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Top Ten Secrets of a Handyman

There are many repairs that can be made by you the homeowner that people regularly pay to have repaired. So, I convinced my husband, who runs his own home repair and maintenance business, to give me his "top ten" repairs that homeowners can do themselves and his secrets for making them easy. Plumbing problems does not always require a plumber. Here are a couple of tricks and tips that can help you to fix that plugged up sink:

  • A lot of kitchen sink plugs are as simple as grease that has clogged the sink. Heat a pan of water and get it boiling and pour in the sink. Keep doing this until the grease has melted. When the sink is clear, put a couple good squirts of dish liquid down the drain, followed by hot water from the tap. The soap will clean out the rest of the grease and the hot water flushes the system.

  • Another trick that works is to increase the pressure of your plunger by covering the overflow valve opening with a dishcloth. This improves the suction.

  • A wet and dry vac can also be used to suck out the clog.

  • Leo gets asked to change shower heads for people all the time as they say that they are not getting as powerful spray as when it was new. Leo always tells them that they don't need him to replace it, they just need to boil their shower heads in a mild solution of vinegar and water to clean it. Works every time!

  • To find out if your toilet valve is leaking, add some food coloring to the tank and leave it alone for a hour or so. If the water in the bowl changes color you need to replace the valve.

  • For a quick fix for a leaky faucet, you sometimes can turn the washer over and reuse them. This is only a temporary fix, but can help you not to waste water until you can get to the hardware store.

Here are some other tips for other things that you can repair yourself:

  • Rattling windows can be fixed by gluing corn pads for feet on to the frames of the windows.

  • Nail holes in walls can be easily fixed by using a little bit of white glue mixed with baking soda. This takes paint a lot better than toothpaste.

  • Need to turn off the electricity to a certain room and you're not sure which breaker to flip? Turn on a radio and turn the volume up loud so you can hear it from where the breaker box is and start flipping breakers. If the radio goes off, you got the right one.

  • Do you need to know if the paint on your walls is latex or oil based. Try a product called Goo Off (can be bought at hardware and automotive stores). If the paint gets gummy, the paint is latex; if it just looks cleaner, it is oil based paint. You can put latex paint over oil based paint, but oil based paint will not stick to latex paint.

About The Author: Debra Frick is a mother of 5 and a grandmother to 8 grandsons and one granddaughter. She is a published author and poetress. Recycling and saving money are her passions. She also loves crocheting and cooking. She is also a pet rescue volunteer and has many pets of her own.

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November 1, 20100 found this helpful

You are an angel for thinking of posting this and your husband is an angel for writing this up so you could! I'm printing this out as I type and will be forever in your debt! Thank you both so very very much!

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November 1, 20100 found this helpful

Great tips! But PLEASE do NOT boil your shower-head! Most are made from cheap plastic! Tie or rubber-band a bag of vinegar to a fixed head or take down the hand held and put it in a large plastic cup filled with vinegar. Let set overnight and you'll be much better!

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November 2, 20100 found this helpful

A word of caution about the breaker box than can save you from severe electrical shock. Some rooms have split circuits. You might turn the breaker off and one half of the room would still be lit up. Please don't try the radio check. Just check all the plugs when you turn off the breaker. It takes more time but is worth it. Tell this to your husband.

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November 2, 20100 found this helpful

Ann Parker is right, some rooms are "split" between two breakers. We learned this last weekend while trying to ascertain whether the dryer had tripped the breaker. Might I add, it's best to label each breaker (in pen or permanent marker) as you learn which ones go to what. We did that at the church where I used to work. It saved a lot of confusion later. Please thank your hubby for us all!

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November 2, 20100 found this helpful

Don't mean to criticize but the paint part is wrong. You can paint oil over latex but if you paint latex over oil, the oil paint underneath will peel like old wall paper and will look awful when done. I know this as I've done it and used to work as a paint sales person.

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November 3, 20100 found this helpful

I am going to second the comment about the paint. I think you've probably just made a typo . You can put oil over latex, but not latex over oil.

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November 3, 20100 found this helpful

Thanks for the vinegar solution! My showerhead needs it!

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November 26, 20140 found this helpful

Something you may want to do with two people or more in the house when checking power and breakers. Doing this now will save time later.

1.Turn on all lights in house.

2. Plug in (1) night light and turn on one in each wall socket outlet (these can be bought in most discount stores as well as hardware stores).

3. Draw a map of each room in house indicating where you have light witch sockets, ceiling / heating units, cooling fans, kitchen and bath room ceiling heaters and etc.

4. Now do the test one breaker at a time. Make sure everything is turned on.

5. Have your team members mark the map indicating which outlet and switch is connected to the breaker number on the panel doing this one room at a time. (keep in mind that more than one breaker controls electric in one room most of the time) .

6. Make a copy of this map keep one copy in the place of the breaker panel one on your door of your a/c unit.

This will help when working with electric and in an emergency electric situation.

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March 31, 20150 found this helpful


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April 2, 20150 found this helpful

I make a solution of half vinegar, half water and a squirt of Dawn dish soap. I use this to clean windows, etc. I also use it to spray the showerhead every week. Keeps it from clogging up at all. I just use a regular spray bottle to mix this and spray. I also spray this mixture on sinks, etc. before I put comet or whatever on to clean. It is a good disinfectant. The squirt of Dawn adds just enough extra to make the mixture work better, yet it cleans squeaky clean.

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