DIY Building & Installing

11 Things Your Contractor Won’t Tell You for Free

While some home improvement and maintenance projects require professional help, others are easy enough to do yourself. But most homeowners can’t get through a DIY job without some advice and guidance—which, unfortunately, a contractor won’t give you for free. Don't worry; we’ve got you covered. Here are 11 common home improvement questions, with answers that you typically would have to pay for.

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What Size Water Heater Do I Need?

Water heaters last from 8 to 12 years, which means that most homeowners will need to replace one at some point during their tenure. This leads to a common question: What size water heater do I need? A plumbing or HVAC contractor probably won’t inform you about specifications without a paid service call, so find the answers in this handy shopping guide instead.

Related: 10 Things Your Contractor May Not Be Telling You

Should I Put a Whole-House Humidifier on My HVAC?

A humidifier makes your home more comfortable during the cold and dry winter months. You can probably retrofit a humidifier onto your HVAC, but a contractor won’t tell you the details without a paid home visit. Before picking up the phone, find out more about whole-house humidifiers here.

Related: 9 Sneaky Ways to Cut Your Home Heating Bills

Can I Knock Down This Wall?

Starting a renovation? With enough time and money, capable homeowners can remove a load-bearing wall (and replace it with a structural beam) without professional help. Read this article to find out expected costs and preferred methods.

Related: The 7 Worst Reasons to Renovate Your Home

How Can I Unfreeze My Pipes?

Once a pipe has frozen, homeowners need to act quickly to prevent bursts and leaks. Fortunately, this task requires simply locating the frozen pipe, flushing your water system, and applying heat to the pipe—none of which require professional help (unless, of course, a pipe has already burst). Learn more about how to thaw frozen pipes here.

Related: 23 Brilliant Hacks to Help You Weather Winter

What Type of Insulation Should I Get?

Insulating your home saves on energy bills by reducing heat transfer. When choosing new insulation, homeowners must think about their climate, home construction, installation method, and a variety of other factors. A contractor can make a site visit to help you out, but you can also find the necessary information in our guide to energy-efficient insulation.

Related: The Pros and Cons of Today’s Most Popular Insulation

Should I Upgrade My Electrical Wiring?

Damaged electrical wiring is a fire and shock hazard. If you suspect that you have outdated wiring in your home, take a look at these guidelines—then call a licensed electrician to fix any problems you find.

Related: 13 Home Improvements That Are Illegal to DIY

Why Is My Toilet Running?

Most toilet maintenance problems are fast fixes, but a plumber won’t walk you through the steps over the phone. Before seeking professional help for a running toilet, troubleshoot with the help of this how-to guide.

Related: 12 Things Your Plumber Wishes You Knew

Why Is My AC Not Cooling?

Come summertime, many homeowners have to deal with uncooperative air conditioners. If you notice that your AC fan is blowing warm air, troubleshoot with this guide before spending big bucks on an AC technician. The problem could be something as simple as an improperly set thermostat or a dirty filter.

Related: 11 Air Conditioning Mistakes That Spike Your Bills

How Can I Stop My Wood Floor From Squeaking?

Is a squeaky wood floor driving you crazy? A contractor will need to make a site visit to find the root of the problem, so before you call in the pros, check out these instructions for a DIY solution.

Related: The 7 Best Low-Cost Alternatives to Hardwood Flooring

How Do I Install a Programmable Thermostat?

An energy-efficient programmable thermostat can save you lots of money on your heating and cooling bills. Installing one yourself is relatively simple with the help of this step-by-step guide—all you need is a screwdriver and some masking tape!

Related: 9 Energy-Saving Home Upgrades That Pay for Themselves

How Do I Shut Down My Sprinkler System for the Winter?

When the frigid weather kicks in, it’s time to shut down your sprinkler system to prevent frozen pipes and costly damage. Instead of hiring a landscaper for the job, learn how to winterize your lawn irrigation system yourself with a few simple steps.

Related: Winterize Your Lawn and Garden in 7 Steps

Do It Yourself

Expert advice is helpful for these projects, but it doesn’t mean you need to hire someone to do them. There are plenty of household repairs that are easy enough for you to fix, so don’t hesitate! If you do come across issues or questions you can always rely on for assistance.