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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

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A Quick Coat of PaintFamily Handyman

A Quick Coat of Paint

Almost nothing is quicker, easier or refreshes a room more than a new coat of paint. Even switching up a bright white for a trendy, bright grey can change your whole perspective and give you a starting point for new colors and decoration. Gallons of paint range from $30-$50, and with primer/paint combinations, you will likely only need a gallon or less to finish an average sized room. Add another $10, and you'll be set with rollers, paint brushes, and painter's tape. This painting a room yourself could potentially save you thousands over the cost of a professional painter.
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Repair Any HolesFamily Handyman

Repair Any Holes

So a door knob slammed through the wall after one too many times slamming the door. No need to call your handy contractor. You can easily fix a few holes in your drywall by injecting a setting compound (for smaller holes) or by cutting out the damaged sections and replacing them with new drywall (for larger ones).
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Weatherstripping is EasyFamily Handyman

Weatherstripping is Easy

If you can see light creeping beneath exterior doors, air is also escaping. Grab a few packages of self-adhesive rubber foam weatherstripping and go to town, sealing any and all doors that lead outside. Weatherstripping already installed but you're still suffering from a high gas bill? It might be time to replace the strips installed by the previous owners. Fortunately, it's easy to install weatherstripping yourself.
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How to Restore Your DeckFamily Handyman

How to Restore Your Deck

After a few years, your deck is sure to show some wear and tear and make you feel like you have an ugly deck. Don't rush to replace boards that are otherwise in good condition. With a deck restoration coating and a few days in the sunshine, your deck will look as good as new. Get the full how-to here.
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Repair and Reglaze Windows Family Handyman

Repair and Reglaze Windows

Instead of forking over $5,000-10,000 to replace all of your old windows with brand new ones, consider repairing old windows yourself. With a few hundred dollars in supplies (sand paper, paint, window glaze, etc.), you'll be prepared to reglaze every window in your house. Though it can be a tad time consuming, you can prioritize the project by room, removing windows one by one to paint, reglaze, and, if necessary, replace any cracked glass. Get started glazing your windows here.
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Feed the LawnFamily Handyman

Feed the Lawn

If your yard is mostly grass with just a few weeds, forgo the expensive landscaper. Use lawn fertilizer or weed and feed yourself. With one trip to your local hardware store or plant nursery, you can purchase $25-$50 worth of supplies, spend just a few hours on your lawn, and simply wait for the grass to grow.
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Refinish Your Own HardwoodFamily Handyman

Refinish Your Own Hardwood

Intimidated by this seemingly daunting project? Don't be. If you have the will and a whole day (or two) to yourself, you can refinish the hardwood floors in the major areas of your home. You don't necessarily need to sand, but if the floor is damaged enough to warrant buffing, check out your local hardware store and rent the equipment for anywhere from 4-48 hours. Here's how to refinish your hardwood floors.
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Caulk it!Family Handyman

Caulk it!

It's fun, it's easy, it's caulking. Dirt or mold creeping underneath the clear caulk in your tub? Cut it out and re-caulk. Gaps in old moulding got you down? Add white caulk for a smooth finish. Cheap and easy, there's no reason you shouldn't be doing this yourself.
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Install a Clothes LineAfrica Studio/Shutterstock

Install a Clothes Line

A simple clothesline allows you to dry your clothes for free using the power of the sun instead of expensive electricity. Electric clothes dryers can really put a dent in your pocketbook, especially if you have a large household. While a clothesline does require a bit of manual labor to hang the clothes, you will enjoy a fresh, natural smell in your laundry as well as a reduced utility bill.
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Rent Versus Purchasemuratart/Shutterstock

Rent Versus Purchase

Many DIY projects such as tile removal require a special tool—a jackhammer—that can be quite expensive to purchase. You can rent a tool far cheaper than you can purchase it. Common tools you can rent by the hour or day include pressure washers, jackhammers, hammer drills and carpet cleaners. Chances are good that your local tool rental center will carry the tool you need for your project.
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Fix a Shutoff ValveFamily Handyman

Fix a Shutoff Valve

There's nothing worse than starting a sink or toilet repair only to find that the shutoff valve won't shut off. Some shutoff valves are easy to replace. For those that aren't, turn off the main water valve, remove the packing nut, and then unscrew the stem and take it to the hardware store to find a replacement washer. Clean any grit out of the valve body and pop on the new washer. The valve will work like new.
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Foam a Loose ShowerheadFamily Handyman

Foam a Loose Showerhead

Here's an easy home fix that can be used beyond the bathroom. Fix a wobbly showerhead, or any wobbly pipe, with a few squirts of expanding foam. The foam encases the pipe in the wall and locks it into place, eliminating the wobble, so your showerhead will work like new. Can you think of an easier home fix?
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Woman-cleans-dirty-refrigerator-coils-with-vacuumFamily Handyman

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.

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Cleaning-gas-stove-igniter-with-a-toothbrushFamily Handyman

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.

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Woman-uses-an-Allen-wrench-to-loosen-up-garbage-disposal-jamFamily Handyman

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.

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change air conditioner thermostatFamily Handyman

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!

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Family Handyman

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.

Follow these tips to clean your dishwasher’s filter and spray arm.

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Family Handyman

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