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If You Know These Things You’re a Genius Homeowner

...and if you don't, now you do!

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fix a leaky faucet sink tapFamily Handyman

How to Fix Leaks and Drips

Two annoying causes of wasted money and water are leaky taps and running toilets. In fact, according to the United States Geological Survey, a leaky faucet at one drip per second equals a loss of five gallons of water every day! Fortunately, both of these are easily remedied by any homeowner and won’t take long to complete. Learn how to fix a leaky faucet, and how to fix a running toilet.

Plus: How to Find and Fix Roof Leaks

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shutterstock_175554785 fix a running toiletLolostock/Shutterstock

How to Fix a Running Toilet

There is a four-step strategy for fixing a running toilet. The fix will not only give your toilet a stronger flush, it can also lower your water bill.

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Watch this video to see some genius homeowner hacks in action:


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shutterstock_519670600 living room wood floors feetg-stockstudio/Shutterstock

How to Fix Squeaky Floors

Silence those squeaky floors. This quick fix for silencing floor squeaks will take you just a day. Bonus: You don’t need any special tools.

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FH03DJA_02848_017 fix a crack in drywallFamily Handyman

How to Fix a Crack in Drywall

It doesn’t matter if your son’s basketball got away from him or you nicked the wall moving a piece of furniture—at some point you’ll be faced with a crack in the drywall. You’ll need a taping knife and utility knife, along with some drywall tape, pre-mixed joint compound and setting type compound to fix the crack so it doesn’t come back.

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FH98APR_01296006 fix cracked groutFamily Handyman

How to Fix Cracked Grout

Even the best tile jobs will succumb to cracking grout at some point. If the grout between your bathroom floor tiles is crumbling, there is a quick fix that will save you from tearing up the floor and starting over.

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shutterstock_342891008 fix washing machine repairDragon Images/Shutterstock

How to Fix an Unbalanced Washing Machine

You threw a heavy load of towels in the washer and now it’s unbalanced. With a level, pliers and a pry bar, you can have the washer balanced again in five minutes.

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Unclog a Toilet With Dish SoapFamily Handyman

Unclog a Toilet With Dish Soap

If the toilet plunger doesn't seem to be doing the trick, try this solution before you reach for the snake. Squirt about 1/2 cup of liquid soap in and let it sit for a while. The liquid soap reduces friction and will often allow the contents of the bowl to slide on through.

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FH08OCT_492_06_035 Water Heater Pilot Light Family Handyman

How to Fix a Water Heater Pilot Light

There could be a few reasons the pilot light on your water heater goes out. A common cause is a bad thermocouple, which shuts off the gas to the pilot light. This simple fix will cost you $20, if you do it yourself.

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HVACFamily Handyman

HVAC

Annual maintenance wards off many HVAC problems. If you do have a failure, you can usually fix it yourself. If your AC unit is working but has become noisy, you can fix that, too! If it's your furnace that needs attention, you can perform routine maintenance, and handle simple repairs yourself. Plus: Learn how to choose furnace filters and how to replace furnace filters yourself.

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Garbage Disposal RepairFamily Handyman

Garbage Disposal Repair

A garbage disposal is a bit scary when it's turned on and the blades are noisily chopping up kitchen waste. But, if your disposal gets stinky, fear not. It's easy to clean out the gunk and get rid of the smell. If the splash guard needs replacing, you can do that in 20 minutes! If you need to replace the entire disposal you can replace it yourself.

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Light SwitchesFamily Handyman

Light Switches

Don't automatically avoid a project just because it involves electricity: Replacing a standard light switch with a dimmer switch is a very doable DIY project, as is replacing a three-way switch.

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DecksFamily Handyman

Decks

Many things can go wrong with a deck. Missing screws, warped boards, squeaky nails, wobbly railings, fortunately, many of these problems are well within the scope of the average DIYer. Inspect your deck for seven common deck problems and then repair whatever needs fixing. Plus: How to remove flaking deck stain.

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Fix WindowsFamily Handyman

Fix Windows

Obviously you can't glue broken glass back together. But, for windows that get stuck, let in drafts or have moisture issues, there are DIY solutions. Fix old windows, double-hung windows, window glass glazing and screens. You can also stop window drafts and learn how to avoid and remove window condensation. If you want to take on a larger task, you can even replace your windows!

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How to Replace a Toilet

How to Replace a Toilet

Whether you're installing a better-flushing toilet or resetting the old one after remodeling, these DIY home improvement tips will help you do it faster and with fewer problems. Click here for a step-by-step guide to replacing a toilet.

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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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Family Handyman

A Solution for a Small Leak

Some roof leaks are tough to locate. Sometimes the water shows up at a ceiling spot distant from the leak. If your ceiling has a plastic vapor barrier between the drywall and the attic insulation, push the insulation aside and look for flow stains on the plastic. Often water runs to openings in the vapor barrier, such as at ceiling light fixtures.

If you can’t see any telltale flow marks, and since the stain is fairly small, look at the underside of the roof for ‘shiners.’ A shiner is a nail that missed the framing member, in this case when the carpenter nailed the roof sheathing to the rafters. Moisture that escapes into the cold attic from the rooms below often condenses on cold nails. Sometimes you can spot this if you climb up into your attic on a cold night. The nails will look white because they’re frosted. When the attic heats up a bit during the day, the frost melts and drips, then the nails frost up at night again and so on. The solution is to simply clip the nail with a side-cutting pliers.

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lubricate a lock with a pencil

Know How to Fix a Sticky Lock

Don’t give up on a sticky lock, you can fix it with a pencil! Simply rub the teeth of your key with the pencil, coating it generously with graphite. Insert the key in the lock, which will deposit the lubricant inside. Repeat as needed until the key glides in smoothly.

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replacing light fixture

Fix a Broken Light Fixture

Replacing a light fixture is one of those DIY jobs that’s theoretically quick and simple, but often becomes a three-hour series of problems. We talked with two of our master electricians. They’ve seen all of those frustrations and offered these tips to help DIYers through the job quicker and safer.

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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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air conditionerFamily Handyman

Air Filter

It is instinctual for homeowners to contact an HVAC tech when they notice irregularities in their cooling or heating system. These irregularities could be a direct result of a dirty or clogged air filter. We encourage homeowners to check their filters and replace if necessary. It’s also beneficial for homeowners with pets, carpet, or for homes near fields or construction zones to have multiple filters for convenient replacement.

Pro Tip: Mark your calendars! 1-in. filters should be changed every month, 2-in. filters should be changed every two months and 4 to 5-in. filters should be changed every six to 12 months.

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shutterstock_301521827 washer and dryer closetArtazum/Shutterstock

Clothes Dryer Repair

Most dryer problems can be fixed in an hour with a few basic tools and a continuity tester or multimeter, and you can do the work yourself with these simple instructions. Get the clothes dryer repair guide.

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Restore Free Flow to a FaucetFamily Handyman

Restore Free Flow to a Faucet

When a kitchen or bathroom faucet loses pressure or starts spraying to the side, it's usually due to a dirty aerator screen. Luckily, cleaning a screen is an easy job. Start this fix by closing the drain plug (so you don't drop parts down the drain). Then remove the aerator using a rag or masking tape so you don't mar the finish with your pliers. To remove the sand and other deposits, soak the aerator in vinegar, then scrub it with a toothbrush. This usually solves the problem. If you have to disassemble the aerator to clean it, lay out the parts in the order you removed them so you can reassemble them correctly. Still having issues? Do a showerhead deep clean.

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Family Handyman

How to Adjust Oven Temperatures

If your oven cooking times are off, recalibrate your oven temperature to match an accurate oven thermometer. The procedure is in your oven’s instruction manual. Learn how to adjust oven temperatures.

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Family Handyman

Electric Stove Repair

You can solve most electric range burner problems yourself and avoid the expensive service call. It’s quick and easy to replace a burner or bad burner socket. Read the electric stove repair tips.

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How to Remove Carpet Yourself

How to Remove Carpet Yourself

Depending on where you live, an installer will charge $3 to $5 per square yard for tear-out. By removing the carpet from a 12 x 15-ft. room, you'll save $60 to $100 for an hour's work. Talk to your installer to find out exactly what you'll save by doing it yourself.

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You Can Refinish Your Own HardwoodFamily Handyman

You Can 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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How to Fix Roof VentsFamily Handyman

How to Fix Roof Vents

Check for cracked housings on plastic roof vents and broken seams on metal ones. You might be tempted to throw caulk at the problem, but that solution won't last long. There's really no fix other than replacing the damaged vents. Also look for pulled or missing nails at the base's bottom edge. Replace them with rubber-washered screws. In most cases, you can remove nails under the shingles on both sides of the vent to pull it free. There will be nails across the top of the vent too. Usually you can also work those loose without removing shingles. Screw the bottom in place with rubber-washered screws. Squeeze out a bead of caulk beneath the shingles on both sides of the vent to hold the shingles down and to add a water barrier. That's much easier than renailing the shingles.

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Family Handyman

Sand Stainless Steel Appliances

Buff out ugly scratches in your shiny stainless steel appliances, using fine sandpaper and rubbing compound. Learn how to sand stainless steel appliances.

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Fix a Wallpaper SeamFamily Handyman

Fix a Wallpaper Seam

If you have a wallpaper seam that's coming apart, reactivate the paste around the gap with a rag soaked in warm water. Hold the rag over the area for a minute or two, and then carefully open the gap a little larger so you'll have more room for the sealer. Squeeze seam sealer (white glue works in a pinch) into the gap, and press the paper to the wall with a roller. Clean off the excess sealer with a sponge.

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Straighten a Bent BlindFamily Handyman

Straighten a Bent Blind

Unmangle mangled mini-blinds with a mini-blind slat straightener. Just slide it over the damaged slat and squeeze. The product, called the MiniBlindRx, works on 1-in. metal slats and is available for about $10.

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WallsFamily Handyman

Walls

Drywall is everywhere and it is surprisingly easy to damage. The good news is that the average drywall ding or hole can be easily patched. Cracks in drywall are also easy to fix. Got popped drywall nails or screws? You can fix those, too!

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DoorsFamily Handyman

Doors

A variety of problems can befall your home's doors, especially older doors that may start to sag, stick, develop drafts or experience other issues. Fixing or replacing a door is well within the capabilities of most homeowners, especially if you have a partner to help out. From installing new weather stripping to replacing the lock, you can handle it. Watch this video to see how simple it is to replace an interior door yourself.

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Cheater's Chair FixFamily Handyman

Cheater's Chair Fix

This easy home fix is one you'll definitely want to keep handy! Trying to keep a rickety old chair together without going through the trouble of taking it apart and regluing it? The simple home fix is to just drill pilot holes and drive trim-head screws through the bottom of the rungs and into the legs. Here's another way to fix a wobbly chair.

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Stripped Screws? No ProblemFamily Handyman

Stripped Screws? No Problem

A stripped screw can turn a 10-minute fix into a two-hour nightmare. One of the best investments a DIYer can make is a screw extraction kit. It comes with three different size bits and costs about $20. One side of the extractor bit reams a hole into the screw, and the other side has reverse threads that dig into the screw as you turn it out. Buy one of these incredible kits from Amazon.

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holes in sidingFamily Handyman

How to Fix Holes in Siding

Nail holes in aluminum and vinyl siding are tough to repair without replacing the entire piece, but a squirt of color-matched caulk from a siding supplier will solve the problem for a lot less money and aggravation.

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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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How to Repair a Refrigerator

How to Fix Broken Refrigerator

Simple fixes for the four most common refrigerator problems: an ice-maker breakdown, water leaking onto the floor, a cooling failure and too much noise. Chances are, you can solve the problem yourself, save some money and avoid the expense and inconvenience of a service appointment. The following article will walk you through the simplest solutions to the most common fridge malfunctions. Learn how to repair a refrigerator here.

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stripped screw holes

How to Fill Holes on Kitchen Cabinets

If a screw turns but doesn’t tighten, the screw hole is stripped. Here’s a quick remedy: Remove the screw and hardware. Dip toothpicks in glue, jam as many as you can into the hole and break them off. You don’t have to wait for the glue to dry or drill new screw holes; just go ahead and reinstall the hardware by driving screws right into the toothpicks.

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Family Handyman

How to Fix a Leaking Bathtub

You don’t have to put up with the slow drip from a leaky faucet, nor with the growing stain it often leaves in the tub or shower. Fix it now and you’ll prevent those headaches and save on you water bill too. The entire job, with special tools, may set you back a bit of cash, but doing it yourself is a lot cheaper than hiring a plumber, and usually much cheaper and easier than tearing out the old faucet and installing a new one.

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HH Handy Hint fog free mirror car waxFamily Handyman

Fog-Free Mirrors 

Prevent your bathroom mirror from fogging up after a hot shower with car wax. Apply a small amount of car wax to the mirror, let it dry, then buff with a soft, dry cloth.

Expert tips that add up to big savings on your next bath remodel.

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Easier gutter cleaning with a spatulaFamily Handyman

Easier Gutter Cleaning

An old plastic spatula makes a great tool for cleaning debris from gutters! It doesn’t scratch up the gutter, and you can cut it to fit gutter contours with snips. Grime wipes right off the spatula too, making cleanup a breeze.

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Remove a Tree Stump Painlessly

We’ll show you how to remove a tree stump without breaking your back. This method is safe and effective, and doesn’t require a lot of manual labor. But you have to be patient. The process can take several weeks.