Do-It-Yourself Home Repair 101 – Part 2
Although many repairs require the specialized knowledge of a professional, there are some you can do yourself with a little education, a great home repair reference book, and a sense of adventure. The do-it-yourself approach can also save you a lot of time and money. Here are the solutions to three additional common problems:
Problem #3: Whenever you use the toaster oven, it trips a circuit breaker.
Solution: The first thing to do is determine whether anything else shuts off along with the toaster. If other appliances lose power as well, then a circuit was probably overloaded, and you should call an electrician (this will cost about $100 minimum for a house call and an hour of labor). If nothing else loses power, the problem is within the toaster itself, and it will need to be replaced. Note: To reset the circuit breaker after it’s been tripped, locate the switch in the circuit breaker panel that’s in the off or middle position. Flip it all the way off and then all the way to the on position.
Problem #4: The toilet won’t stop running.
Solution: A toilet that runs wastes hundreds of gallons of water a week, according to Gene and Katie Hamilton, authors of Home Improvement for Dummies. To fix this problem, purchase a toilet repair kit for about $15. Once you’ve purchased the kit, turn off the water supply to the toilet (the shutoff valve is located behind the toilet), and flush the toilet to empty the water out of the tank. Then install the kit according to the enclosed directions, and reconnect the water line once you’re finished.
Problem #5: The front door won’t lock unless you slam it shut.
Solution: If you’re knocking pictures off the wall because you have to slam your door to get it to lock, the first thing to look for is whether or not the strike plate (the small metal piece attached to the door frame) is positioned properly. The bolt on the door should easily interlock with the strike plate when the door is closed. If it doesn’t, the strike plate needs to be reset so that the bolt can rest centered between the top and bottom of the plate. If this doesn’t solve the problem, check the door’s weather stripping, which can sometimes keep a door from freely locking. It’s easy to install new weather stripping, and it can be purchased at any home improvement store. If your door still doesn’t close properly, call a carpenter to diagnose the problem. The door might be warped or tilted and need to be replaced. The labor will cost $35 to $38 per hour, not including the price of a new door, if needed.
Written by Dawn Pick Benson