12 Do It Yourself (DIY) Tips You Need for Surviving Home Ownership (Part I)

Did you ever realize that owning a home is similar to newborns? Neither of them have an accompanying instruction manual. Sometimes you’ll wish you had one—especially if you’re in an unavoidably, tricky situation.

You could always dole out handfuls of money to a home contractor or another choice is to “wing it”. Yet the smart thing is to have a basic understanding of dealing with repairs yourself. This first part of the do it yourself (DIY) tips will help you save the green stuff as well as time.

Repair a Leaky Faucet

Listening to that constant “drip, drip, drip” can be vexing! Most of the time, it’s due to a faulty washer that’s inside the handle. Before attempting to fix the faucet, you must shut off the water valve that’s underneath your sink. Next, plug the drain with a rag so you won’t lose any parts; take off the top screw cover, take out the screw and then remove the handle. Using a wrench, take apart the stem; then lay out the parts on your counter in the order they came out. This is so you’ll remember how it all goes back together later. Inspect plastic cartridges and rubber parts to make sure they aren’t cracked. If you find one that is, bring it to your local hardware store for an exact replacement part. Now, in reverse, put together the parts you’ve got on your counter.

Finding a Stud

If you don’t have a stud finder, don’t worry, you can still locate a stud in your wall; you just need to use logical thinking. Usually studs are 16 inches apart; so when one is located then it’s simple to find the other studs.

Remove the plate of an outlet and pinpoint which side is affixed to the stud. Another option is to look for a stud in one corner of the room since that’s where studs always are. From this point, measure 16, 32 and 48 inches out; at each of these points you should find a stud. To avoid speculation, drill a small hole at the top of your baseboard molding. This test hole can be patched up with a bit of caulk.

Digging a Hole

Okay, everyone knows how to dig a hole—but you want to do it without being electrocuted. Depending on how far down you have to dig, you could end up cutting into a buried power line. So, before your dig that hole, dial 811 on your phone to inform your local utility companies. Someone will come out in a few days to mark all of your buried lines.

Search for Termites

Here’s something you’ll never see coming and these little bugs aren’t easy to find. You must play detective and explore places such as the attic and crawl spaces—anywhere that you can see the wood framing of your home. Examine these areas carefully and be on the lookout for branch-like, raised tubes; when these “tubes” break open they unveil yellowish- or cream-colored insects. These little wood eaters could also be hiding where your siding and foundation meet. Survey this area for little dirt clumps or salt-sized droppings beside pinholes. If you spot just one dropping or termite in or on your home, it’s time to call your local bonded and licensed exterminator.

Guarantee the Lightbulb Has a Long Life

We’ve all heard that “pop” when a lightbulb burns out. This is caused by a bent or dirty small brass tab in the lamp socket which interacts with the bulb. But did you know you can prolong the life of the lightbulb by cleaning it? Turn off the circuit breaker or unplug the lamp. Wash the tab with rubbing alcohol and a Q-tip. If the tab is bent, use a screwdriver and gently unbend it so it’ll make contact with the bulb base.

Drilling Through Tile Without Splitting It

Yes, it can be done! You need a hammer and drywall screw to start. Set the drywall screw tip precisely in the spot you want to drill your hole. With the hammer, tap the screw very, very gently to puncture the tile; this will make a divot. Next, put a masonry bit in your drill and lay it into the divot to keep the bit in place while you drill your hole. Simple—no fuss, no muss!

Know Which Circuit Breaker to Switch Off

If there ever comes a time when you want to install a dimmer switch or hook up a generator, you must know which circuit breaker to turn off. You’ll need to make sure your breaker box is labeled properly. Have someone plug lamps into the outlets in each room and inform you when each one goes out as you flip a switch. Use a permanent marker and write on the metal next to every breaker what the switch is for. Label each switch as explicitly as possible—“kitchen without fridge”, “bathroom lights only”, “microwave” and so forth.

In our next blog, we’ll discuss the other five tips for surviving home ownership. Please contact us if you’d like more information or have questions.

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Michelle Manter Giglietti

Owner~Realtor at Manter Realty Group of Keller Williams
Top Producing Realtor and recognized blogger. In her free time you can hear her screaming fore at the local golf course,or catch her at home enjoying fresh cooking and a glass of wine with her husband and favorite 6 pound Morkie named Pedro.
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