By: Lisa Kaplan Gordon
Published: September 2, 2011
It’s back-to-school time, and the perfect season to bone up on your home owner basics: standard DIY know-how that’ll keep your household running smoothly, day in and day out.
So here’s your course: Home Maintenance 101. Review them when you can, and practice the techniques to ace the course.
1. Fix a leaky toilet.
Running toilets not only rob sleep, they waste water and jack up your bill. Here’s how to change a flapper — the usual suspect — and solve other likely problems.
2. Repair drywall holes.
The hardest part of drywall repair is making the patch flush with the existing wall. A “pumpkin patch” is an easy repair that cuts down on sanding.
3. Adjust cabinet doors.
Changes in humidity can make cabinet doors rub, refuse to close, or just look cockeyed. Adjusting them is easy and generally requires only a screwdriver.
4. Open a stuck window.
Windows stick when paint, dust, or moisture builds. Use a utility knife (or a pizza cutter) to remove old paint. Be careful not to gouge the wood sash. If high humidity is making windows hard to move, run a humidifier that sucks moisture out of air.
5. Stop a leaking faucet.
A dripping faucet can waste 5 gallons of water per day. If you can’t replace the faulty part immediately, tie a string around the faucet and let it fall into the drain: Dripping water will silently flow down the string.
6. Silence door squeaks.
Take the squeak out of doors by lubricating top and bottom hinges with a little WD-40 or white lithium grease. If you don’t have any on hand, olive oil is a quick but temporary fix.
7. Turn off the main water line.
Don’t wait until water gushes into your house to search for the main water line. When things are calm and dry, locate and practice turning it on and off.