. Maintenance and repair of your doors and entryways is an essential requirement, especially on exterior doors which can allow heat or cold air to escape. Is the base scraping the floor? Is the lockset lining up all right? Could be time for a tune up.
  1. Using Caulk
    You”ll find caulk everywhere in your home. It”s the sealant used in your tub or sink, around the wall or baseboards. It protects floors and walls from moisture and can keep insects from taking up residence in gaps and cracks around your house. Make your way around your abode with a caulking gun, systematically sealing it.
  1. Unclogging a Toilet
    Fun stuff, right? It happens to the best of us, and it”s best to be prepared with some knowledge when disaster strikes. Check first to see if something (like a toy if you have kids) has been dropped into the commode. Next step, try the plunger. Make sure to create a suction seal before you start. Last resorts include plumbing snakes and closet augers.
  1. Patching a Hole
    Holes in the wall can be caused by screws, nails, and simple human error. Best thing to do: clean the surrounding area of dirt and debris, then use a putty knife to press spackle into the wall and let it dry. Sand it down with sandpaper until it”s flush with the wall. For bigger holes, you”ll need to apply a drywall patch.
  1. Loosening a Window
    During hot or cold seasons, we rarely open the windows around the house. This causes channels in the window to sometimes become clogged with dirt, debris and other stuff that can basically glue the jamb and sash together. Try gently wedging a putty knife between the window frame and the interior trim.
  1. Leaky Faucets
    Is the drip, drip, drip driving you nuts? Well, it”s not just you who”s suffering the consequences; your wallet is also feeling the pain. First, shut off the water to the leaking faucet. You can often find a valve nearby it. Find the problem (often, it”s a deteriorated washer), and fix it.
  1. Replacing Broken Tile
    It”s bound to happen over time, so why not know how to repair chipped or cracked tiles? You”ll need a grout saw, scoring tool, chisel and safety goggles. From there, it”s a matter of cutting and removing the damaged tiles and adhesive, and placing and setting the new tiles in place.
  1. Removing a Stripped Screw
    A pair of locking pliers will usually do the trick. Just turn counterclockwise, twisting, until it comes out. If you still can”t get it out, you can go digging for it with a knife (carefully) or a drill bit. Remember to patch the hole when you”re finished.
  1. Fix a Noisy Bathroom Fan
    First and foremost, switch off the circuit breaker that goes to the bathroom. Make sure all electricity is turned off in that room. Oftentimes, the sound you hear is the rattle of a loose cover. Try removing the cover and bend the brackets so they grip better. If that doesn”t work, try vacuuming the unit to quiet the fan blades.
  1. Change your Filter
    It”s not a repair, but it”s important enough to include in this list. Changing the air filter in your heating and air system about once a season can make all the difference in the efficiency of your HVAC. It”s quick and easy.

And finally, here”s a list of the kinds of home repairs and maintenance you really ought to leave to the pros. Sometimes you”ve got to let the professionals do what they do best.

  1. Electrical Work
    There are some exceptions to this one, but as a general rule, the inexperienced shouldn”t mess with electricity in their home. There”s just too much danger involved here, and it”s better left to an electrician.
  1. Plumbing Repairs
    Leaky pipes? While certain problems might be an easy fix, you”ll want to trust the major overhauls to the pros who do this for a living. Just because you think you can fix it doesn”t always mean you should. Trust us on this one.
  1. Roof work
    Ah, the pains of a leaky roof. Few things can plague your life more than worrying about whether you”re coming home to a flooded living space. But even the best DIY”ers should be wary. It”s easy to fall off the roof and hurt yourself.
  1. Major HVAC work
    Unless you”re doing something simple like changing the filter, you should consider getting help. HVAC systems can be very complex, and most homeowners don”t know enough about their system to perform proper repairs.
  1. Gas Appliance Repairs
    When unhooking and hooking up these appliances, it can be a fatal mistake to allow a leak. Your attempt to fix one of these repairs could cause carbon monoxide poisoning, so don”t mess with it. Call the pros.