Easy and Cost-Effective DIY Home Repair
As the cost of living increases, DIY home repair makes economic sense. Plus, repairing items instead of buying new ones reduces environmental waste. The following simple maintenance and fix-it tips will save you money on costly repair bills or pricey replacements.
But before you do any DIY home repair and maintenance, start by reading the owners' manual of all your major appliances. This will offer the best maintenance advice for keeping your particular appliance running smoothly. Keep these booklets where you'll easily be able to find them. Already tossed them? Don't fret. Most manufacturers also host owners' manuals online. You'll just need to know the Stock Keeping Unit (SKU) number. If you don't have this, many manufacturers' websites will help you find the right one.
Checked the manual but still need some tips? Read on.
Keep It Hot
No one wants a cold furnace, water heater or clothes dryer. If you've noticed these appliances aren't cutting it, some simple repairs may boost efficiency.
To keep home heating and ventilation systems blowing hot (and cool) air, replace your vent filter once every three months, or once a month if you have pets.
Lint traps don't always catch all the lint in your clothes dryer, increasing the risk of a dryer fire. Once a month, suction out the lint slot itself using your vacuum's fine nozzle. Do additional annual maintenance by unplugging the dryer, disconnecting the tubing behind it and vacuuming it out. Today's Homeowner has a video to help.
Suddenly running out of hot water often points to one thing: a busted water heater. Before it comes to that – and spending hundreds of dollars on a new one – Lowe's offers a step-by-step tutorial for keeping your water heater in working order.
Keep It Clean
Dishwashers and washing machines get rid of grime and gunk. They also collect it. Some ultraquiet dishwashers don't have hard food disposal systems, so you'll have to clean the food trap out yourself or risk it getting clogged. Again, your owner's manual will tell where this is and how to clean it. If your dishwasher still won't drain, follow this advice from SFGate.
To keep washing machines in working order, Family Handyman lists four top fixes that take care of 90 percent of washing machine breakdowns. And remember to use the right detergent. Front-loading high-efficiency washers require specially formulated detergent; otherwise your machine with fill up with suds and not rinse your clothes properly.
Keep It Flowing
Ever have a faucet suddenly stop running? Before you call the plumber, try these DIY home repair tricks. First check to make sure the aerator hasn't become blocked by debris. Unless the inner screw has been stripped, you should be able to easily detach it and clean it out. If your sink has an accessible hose (and most older sinks do), you can remove this and clean it out, as well. Just make sure to turn off your main water supply before doing this. If neither of these methods to the trick, This Old House offers DIY home repair tips for fixing different faucets.
Another common problem is a toilet that seems to run and run. The culprit is usually a broken toilet flapper valve. Handymanhowto.com tells you how to easily fix this annoying issue.
Keep Your Eye on Warranties
To minimize repair costs, purchase appliances with a good repair history. In addition to customer product reviews, laboratory-tested reviews from organizations like Consumer Reports, Good Housekeeping and CNET help you weed out products that may cause more trouble than they're worth.
Real Simple has a handy list of kitchen appliance and houseware companies that offer lifetime warranties. Some home goods stores, such as Bed Bath & Beyond, allow you to search online for small house appliances with lifetime warranties. Even if a product doesn't come with a lifetime warranty, you may be entitled to repair, replacement or a refund, according to What You Need to Know About Warranty Laws, a primer from Consumer Reports.
Consumer Reports has one more great savings suggestion: Instead of spending money on extra warranties, sock that money away in a savings account to be used for routine maintenance and repairs.