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Written By Ellie BrooksPublished 11/10/22
Every home has a few outstanding small repair jobs. Maybe there’s that loose door on the kitchen cabinet, the stubborn bathroom sink that drains too slowly, or the gutter that was damaged in a bad storm. You can always shell out for a small repairs service, but many improvement projects are perfectly manageable for the average homeowner. Save your money for the most expensive home repairs and tackle the smaller jobs on your own.
Below are ten affordable fixes for common home problems. You’ll save money initially by taking on these projects yourself, but many of these jobs translate to future savings in the years down the line. Some improve the energy efficiency of your home, reducing the amount you spend on energy costs. Others will prevent more serious and expensive problems, such as water damage, from befalling your home.
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Insulating your doors and windows doesn’t have to be a costly endeavor. Some insulation and weatherproofing solutions are exceptionally cheap but can still bring down your energy bill by as much as 20%.
When cold weather arrives, apply weatherstripping where your window sashes meet the frames. Install door sweeps on doors that open outside or into uninsulated spaces, such as the garage. Trap in heat or block drafts in interior rooms by setting down door snakes.
If your windows are old and drafty, consider plugging up gaps with caulking. You can also seal off the entire window without blocking natural light by applying plastic film to the interior. If you’re willing to spend a little more money, you can install window inserts or upgrade your window treatments with some insulating curtains.
Your laundry dryer is likely affixed with a flexible hose that vents moisture and heat outside your home. Over time, this vent becomes clogged with lint and hair, making the dryer less efficient and increasing the chance of a home fire.
Cleaning your dryer vent is a simple task, and the improved efficiency of your machine might result in modest savings. Move the dryer away from the wall, unplug it, and set down a drop cloth or old towel under both ends of the hose. Use a screwdriver to disconnect the hose from the wall and the dryer. Use a vacuum cleaner attachment to clear out any debris inside. You can also use a broomstick to gently push clogs out.
Caulking breaks down over time and should be stripped and replaced every five years or so. Examine the condition of your caulking in your bathroom, kitchen, and home’s exterior. If it’s mildewy, wearing away, or otherwise degrading, it’s time to replace it.
Apply a caulk-removing solution per the manufacturer’s instructions. Then you can use a specialized tool or a simple utility knife to strip the old caulk away. If there are some lingering pieces, soften them with more solution, rubbing alcohol, or even the heat from a hair dryer.
To apply new caulk, first clean the surface with some rubbing alcohol or other cleaner that is safe for the underlying material. Use a caulk gun and slowly and evenly push the caulk to create an attractive and effective seal.
Note that there are different kinds of caulk, and some varieties are better suited for some applications. Silicone caulk, for example, is great for kitchens and bathrooms. Polyurethane caulk is better for exterior windows and doors.
Your home’s heating system needs a little attention from time to time. Professional servicing is an important part of furnace or HVAC maintenance, but something you can handle is replacing the filter. Most manufacturers recommend replacing your HVAC or furnace filter every three months, but your home’s environmental conditions may demand more frequent changings. Consider replacing your filter every one or two months if your appliances are old or if the air in your area has a high volume of particulate matter.
Staying on top of your filter replacements will extend the lifespan of your appliances and lead to cleaner air throughout your home.
Most sinks that are slow to drain are just clogged with hair and gunk. Instead of paying for a plumber, run a snake down the drain to dislodge foreign material. For tough clogs, you can shut off the water and remove the P-trap under the sink.
Home attics and basements are responsible for a fair amount of heat loss. If your attic ceiling, walls, or floor are exposed, consider installing some fiberglass or mineral wool insulation. As long as you dress appropriately with long clothing, gloves, protective eyewear, and a facemask, installing insulation of this nature does not require the help of a professional.
You can do the same on your basement walls and ceiling. Don’t forget the windows, either. If your attic and basement have windows, apply some weatherstripping or plastic film to keep the heat in.
A leaky faucet is a nuisance. Save money on plumbing repair by tackling the project yourself. In most cases, you simply need to replace a worn O-ring or seat washer. Shut off the water, disassemble the faucet assembly, and slide out the cartridge or valve stem. Replace the worn component, put everything back together, and call it a day.
Clogged or broken gutters can facilitate water damage on your home’s roof, siding, and foundation. Clean your gutters at least once per year to keep them free of debris. If a segment of your gutter or downspout is damaged or missing, install a replacement section as soon as possible.
Water heaters and softeners tend to accumulate mineral deposits, and they can also be susceptible to overgrowths of bacteria. This can lead to all kinds of problems, from foul-smelling water to appliance breakdowns.
Check on your appliances often, and when things look a little grungy or start to smell, flush and clean the tanks. Sometimes flushing with water is enough, but you can use a specialized cleaning solution or even some distilled vinegar to kill bacteria.
You don’t need to be Michelangelo to paint your home. Get some drop cloths, rollers, brushes, primer, and paint of your choosing and get to work. Even small touchups to your home’s exterior can stave off water damage or wood rot.
If you have a wooden porch or deck, also consider applying a coat of stain.
You’re capable of more than you might think, but no one can do everything. Sometimes you need professional help when a critical appliance or home system breaks down. Liberty Home Guard is there when you need us. Submit a claim on our website, and we’ll have a licensed tech to your home in a flash. Want more info? Call (866)-432-1283.