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Common DIY Home Repairs to Save You Money

November 21, 2018

Buying a home is a big expense. You’re committing to a large down payment followed by mortgage payments for years to come. Because of this, you probably want to pinch your pennies where you need to, to ensure the house doesn’t end up costing you a lot more.

Many homeowners cut costs by doing simple chores and repairs themselves. By DIYing instead of hiring help, you are not only saving money, but you are also working at improving your home using your own two hands.

So, which DIY repairs and chores should you attempt on your own home? Here are the most common:

The toilet lever and mechanism

Toilet won’t flush? Don’t call a plumber — well, at least not until you’ve taken a good look at it yourself. With just a simple tool kit, you can repair or replace your toilet’s flushing mechanism.

Take the lid off the tank and look inside. Is the chain detached? That’s an easy fix. However, if the mechanism has corroded, you may have to replace the parts. Again, don’t call a plumber — you can easily source these parts yourself at a local hardware and plumbing store. Remove and replace using a wrench, and flush away, my friend.

Clogged toilet

More toilet trouble? A clog is a dirty job, but not one worth calling a plumber over. Toilets get clogged — it’s a part of life in the modern world. This is why everyone with indoor plumbing (owners and renters) need to have a plunger. That said, there are some clogs that just won’t budge, no matter how much you plunge. When you have a stubborn clog, get a toilet auger.

If you don’t have either of these tools, try squirting some grease-fighting dish soap into the bowl, wait, then flush. This trick works in a pinch, as long as the clog isn’t too bad. If it is, you’d better run to the store for some supplies.

Leaky pipes

If there is water dripping under your sink or into your ceiling, that is trouble. A slow leak can be quite damaging, as it often takes time to notice. Most of the time under-the-sink leaks are caused by eroded washers or loose compression nuts. To repair, shut off the water to the sink using the valve, place a bucket underneath, and twist the compression nut off. You can also clean the curved pipe, while you have it off. You may need to replace the whole section of pipe, or just the washer. Once that’s done, put the pipe back on and tighten the compression nut.

Light switch

While it’s always recommended that you hire a licensed electrician for any job involving your electrical system, there are some that the average homeowner can DIY. For instance, light switches are very easy to replace — so there’s no reason to call in the pros.

First off, turn off the electricity through your breaker. Remove the switch plate using the appropriate screwdriver. You then remove the switch using another screwdriver. Test the attached wires — make sure they aren’t live — and then remove them from the old switch and reattach to the new one. Put everything back together, and you’re good to turn the electricity to the switch back on.

Patching holes

Most homes have holes in the walls — mostly from nails and screws (from hanging pictures and such). For small holes like this, you just need to apply some putty to the area, allow it to dry, sand it smooth, and then apply paint.

For larger holes, such as one that might have been created by a door knob, you will cut out the section of wall, then cut a piece of drywall from scraps to fit the space, adhere it with drywall tape, cover the seams with a compound, and allow it to dry before sanding it and repainting the section.

Loosen stuck windows and doors

If your windows or patio doors are stuck and don’t slide nicely anymore, try loosening them using a putty knife and some spray lubricant, such as WD-40. Sometimes windows get stuck because dirt and debris build up in the track, creating resistance when you try to slide it. Once you get it loose, clean out the track.


This one is a good end-of-fall chore that every homeowner with a traditional-style house needs to do. The eaves are designed to move water from the roof to the ground, away from the house, to prevent flooding. The trouble is that during the fall, leaves and debris get trapped in there, too, making it harder for the water to drain. Clean out the debris before the first frost so that the wet leaves won’t freeze — causing more issues during the winter months.

These are just a few of the home repairs and chores you should do yourself. It can be fun, taking a bit of pride in your accomplishments. Save the calls to the professionals for big jobs and do the small stuff yourself. All you need is a tool box, some elbow grease and some determination.

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