Now that we’ve lived in our house for several months, problems are starting to crop up. Some will require a handyman or even a major replacement, but others are things I’m learning to fix myself. My husband’s first response to most issues is to suggest calling the handyman, which is weird because his dad was a plumber. My first response is to see if we can fix it ourselves. Usually, it’s faster to do it ourselves, and a lot cheaper. Here are a few examples:

Quick Sink Repairs
The faucet had a slow leak for a few days before I discovered the cabinet under the sink was full of water. I mopped that up and then tracked down the source of the problem. I finally determined, after a few minutes of testing, that it was the connector between the pull-out faucet and the hose. When I unscrewed it, white tape came off. My husband’s best friend happened to be over and confirmed that we needed Teflon tape. We also need a new faucet head eventually because the buttons are cracked, but the tape would fix the leak pronto. Off I went to Ace Hardware. Ten minutes and 89 cents later, the problem was solved. We would have paid the handyman $50 for that.

Toilet Repairs
We have two toilet problems. One is a slow leak, which is evidenced by gasping noises from the tank. We happen to have air bubbles in our pipes right now, which made it very easy to look into the tank and see exactly where the leak is coming from. I consulted our home repair manual and will be buying a new set this weekend to install in our toilet.

The other problem was a clog. A really stubborn clog. Again, my husband wanted to call the handyman, but I didn’t want to pay $50 for a toilet clog. Instead, I consulted the internet. First I tried putting dish soap down the toilet, but that didn’t work. After bailing out the sudsy water, I consulted the home repair manual, which recommended a closet auger (toilet auger). Off to OSH I went, where I also stocked up on gardening supplies. That night, we tried the auger, but couldn’t figure it out. I called my dad, who said to keep trying. Back I went to the internet.

I love the internet. Several plumbers have posted videos showing you how to use the auger. I watched both videos, then returned to the bathroom. It was a struggle, and one of those occasions when three hands really would have been helpful, but I did it.

Cheap Weatherstripping
Our windows had terrible drafts. Again, I consulted the home repair manual to determine my options, then went to Home Depot to buy weatherstripping. It was simple to pop it into place and the room instantly felt warmer. It cost me just about $20 for the supplies and took maybe half an hour.

We could have spent far more getting a handyman in to fix those items, but it’s a lot cheaper to learn to use tools so you can solve them yourself. Especially since most of these problems tend to occur at the worst time – like Christmas. You don’t want to pay for a plumber on Christmas!

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