Learn How to Do Home Repair & Why DIY Work Pays Off
If you’re a first-time homeowner, DIY work is a lot easier than you think. Try these projects and find out why it pays off to do your own home repairs
A Quick Coat of Paint
Repair Any Holes
Weatherstripping is Easy
How to Restore Your Deck
Repair and Reglaze Windows
Feed the Lawn
You Can Refinish Your Own Hardwood
Install a Clothes Line
Rent Versus Purchase
Fix a Shutoff Valve
Foam a Loose Showerhead
Refrigerator Repair: Check the Temperature Dial and Cooling Coils
It could be as simple as turning the dial to a cooler setting. Check the controls. Our pro plumber says it’s not uncommon to find that the refrigerator controls are set wrong. Someone may have bumped the dial while putting away the milk or an inquisitive toddler may have twisted the knob. Cooling coils completely caked with pet hair and dust are also incredibly common. Remove the front grille and vacuum the coils.
Gas Stove Repair: Check Stove Power Source
If you don’t hear gas coming out when the burner is turned on, gas isn’t getting to the stove. Check to make sure the gas is turned on. If you hear gas coming out but the burner won’t light, make sure the stove is plugged in. Even gas stoves need power. If the stove is getting gas and has power, clean the igniter near the burner or clean out the pilot light hole.
Garbage Disposer Repair: Turn the Blades to Loosen a Jam
Don’t put tea bags or too many potato peels all at once into your disposer. That’s a sure way to clog it.
All disposers have an overload feature that automatically shuts off the power when the motor becomes overloaded and gets too hot. Once the motor cools, simply push the reset button on the side of or under the unit.
On the other hand, if it hums but doesn’t spin, it may have something stuck in it. Switch the disposer off, then try working through it by turning the blades with a special disposer wrench (sold at home centers) or by turning a bottom bolt. Many disposers have an Allen wrench for that purpose, inset on the bottom of the machine.
A/C Won’t Work: Check the fuses
If your AC won’t come on, the thermostat may be saying no.
If you turn your central air conditioner on, off and then on again in rapid order, chances are you’ll blow a fuse or shut off a circuit breaker or the air conditioner simply won’t respond. That’s because the compressor (in the outdoor condensing unit) may have stopped in a high compression mode, making it difficult to start until the compression releases. Older condensing units may switch the compressor on anyway, which causes the circuit to overload and blow a fuse. Newer, “smarter” condensing units will prevent this blunder by delaying the AC’s “on” function for a few minutes. It’s easy to mistake this delay with a faulty air conditioner. Be patient and give the air conditioner about five minutes to come back on.
To determine if you have a blown fuse, locate the special fuse block near the outside unit. Pull out the block and take the whole thing to the hardware store. A salesperson can test the cartridge fuses and tell you if you need to replace them.
Another simple reason your AC might not come on: You’ve signed up for a cost discount with your electric company in exchange for limited air conditioning during high-demand periods, and you’re in an “off” period. If you can’t remember, call your electric company to find out. You don’t want to pay the repair technician to drive out and explain this program to you!
Dishwasher Won’t Get Dishes Cleans: Do a Dishwasher Deep Clean
If your dishwasher isn’t getting your dishes clean, there’s a good chance you need to clean the filter. If it’s clogged, water can’t make it to the spray arms to clean the dishes in the top rack. Simply pull out the lower rack and remove the filter cover inside the dishwasher. (Check your owner’s manual if you can’t spot the filter.) Then use a wet vacuum to clean off the screen.
Remove Dryer Lint
Built-up lint inside dryer cabinets causes more than 15,000 fires every year in the U.S. To clean the link out of your dryer, you’ll need a 4-in-1 screwdriver, dryer brush and shop vacuum. Follow this step-by-step guide to remove lint from your dryer