10 Easy Repairs Never to Pay Someone Else For

The joys of homeownership are many—as are the little everyday challenges. The occasional leak or break is bound to happen, but there's no reason why these minor issues should ruin your positive outlook. Instead of shelling out cash for a contractor whenever a surprise crops up, use this handy guide to help you identify and repair easy projects all on your own.

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  1. Squeaky Door Hinge

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    No one loves a squeaky door. To silence yours once and for all, fix the hinge pin. Use pliers to pull out the pin, then coat it in a thin layer of petroleum jelly, a nonstaining lubricant. Tap the pin back into place, then wipe off any excess. Now, say goodbye to that creaky sound! 


    Related:  7 House Sounds You Never Want to Ignore

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  2. Old Electrical Outlets

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    Here's one fix everyone should know, because a broken outlet now could lead to an electrical fire later! If an outlet is visibly cracked or your lamps flicker when you touch the cord, replace the outlet. Before you start, turn off the power to the outlet and use a voltage tester to ensure that electricity is not flowing. Then, simply swap out the old outlet for a new one, making sure first to check the wires for fraying and damage.


    Related:  8 Warning Signs of Dangerously Outdated Electrical Wiring

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  3. Leaky Pipe

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    A leaky faucet may be annoying, but a leak under the sink is even worse. It's not uncommon for sediment to clog the P-trap, building pressure and causing leaks. Fortunately, you can easily fix a leaky P-trap without ever calling a plumber. First, place a bucket underneath the pipes to catch any trapped water. Then, loosen the nuts on the pipe and remove the P-trap. Dump out the sediment that's settled and reattach the pipe. Now your sink should be leak-free!

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  4. Drywall Patches

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    It's easy enough to damage a wall, but fixing it? Well, that can be slightly more difficult, but drywall patching rarely warrants a call to the contractor. Repairing small holes requires only spackling paste and touch-up paint. And while larger holes demand a commensurately greater investment of time and materials, the fix remains within reach of average do-it-yourselfers. Click now for step-by-step instructions on how to patch drywall holes, large and small.

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  5. Running Toilet

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    Though it's advanced by leaps and bounds internationally, toilet technology in the United States has changed very little since the early 1900s. Even though the mechanics are therefore straightforward, many people still consider a toilet's inner workings to be somewhat mysterious. Commit yourself to the repair, however, and you may be pleasantly surprised to find that it's pretty easy to fix a running toilet. So, don't call the plumber—just read the how-to.

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  6. Furnace Troubleshooting

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    If your furnace isn't getting the job done, there are strategies to try before calling in the pros. The three most common fixes? First, make sure your thermostat is set to "heat." Sure, it sounds obvious, but check anyway. Look over the furnace filter too, and also check to see if your thermostat needs new batteries. For even more easy fixes, read how to troubleshoot a furnace on the fritz.


    Related:  7 Reasons Homeowners Switch to Radiant Heating

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  7. Clogged Drain

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    The next time a clogged drain in the shower disrupts your morning routine, know that it's not the end of the world. In fact, this is a fix you can address yourself—for the cost of a plastic snake. Pull out the stopper or drain grate, and use the snake to drag out the gunk that's stopping the water flow. If you have an old home with galvanized pipes, steer clear of the snake, which can damage weak pipes. Instead, opt for a gentler method, such as pouring hot water down the drain to melt away blockages.


    Related:  The Complete Illustrated Guide to Unclogging a Drain

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  8. Unclogging the Garbage Disposal

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    The garbage disposal is useful for washing away small plate scraps, but don't treat it like a trash can. Dumping too much stuff, or sending waste that's too fibrous down the drain, can clog the disposal. If this happens, use a stick (never your hands) to dislodge it—from both the top and the bottom. For more tips, check out this video tutorial.


    Related:  7 Kitchen Sink Sins to Avoid

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  9. Replacing Window Screens

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    A snag in a mesh window screen is an open invitation to outdoor pests, from spiders to mice. But there's no need to go out and buy a new screen, or even to call in a professional to handle it. Simply pull out the old mesh, fit the frame with new material, and rest easy with your windows open once more.


    Related:  How to Replace a Window Screen

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  10. Sticky Windows

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    If you've ever lived in an old home, chances are you've had to deal with your fair share of sticky windows. Due to changes in humidity and temperature, old windows can expand and warp over time, causing them to get stuck in the window frame. To fix the window yourself, carefully use a hammer to drive a block of wood between the window and the track. Then, rub candle wax into the tracks to help keep the sashes sliding.


    Related:  Fast Fixes for Sticky Double-Hung Windows

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