Here are 10 repairs that every homeowner should know how to do — for a fraction of the cost of calling a pro. “Some projects might seem a little dirty, but a bar of soap is a lot less expensive than an hour of a handyman’s time,” said Daniel Vannoni, founder of the home-repair website ProperSee.
1. Change a showerhead
Why: “Showerheads can clog with mineral deposits and sediments over time, and newer models have low-flow designs to save on your water consumption without sacrificing the strength of spray,” Vannoni said.
Tools: Crescent wrench or slip-joint pliers and Teflon tape.
Time: Five to 15 minutes.
More help: Home repair expert Barbara K of AOL’s home improvement channel provides guidance in this video titled “How to Change a Showerhead,” on YouTube: www.youtube.com/watch?v=fHBaTCKcYPU
2. Fix a running toilet
Why: It wastes water. This usually indicates that the flapper and sealing flange need a cleaning or replacement.
Tools: A flapper replacement kit from the hardware store.
Time: Five to 15 minutes.
More help: Check out Howcast’s video “How to Fix a Running Toilet” on identifying and fixing your porcelain throne’s issues: http://tinyurl.com/bruqf9d
3. Change a light fixture
Why: Swapping out a light fixture can turn around a room.
Tools: Wire tester, screwdriver, pliers, electrical tape and ladder.
Time: 30 minutes, depending.
More help: Buildipedia’s YouTube video “How to Replace a Light Fixture” gives some safety and DIY tips: http://tinyurl.com/brqblq9
Tip: “Just make sure the circuit is off,” Vannoni says.
4. Stem a washing machine water supply hose leak
Why: The hose and washers need replacing.
Tools: Adjustable locking pliers.
Time: 20 to 30 minutes.
More help: Let home repair guru Ron Hazelton shows you “How to Replace Washing Machine Hoses”: http://tinyurl.com/bqwnmyg
Tips: Rick Johnson, owner of the Sky’s the Limit remodeling company in Groton, Mass., offers three tips: Replace old lines with a set of stainless steel braided lines, which are more durable.
5. Fix cracked ceramic tiles
Why: Safely remove the broken tile to replace with a new one.
Tools: Safety glasses, hammer, chisel, grout saw, adhesive, new tile and grout.
Time: One hour.
More help: Home repair TV host Eric Stromer gives step-by-step instructions to “Replace a Broken Tile” on YouTube: http://tinyurl.com/c8cbstv
Tip: “Do not use good tile edges as leverage to pry the broken one out.”
6. Keep the dishwasher door gasket/seal from leaking
Why: The rubber seal is worn down and needs replacing.
Tools: A new gasket (take the old one to your hardware store along with the dishwasher model number).
Time: 10 to 15 minutes.
More help: RepairClinic.com gives a quick “Door Gasket Replacement” demo: http://tinyurl.com/muh2sg5
Tip: Before replacing, first wipe down the gasket to make sure that food and mineral gook are not preventing a proper seal. Soak new seal in warm water before replacing.
7. Replace the furnace filter
Why: It keeps your air clean, prolongs the life of the appliance and reduces energy costs.
Tools: Just a new filter.
Time: Two seconds (once you identify the filter location).
More help: It really is simple; just check out this “How to Change a Furnace Filter for Dummies” video: http://tinyurl.com/k2agn5c
Tip: If the filter is any color but white, it’s time to replace it. .
8. Fix a leaky faucet
Why: Dripping plumbing wastes water and leads to stains.
Tools: Faucet repair kit, which should include any needed hardware, plus a wrench set and Philips screwdriver.
Time: 20 minutes.
More help: Lowe’s shows you “How to Fix a Leaky Faucet With a Single-Handle Design”: http://tinyurl.com/cohnffp.
Tip: Close the drain and drape a towel at the bottom of the sink to prevent hardware from going down the drain.
9. Regrout your tub
Why: It’s important to remove old grout that’s cracked or moldy to prevent deep-water damage in the wall and floor.
Tools: Screwdriver for scraping as well as grout and a sponge.
Time: 30 to 60 minutes, plus drying time.
More help: Los Angeles contractor Chris Wade demonstrates “How to Regrout a Bathtub” on a flamingo-pink tub: http://tinyurl.com/mfrhaaj
10. Repair small wall holes and dents
Why: Smooth out your wall to prep for a clean paint job.
Tools: Mesh, spackle, putty knife and sandpaper.
Time: 10-plus minutes.
More help: AOL’s Barbara K shows you “How to Patch or Repair a Hole in a Wall”: http://tinyurl.com/cw797am
Tip: “Always prime these areas,” says Joe Kowalski, a training manager and paint expert for Glidden paint.