It’s only been 50 years since the roles of men and women began to change. For centuries, women cared for children and household chores, while men were gainfully employed and took care of home repairs. Things have changed dramatically in the past 20 years. In 1999, DIY (Do It Yourself) appeared on Cable Networks encouraging homeowners — men and women — to learn how to make repairs on their own by providing step-by-step guides. DIY has evolved to the point that many episodes are now hosted by women who know how to swing a hammer and much more. Such DIY programs have become hugely popular and people are saving on home repairs by learning how to make them on their own, much to the chagrin of repair industry workers.
This article will look at some low-cost practices that help savvy homeowners save money on home repairs. Sadly, DIY techniques are not taught when buying a home, but are worthwhile money-saving practices for new homeowners.
- Save your manuals for all tools and appliances. Sounds ridiculous, but many people (i.e. men) don’t realize how valuable such manuals will become. Simply take the time to store them all in one place, file, or binder so you can easily reference them in the future. This relates to appliances, tools, or any other items you purchase. If it comes with a manual, save it!
- In the event you can’t locate it, go online to the manufacturer’s website with the model number of the item. Many manufacturers will allow you to download a manual you may have tossed in earlier years.
- If you paid for it with a credit card, you may be able to make a claim against the extended warranty of your credit card. Looking for a credit card that offers extended warranty on new purchases? SuperMoney allows you to filter through hundreds of credit cards by selecting the features that matter the most to you.
- Visit a home supply store like Home Depot or Lowe’s. They are a valuable asset for homeowners and have a wealth of information to assist people in resolving home problems. Before resorting to hiring a technician, make sure it’s not something you can do on your own with a few pointers from a knowledgeable store assistant.
- Be sure to evaluate whether or not the repair cost is worth as much or more than just buying a new unit. Don’t spend more than 50 percent of the value of a new appliance in repairing an old one.
- If experiencing low water pressure at your faucets, unscrew the nozzle to check the aerator to make sure it isn’t clogged. Minerals and debris can get caught inside and oftentimes, a simple cleaning out will restore your water pressure.
- Does it seem your refrigerator is not staying cool? The two most common reasons are the temperature dial has been lowered by accident (bumping it when using the appliance) or forgetting to clean the cooling coils. They are located behind the grill cover at the bottom. Remove the grill and vacuum the coils on a monthly basis. It’s easy for dust, animal hair, and food crumbs to slide under the refrigerator and hinder the coils performance.
- When it feels as though your heater isn’t working, the problem can be as simple as a dirty air filter. Your calendar should remind you to check your air filters on a monthly basis. Or if you have an air return vent on the floor, make sure it’s not covered by an area rug or piece of furniture. This cold air return is critical to keeping warm air circulating in your home.
- A common problem with electrical stoves is finding the coil not working. Typically this has to do with cleaning. If you recently gave the stove a good cleaning, make sure when you returned the coils that the terminals are firmly connected to the receptacles. Many electricians get called in to fix a “broken” burner, only to discover it was not securely attached.
- Never underestimate the power of good insulation. Simply adding insulation in your attic can reduce your energy bills. This will not only cut down on your energy bills. It will also prolong the useful life of products that break down under the strain caused by lousy insulation.
- Check your drywall to see if it is moist or moldy. This is quite simple. Just look to see if there are any gray or yellow streaks running along any of your walls to see if there is a problem. Replacing drywall or repairing a leak will save you a great deal of money.
- As much as it might seem a hassle, hire a plumber to inspect your home every 5 years or so. A plumber can identify problems before they become a real issue. It’s worth the money! You could save thousands of dollars by having a plumber take a look at your water areas, such as bathrooms, laundry rooms, sinks, and kitchen area.
- Be aware of your windowsill area. In many regions of the country, there is the potential for windowsill rot and early detection can save you from having to replace the entire windowsill. Sometimes all it takes is a new piece of wood and some exterior window sill caulk.
- Many people are not aware of how important it is to regularly clean and maintain their AC unit. It’s important to check it regularly and clean out any debris that appears inside. It doesn’t cost you anything to clean out your unit, but it will make it more efficient and avoid long-term problems with the unit.
- If you want to avoid electrical problems, it’s important to occasionally turn your breakers to the “off” position and wait about 10 seconds and turn them back on. Amazingly enough, this simple action will help break down any corrosion on the circuit breaker contacts. Such corrosion could lead to a problem breaker, which can cost up to $500 to replace in addition to the labor cost of hiring an electrician.
- Should you notice a leaking pipe, take the time to locate its source. Quite often the leak is coming from the packing nut at the valve and can be slightly tightened to stop it. If this doesn’t work, then turn off the main water valve, remove the handle and nut to see if the nut needs replacing. Take the old nut to a hardware store to make sure you get the correct size and check with store staff for advice. If all this fails, then it’s time to call a plumber!
- If you want to prevent problems with your washing machine, add a standpipe. There is an area behind your washing machine where water drains out from a hose when the cycle is complete. Installing a standpipe prevents the water from spraying behind the washer and can prevent thousands of dollars in repairs.
Ready to purchase a new home? Looking for a mortgage? SuperMoney’s free expert and consumer reviews will help you filter through the hundreds of available lenders and find the one that best meets your needs.