Handyman Tips and Tricks
Many household repairs can be done by the homeowner, rather than having to call a professional handyman or repair service. This is a page about handyman tips and tricks.
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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.
When our home electrical box needed repairs - the main breaker was corroded; the system is over 25 years old and we thought we might have difficulty locating parts for repair of the system. My husband took an up close picture of the electrical panel; he took a ruler and photographed the ruler on certain areas of the system so electrical parts personnel could determine if they could supply us with the parts. The pictures were a success and the hardware store we found the parts at (the part had to be ordered) was very appreciative of the picture when he was in the process of ordering the part.
We have decided to take pictures of all the important components in our home (plumbing, electrical, septic tank, etc.) in order to have a visual record. These pictures will be kept in a file and will be updated when repairs or changes are made.
By WandaJo from Collierville
If you have trouble holding a very small nail while trying to pound with hammer, try this. Punch the nail through a piece of tape or a small piece of cardboard that's sturdy enough to hold it. You now have a handle to hold on to while you pound away.
By Penny B. from McVeytown, PA
Take a paper respirator and remove those flimsy stretch bands off. Replace them with a more sturdy elastic band from a pair of old suspenders, or you can get 1/2 to 3/4 wide elastic band material from a sewing store.