There are those little odds and ends around the house that need fixing. Sure, you could call a handyman, but this would eat up way too much money from the family budget. Conversely, relying on a friend or even spouse to do the fixing sometimes requires endless reminders as well as patience. What is the do-it-yourself-minded handywoman to do? Easy: take on some of the most pressing home repairs yourself!
Fix a broken light switch. Oh sure, electricity is dangerous and gets you electrocuted. But have you checked lately what an electrician charges (per hour) just to come in and take a look? If you know that a light switch is bad, go ahead and replace it yourself. Turn off the power to the room in which the switch is located – just turn on the light powered by the switch, turn off the circuit breakers one by one and wait to hit the one that powers the light switch in question – unscrew the switch plate, unscrew the switch mechanism and unscrew the wires from the back of the switch. Then do the process in reverse with a brand new switch mechanism (available at a home improvement store for a couple of bucks).
Unclog a drain. Here is another money pit waiting to happen. Just like an electrician, a plumber charges quite a bit of money to undo the mess that greets you in the kitchen or bathroom. Use the suction generated by a plunger to move along hair buildup in the pipes. For more stubborn clogs, insert the business end of a blow bag into the drain as far as it will go and fill it up with water from the tap. It should force even stubborn clogs to dislodge and flush away. For the truly stubborn clogs, a plumbing snake is the best answer.
Undo plaster damage. With the holidays just around the corner, you most likely want to offer a presentable and welcoming home. The holes in the plaster walls – generated by inexpertly moved furniture or a recent temper tantrum over a relationship breakup – cannot be covered up with pictures any longer. Begin by removing loose bits and pieces of plaster. If the hole is sizable, cut a piece of gypsum lath to fit and secure it with long lath nails. Paint bonding agent on the old plaster surrounding the hole, wait for about 30 to 60 minutes, mix the mortar and apply a dollop with a putty knife to a depth of no more than half an inch. Let the mortar dry for 30 minutes before applying a second coat (if needed). After letting this dry for another 30 minutes, rough it up and let the whole plaster project sit overnight. Apply finishing plaster the next day and blend the fix into the existing wall.
Remove rust stains. They are unsightly and difficult to remove. Some homeowners go so far as to replace sinks and tubs with extensive rust stains. Not so fast! A simple home repair with natural pumice and elbow grease makes quick work of the reddish stains and presents your bathroom fixtures with a ‘like new” look. A word of warning: it is possible to also use pumice to remove rust from Travertine tiles and grout but because pumice is harder than grout (yet not as hard as porcelain), go easy on the elbow grease to avoid doing damage to the floor or wall.
These simple home repairs may very well save you a few hundred dollars that you can now spend on something much more useful than a handyman’s visit. Why not go and check out that new loveseat you have had your eye on?
Home Tips: “Light Switches & Controls”
More from Sylvia Cochran:
4 Common Mistakes Made During Exterior Siding Repair and How to Avoid Them
How to Fix a Leaky Showerhead in 3 Easy Steps
How to Repair a Crack in the Wall