Some Things Really are Best Left to Professionals

You have all no doubt seen an eyeglass repair kit. The tools are quite small. There is the tiniest little screw driver and even tinier replacement nuts. I just stare at everything in wonder. Even smaller is a watch repair kit. Not many people have them because some things are best left to the pros. I say this because I tried to fix my broken watch with disastrous results. I am handy around the house, and even counsel others in DIY projects, but this one is not my forte. I misassumed that my talents could extend farther afield. I was sorely disappointed.

Take my word for it and don’t waste your time unless it is a simple matter of replacing a dead battery. Anything else will be beyond your skills. And you will have to be sure you get the right one. It’s okay to dabble in a bit of plumbing or appliance rewiring, maybe light electrical work, but a watch is a different animal. None of the same principles apply. Unless you take a class in watch repair, it is better left to others. I have always touted the ability to do things on your own. You learn by trial and error. Plus, there are numerous YouTube videos that will instruct you in anything from fixing a roof, to installing a pool or installing a new battery in your watch – but don’t necessarily think of watch repair as a way to save money. If you muck it up, it will end up costing more. So, my advice on DIY has a clear limit. I am offering words of caution only today.

I tried to fix my watch because I need it every day and depend on its accuracy and reliability. If you take it to the repair shop, it could end up taking weeks to come back to you. I wanted to be efficient and save time. I can’t be without my timepiece even for a few days. Money is always an issue as well. But despite these motives, I must say that I failed miserably. To get my confidence back, I am going to put in new track lighting and an updated kitchen faucet. The watch repair kit is going back into the drawer. I will soon be back on track with my regular routine.

It is fun to try new things and have a challenge now and then. I now know that these challenges should be in the construction and building realm. There is always a lot more to learn and is a supremely practical enterprise. I am pleased to say that this is a field in which I excel. I counsel everyone to try their hand at something around the house. You feel useful as you develop a new hobby. I built a guest house for a friend from the foundation up. With a project like this, you cover all the traditional bases. You never run out of things to do when you are a pro at DIY.

A Builder’s Flat Feet

Who doesn’t run around all day, squashing their poor feet in ill-fitting shoes, those you can’t toss because you paid a fortune and don’t want to waste even a day’s worth of usage. When you are working on construction sites, you step on metal debris, you slip and twist your ankle, and you risk life and limb. You think twice about keeping those not yet worn out shoes and you get ready to trade them in for something soothing and comfortable. You wish you were a nurse and had those soft slip ons with insoles for extra padding. You know the kind that look like clogs but are better constructed and not so rigid. Shoes are our support and we should not take what we put on our feet lightly, as we often do. We go home with swollen toes and aching ankles. We soak in a hot tub, but why did we get this far anyway?

I think I had been suffering too long by the time I started griping about my shoes. Guess why? I am a builder with flat feet trying to execute multiple jobs all at the same time with little to no pain. It got to be time to talk to the doctor. I have a friend who recommended a podiatrist, a specialist in matters of the feet. I had the flatness checked out, verified, and learned that there is, in fact, little that you can do other than wear insoles, just as I thought. Hence the thoughts about getting nurses shoes. Would I be laughed off the job by my cronies? The doctor mentioned that in addition to clogs there are re-enforced sneaker styles that do as good a job. He recommended a particular brand that are light weight, provide good support, and well made to last and last. They are typically worn by hospital staff and that in itself is a great testimonial.

Shoes are kind of a status symbol so I wasn’t sure what an odd-looking sneaker was going to do for my image. Probably not a lot more than clogs would. I simply have to let people know about ol’ flat foot and get some sympathy. They will understand my lack of fashion sense while at the same time they will admire my practicality and common sense. So I did get the sneakers in a basic grey mesh that will go with everything—particularly my ubiquitous khakis. Maybe I will start a new fad. Ha! A cabinet maker on one job said I have to admire your guts. Someone else muttered something about being in the wrong place. Didn’t I need to get my way to the hospital. I love a sense of humor.

Meanwhile, flat foot problem solved no matter the consequences. The shoes added to the general camaraderie on the construction site and I may go out and get another pair in black. I will not risk a second of pain for my feet and will rotate the shoes as the need arises.

Summer’s Best Friend

Summer is a great time to get some of those DIY projects done outdoors. You don’t have to worry about rain ruining your freshly nailed wood planks. If you must do it yourself, make sure the conditions are prime. It is hard enough to do any building and repairs so why not make the situation optimal. You don’t want the hottest day of the year where you could sweat to death. Think of anyone you have nabbed to help you. You need to be concerned for their health as well. Nevertheless, a sunny day may be the only time you have available. Work during the early hours of the morning or perhaps after dusk to spare yourself too much sun exposure. You will want to have a fan plugged in nearby if it is possible. Then take a break now and then and get some circulating air. Meanwhile, a cooler is a great idea to have beverages close at hand. This way you and your crew will always be able to stay hydrated throughout the day. People who are dehydrated cannot work effectively and it will spoil your job. You may have to stop midstream and start another day.

Summer’s best friend could be the ice cooler. Keep it well stocked. You may have a garage refrigerator in any case but you can take the cooler to just the very spot where you are working. I have a beach cooler that goes with me to every trip to the shore. It houses sandwiches and snacks along with ice cold beer. It does double duty when I have a work project that keeps me outdoors. You don’t have to have the biggest one on the planet, just one with room enough for the ice and the sodas. More than one hot worker likes the feel of ice on their neck.

Planning your projects is of the essence any time of the year. You have to know who is coming to help, just when, and what is their job. Organization will keep things rolling along smoothly. It will save time and effort in the long run. When things are done willy nilly, you may have to redo some things that are not done right. If you want perfection, be the master of the job and control the activities start to finish. People have different construction skills so make good use of them. It will affect the final outcome. If you are weak in an area and you want to learn it, have someone skilled show you the ropes. If you are absolutely a novice and it is something complicated like electrical work, then by all means hire a professional. Then your DIY team can proceed afterwards with what they are able to accomplish. There is a great deal of pride in being able to execute tasks on your own not to mention the money you will save in the long run. But remember, joining forces with experienced craftsmen will make your project outcome shine.

You Can Take it With You

Moving is a major pain for everyone, and we have all done it. Anyone who has relocated even once knows how hard it is to pack. You first have to make a list of everything you don’t want to keep and what to do with it—give it a way, toss it, or donate? Few people have the space to take everything they own to their new abode. You want to take all the small stuff you have accumulated for years and, of course, all personal belongings, hobbies, and clothes. You need ample boxes of all sizes and plenty of energy and some help.

You may want to take larger items like refrigerators, stoves, washers and dryers, and the like. Otherwise, you just end up buying new ones at a significant cost. Unless your things are old and worn out, you will want to continue to make use of them. Then there are all the things in the garage taking up valuable space such as small appliances, electric tools, and maybe a work station or bench. Look in all the drawers and on the wall-mounted shelves. Keep walking around the house. You will notice more things to worry about. What about that marvelous grill you bought last summer in that super-size? It is a barbecue chef’s delight and it cost a pretty penny. You can’t possibly part with it. Not far, you will come across your hot tub in all its glory. Surely this has to stay. But let me tell you right now, you can take it with you. If you were smart enough to buy a mobile unit, and not everyone does, it is easy to move. This may come as a giant surprise, but it is true. Many hot tubs can be emptied and folded up or toted with some help. I know one fellow who uses a small tractor to move his around the yard looking for the ideal spot.

You will of course want to remove any cover to make sure it is not damaged or ripped during the hot tub’s relocation. You will want to remove any movable parts that will get lost or broken in the process. Sometimes some manpower is all that is needed to move a hot tub a short distance. A couple of friends will do. If it is going to a new home, say a couple of miles away, you may want a professional mover or someone recommended by your local pool supply store. It all depends on the size of your hot tub and of what it is made. The fabrication will impact the total weight and whether or not there are adjustable and foldable parts. The point is that it can be moved if you are thoughtful about it and take adequate precautions. Put in some time on finding out the best methods and you can’t go wrong. It is enough for now to know that you can do it.

Improving Air Quality

This blog has to do with your quality of life, and that includes the very air you breathe. Your home is your special abode, a refuge from the world; and it should give you proper shelter and protection from the elements. When people facetiously say “gimme shelter,” they are referring to the roof overhead that will ward off rain, wind, snow, and hail. What else plagues the average citizen?

Your place of shelter should be somewhat commodious and above all comfortable. We do talk about the comforts of home and that includes having the right appliances in the kitchen, a quiet place to sleep, a clean place to shower and shave, and also clean air. You can’t take any of these things for granted–no not clean air as odd as that may seem. Some people think it is just an extra burden to attend to at home and something expensive to buy. Shouldn’t you count on it automatically? Air purifiers are not common in new home construction, and maybe they should be. A quality filtering system will let you breathe easier and assuage all those rampant allergies that are plaguing modern man. No, you can’t assume the air in your new home is adequate to keep you healthy and sleeping well through the night. Airborne pollen and allergens wreak havoc on the respiratory system and something can be done about it for a little cash outlay. There are many fine appliances that do the job from Honeywell, Kenmore, Hunter, Oreck, Whirlpool, and Holmes. You will get better air quality if you choose well. They don’t cost an arm and a leg.

Taking care of one’s home means more than making all the on-going necessary repairs, and painting a room or two now and then, not to mention that filthy garage door and greasy floor It means more than attending to the landscaping, the back fence, the driveway, and inspecting the plumbing and electrical systems. It also means looking into air quality and understanding its importance for the well-being of the occupants. Here’s an area where you don’t need to spend money on the professionals. You can do the leg work yourself and check out the various models online. You can learn about carbon and HEPA filters, the role of oscillation, and the nature of photoplasma technology, thermodynamic sterilization, ultraviolet germicidal irradiation, and so much more. You can become the expert who choses just how and why your air is to be filtered of impurities like mold, pollen, bacteria, smoke, dust, odors, germs, and the like. Perhaps you don’t want to spend a whole lot and want to grab a cheap air purifier for under $100. Once you realize what is flooding in your windows and doors, you will be appalled.

Having an air filtering system in the guise of an air purifier is not an option nor a luxury. It I, in fact, something we should all have, especially at our bedside. They are as important as a toaster oven, an electric mixer, a water softener, or a coffeemaker. Put an air purifier on the top of your Must Buy list right away and get started with your research. Set a due date by which you will have one up and running. Don’t get deterred by the prospect of cleaning it or changing the filters now and then. It’s fast and easy if you follow the instructions. The machine usually tells you with a blinking light when it is the right time. Modern technology is marvelous, isn’t it! Remember, you will have to vacuum and dust the house less when an air purifier is in operation, so that frees you to do other simpler chores.

Classing Up the Joint

There are always things that can be done to a property overall and especially around the house. If you are a DIY fan, you will love the tips that abound online. I have my own set on a variety of topics. Today’s blog is about finding the right wine refrigerator for that special, and growing, collection.

Not everyone likes wine and few have leftover space in any case when they have been living in a home for any length of time. But for those real aficionados, there is always a way. Wine is a wonderful pastime, hobby, and gourmet enjoyment, and when you make it a part of your lifestyle, you can really class up the joint. I am here to say that installing a wine refrigerator is not difficult, expensive, or time consuming. The first task is to review the choices.

Once you have determined that there is a want and a need, assess where the unit is likely to go. That will dictate the model based on size and shape. If you only have a few feet, there are slim condo versions on the market. If you want to store dozens of bottles, you go larger. Wine fridges run from about 12 bottles to over 50. If you have a man cave in your basement, the latter may be right for you. Otherwise, your choices are usually limited to what location is available.

Next comes the budget. The prices range from one hundred to a thousand dollars…maybe more. If you are not operating a restaurant, you will want something in the middle of the road. The brands to look at are Wine Enthusiast, Whirlpool, NewAir, Cuisinart, and many more. Sites like Home Bar Hero will help you choose. With some help, you’ll quickly zero in depending upon who has models in the desired price range. Not all make countertop and narrow models, so take the time to read up and compare.

Smaller wine coolers have only one temperature control. If you are storing many bottles that include reds and whites, you surely will want dual control. This is super important. No one wants to drink chilly reds and room temperature whites. Wine needs loving care and the device that houses it will impact aging and drinkability.

Décor is a factor for many. You want your fridge to fit in with your “look” and above all scream up to date and modern. No doubt you will select a matte finish stainless steel with a glass door. No installation will be required for free standing units, but under counter models that go in kitchens and bar areas need a professional touch. You must measure carefully to be sure what you order will glide easily into place.

Of minor import is the noise factor. All things being equal, why not get a wine fridge that doesn’t roar. A gentle hum is best. You will also not want a unit that vibrates as this may affect the rich notes and distinct flavors of the contents. Safeguarding your collection is as important as having it ready to serve. You will also want a digital touchscreen, LED display, and a unit that is thermoelectric, energy-efficient and CFC-free.

Large Painting Projects

Today’s home improvement question is an interesting one: should you tackle larger scale paint jobs yourself?

The answer is: Possibly. It depends on how comfortable you are with paint work, so I will go over what it entails and then let you make an informed decision on whether you’re up for the job or not.

Whether your interior walls need a fresh coat of paint, a large fence or deck needs staining, or the exterior of your house is in desperate need of sprucing up, understand that painting will be time-consuming. Be sure that you have the time and patience to see the job through, whether it takes a few hours or several weeks. If you have to prime or do more than one coat, it is going to add time to your job. For example, if you are going from a dark color on your exterior to a light color, depending on your starting surface, you may have to scrape or sandblast the old paint off, prime the surface and then repaint. If you wait too long after your remove the old paint, you could expose your home’s exterior to damage. If you wait too long after priming to paint, you run the risk of either having to power wash or reprime the house. Be sure to carefully estimate how long the job will take. If you are unsure, start with a section and do it from start to finish before you move to the next section.

My first piece of advice is to use quality paint. This doesn’t necessarily mean expensive paint, but get something that is appropriate for the area you are painting and something that will last. If you do a good job and use quality paint, you won’t have to do this again for years to come.

My second piece of advice is this: if you are going to tackle a large paint job, you should familiarize yourself with some tools that may make the job easier and more pleasant for you. If you need a ladder, make sure it is of good quality with a shelf to put lighter tools on. Wider steps may make for a heavier ladder but it’s easier to stand on when you do work. Something else to seriously consider is a paint sprayer. It can definitely cut down on your time and make you more productive if used correctly. For example, I highly recommend using a pneumatic paint sprayer for exterior work. They are great for outdoor work because you can run them off an air compressor and use any length hose to help you reach anything you want to paint. If you are doing interior work, an electric paint sprayer will make your job easier without the hassle of an air compressor indoors.

There are two types of paint sprayers: gravity feed and siphon feed. This just tells you where the paint cups go. Gravity fed guns go on top and use the force of gravity to get the paint into the sprayer; siphon fed guns work the same as any spray bottle you have under your kitchen cabinet—the liquid goes up a tube and is forced into the sprayer. Gravity feed paint sprayers are, in my opinion, better for two reasons: 1) you get more out of the paint cup because nothing sits in the bottom, it all goes into the sprayer, and 2) no siphon tube to clean or clog with paint. Check out some gravity feed spray gun reviews online and you’ll see exactly what I am talking about: they’re far superior.

Also, especially if you will be working indoors, with heavy fumed items like a stain, near other items that are not your property, or you do not want to get covered in paint: look for a HVLP sprayer. It stands for high volume low pressure, and it means that the paint will come out of the sprayer with less force, which will atomize less paint. This means not only will you waste less paint because more of it will get on your project, but less will become a mist of paint that gets all over everything and carried off by the wind onto your neighbors shrubs, fence, house, and car.

Wear the proper protective gear if you are going to be painting, and be sure the area you are working in is well ventilated. If you need to use a ladder, be sure to do so safely; don’t be lugging a gallon of paint up a ladder with you so you don’t have to go up and down. If you do use a paint sprayer, read the manual first and then take a test run. Protect your skin, nose, eyes, and mouth from the spray. Take your time so that you can do a quality job. Remember that the better the job you do now, the longer you will get to enjoy the fruits of your labor before you have to do it again.

If all this seems daunting to you for any reason, I encourage you to hire a professional. Read up on my blog for tips on finding a quality company.

Good luck!

Sorting Out Household Paints

Household Paints

There are some paint jobs around the home that are easy enough for the average homeowner to do, with a little bit of elbow grease and the right paint for the job. Buying the right paint isn’t just a matter of going to your local hardware and picking the right color. You may find when you do so that there is a confusing array of paint products to choose from.

Painting The Inside Of Your Home

Repainting the inside of your home usually involves the desire to change colors for a different effect, or to freshen up the colors you now have in the home. Decide which one of these is most important to you.

If you will be changing colors, it’s important to choose a paint that will completely cover the old paint color. Usually, primer will be needed if a change in color is desired. Some paints include primer in them. Although they are more expensive to purchase, they may be less expensive than buying the primer separately.

Flat paint is usually chosen for walls. If you are seeking to highlight a certain feature or wall, glossy paint can be used for those specific areas. Glossy white paint is normally chosen by contractors for baseboards, window frames and molding. Glossy paint may also be chosen for a ceiling, to add the illusion of height to a room.

Paint shades may fade over time. This can be a problem if you only want to paint part of a wall or room. If you choose the original paint color, you may find that it no longer exactly matches your wall.

If you have a color that you used before and are trying to match it, it’s a good idea to take a paint chip from the original wall to show to the hardware professional. You can also take some sample paint cards home to see what shade matches your original paint. You hardware professional may be able to mix or lighten a new color so that it will match your existing wall color.

Painting The Outside Of Your Home

Because most people are overly conscious of the way the outside of their home looks to others, it may be a good idea to leave any exterior repainting that needs to be done to the professionals. Repainting the outside of your house requires exterior paint that is weather proof. It also requires a great deal of preparation work, such as exterior power washing, removal of old paint and grading of uneven painting surfaces. It must be done in the correct weather conditions for the exterior paint to adhere well. It also involves reaching heights. For all of these reasons, this may be a job that is too large for you to do yourself.

Preparation is really the key in any house-painting job. If you have the right materials and the right planning before you begin, your job will take less time, and you will end up spending less money.

Get the paint right and get it done right.

What To Look For When Hiring A Contractor

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There are times when a qualified contractor should do home improvement jobs. Although learning to do basic tasks around the home will save you money, a licensed technician should do home repairs that are extensive or technical. This is especially true when the home improvement you are planning necessitates following state codes.

Here are some general guidelines for what to look for.

Go Local

There are many good reasons to search in your local area when you are looking for a contractor. For one thing, a local technician is most likely to be familiar with the homes in your area, as well as the types of problems they are likely to have. He will be aware of what materials work best for homes in your area, as well as the most popular homeowner products in your region. Since he is local, he will be familiar with the least expensive suppliers for those products.

Convenience is also a factor. When major jobs are being done on your home, you will no doubt want to contact the contractor to ask him questions or check on his progress. It’s helpful if he has a reachable customer service line and an office in your area.

Look For Licensing And Insurance

Handymen are very convenient for many jobs around the home that a homeowner doesn’t want or have the time to do. However, most handymen aren’t licensed for extensive contracting jobs. Any work that involves a renovation of your home, such as replacing piping or wiring, requires a professional who is properly licensed for the specific trade involved.

Any contractors you talk to should be able to show you proof of licensing and insurance.

Match The Contractor To The Level Of Difficulty

Contractors come in many shapes and sizes. Their range and amount of experience can differ. That is one reason why you should always obtain a few estimates before choosing a contractor for your home. The larger the job to be done, the more contractors you may want to talk to.

Although the bidding process is time-consuming, it’s for your own protection. When a contractor comes to your home to give you an estimate, you are able to ask him pointed questions, find out his pricing, get a reasonable first impression of his work ethics and character, and an exact idea of the type of work he thinks will be involved. Always ask for a detailed estimate of products to be used, pricing, expected amount of work time, and any warranties offered. There is usually a time limit on the estimate, so be sure to check on this.

It’s safest to choose a contractor in the middle range of pricing, neither too high nor too low in price.

Obtain References

Your neighbors may have had some experience with contractors in your area. You can also search on the Internet for customer reviews. Bear in mind, though, that each homeowner is different in the things he or she is looking for in a contractor.

Follow these guidelines and you’re well on your way to finding a quality contractor.

Keeping Your Home Warm In The Winter

Keeping your home warm through the winter is more than just a comfort factor. It can save you money in energy efficiency. In truly frigid climates, where the air temperature can drop below zero, retaining warmth in the winter can be a matter of health.

Older homes in particular often suffer from heat loss. There are several DIY projects you can do that can help to keep your home warmer in the cold season.

Find Out Where Your Home Is Losing Heat

Ice-cold air is very impervious, and can seep through the smallest cracks, so it’s important to find out where cold air is getting in. Doors and windows are one of the first places to look. Warm air can also be lost through the attic if your home doesn’t have enough insulation. Sometimes the exterior walls of older homes do not contain enough insulation between them. If you are having trouble discovering where your home is losing heat, many heat suppliers offer free testing for energy efficiency.

Weatherproofing Doors And Windows

There are several weather stripping products that can be found in your local hardware to use on doors and windows, most of which contain easy instructions. Weather stripping should be applied to the edges of doors and windows. Old caulking on the outside of windows should be removed and replaced with a caulking gun. Always check the R-value listed on packages of weather stripping products, which will tell you how effective they are at retaining heat.

Older single pane windows are not energy efficient, and older double-pane windows may have lost their energy efficiency as well. An easy way to tell if your windows are losing heat is if they feel ice cold to the touch in the wintertime.

Many owners of older homes install shutters outside their windows to better retain the heat. Simple shutters can be created inexpensively from a double set of hinged wood panels large enough to cover each window. You can also purchase or make window coverings from thick fabrics, and couple them with tight fitting blinds to help retain the heat.

Your Attic And Exterior Walls

The amount of insulation you need in your attic depends on the region in which you live and how cold your region gets in the winter. Refer to the U.S. Department of Energy website to find out how much attic insulation you need. If your attic is losing heat, you will find that snow on your roof melts quickly in the winter time. This may seem like a good thing, but the problem is that the heat is going through your roof instead of warming you.

Adding insulation to your attic is easy enough using fiberglass rolls of batting available at your hardware. Follow the directions carefully, and be sure to wear a mask when installing them.

Exterior walls that do not contain enough insulation are a more difficult matter that should probably be handled by a contractor. A common solution to lack of insulation on already-built walls is to drill holes in walls and inject foam insulation inside of them. If you have a room that is ice-cold at night in spite of a working furnace, you may consider this to be a necessary expense.

Weatherproofing your home is one of the most important DIY projects you can do, and little things you can do will pay off in better heat retention.

Five Home Repairs You Should Never Do Yourself

The spirit of all do-it-yourself repair projects is the idea that with education and the right tools, homeowners are capable of handling many repairs themselves. The downside to this idea is that homeowners may become overconfident. A big part of learning how to do-it-yourself is learning where to draw the line between what you can do and what a trained expert should do for you. Here are five home repairs that require an experienced technician.

Putting An Addition On Your Home

You saw a video on television and thought it looked pretty easy to knock down a wall for renovation. You didn’t realize until too late that the wall was load-bearing, though. Or you may be a little handy with electrical wiring and decide to wire a new room yourself.

The problem with each of these scenarios is that though you may think you are saving money by doing these jobs yourself, you don’t have the training of a professional to do them. Things can go wrong after the fact in ways you never intended or imagined. In the case of an untrained electrical installation, you could actually burn down your own home. Or you could be fined several thousand dollars for not putting in an installation according to code when you try to sell your home. Save the future headache and let a pro do the job.

Cutting Down Your Own Trees

You have a power saw that you like, and a big tree that you don’t. How easy would it be to use the one to get rid of the other?

Cutting a tree at the wrong angle can make it fall where you don’t expect, either on yourself or your neighbor, or someone’s valued home. Professionals who cut down trees are highly respectful of the danger they pose. They will often work in teams, cutting down a large tree limb by limb before attempting to remove the trunk. They also use specialized equipment that you probably don’t have.

Major Plumbing Repairs

Replacing or caulking a length of pipe below a sink is easy enough for a do-it-yourselfer to do, but when it comes to major leaks in a home, particularly if you can’t find the source, you should call a plumber.

Water leaks can be very deceptive. They may seem as if they are coming from one location, when actually they are originating from somewhere else. Even plumbers get frustrated over this sometimes.

The other part of plumbing work is that it often involves squeezing into small corners and loosening rusted parts. A job that you thought would only take a few hours can easily turn into several days of repairing your repairs.

Roof Installations

You want to install your own skylight or replace a damaged chimney. Aside from the obvious problem of walking around on a slanted roof, there are other good reasons not to try this job. Your roof is the major source of protection for all of the structural elements of your home. A single small breach in your roof can allow a leak that can go undetected. Leaks in your roof can develop mold, and they can damage insulation, interior walls, and other important structural materials in your home. Amateur homeowners are not likely to know how to properly secure and weatherproof these types of installations. Though it will cost more money, let an experienced professional do the job.

Replacing Gas Appliances

Replacing your own gas dryer or hot water heater can be dangerous. Gas appliances that aren’t properly connected can emit a tiny leak. That’s all it takes for carbon monoxide to enter your home. Even more frightening is the possibility of blowing up your own home.

We would all like to save money, but repairs like these can cost much more money in the long run and even endanger lives. Be smart and call a professional for help.

Five Surprisingly Easy Home Repairs

You may not consider yourself a do-it-yourself guy or gal, but if you own a home for any length of time, you will probably find that you need to become one. The reality of home ownership is that most of us are not rich enough to hire a professional to do every repair. The key is to discover what jobs you can do yourself. Here are five of them easy enough for a beginner to do.

Running Toilet

Your toilet has been running on for days and making burping noises, and you have just noticed that your water bill has begun to increase. Your toilet is slowly losing water. In many cases, this is a surprisingly easy fix that is inexpensive, too.

Open the water tank and look inside. Chances are you will see a rubber flapper at the bottom of the tank. When this flapper becomes old or covered with minerals, it will not close properly and the toilet will begin to lose tiny bits of water. Many toilet flappers are attached to a chain that is easy to remove in order to replace it with a new flapper. You can get a new one for a few bucks at the hardware. Just make sure you get the correct one for your model.

Replacing A Faucet Inlet Valve

You’ve heard the drip-drip-drip of one of your faucets. You may not need to replace any piping. Often the culprit is a leaking inlet valve, which is a length of nylon cord attached below your sink. Inlet valves don’t last forever, and they can be inexpensively replaced. Turn off the water supply from a valve under the sink and remove the faulty inlet valve by twisting it. Bring it to your hardware for the correct length on the new one. You may want to buy an extra one for the next time this happens.

Self-Stick Tiles

Self-stick tiles are an easy way to enhance a small section of floor, and they are very easy to install, even for beginners. You may live in an old home with asphalt tiles that can’t be removed. Self-stick tiles can be placed over the old tiles.

Pay attention to the thickness of the tiles. Some very inexpensive self-sticks are very thin and can be easily damaged. You are better off going with a more durable self-stick tile, although it will be a little more difficult to cut.

Caulking Around The Home

Making sure that your home is properly caulked can help with weatherproofing and keeping insects out. Your local hardware has products that make it easy to caulk without using a caulking gun, which tends to be difficult for beginners to use. You can find caulk in plastic tubes that you just press to release the caulk, or you can buy rope caulk. Rope caulk is putty-like. You simply press it into place.

Clogs In Sinks Or Toilet

Clogs are never pleasant. The best way to repair them is to avoid them. Clean your kitchen sink once a week with a little vinegar and baking soda poured down the drain. Since hair is a major cause of shower drain clogs, put a trap over your shower drain to catch hair and debris before it goes down the drain. Replacing double ply toilet tissue with single ply can help to avoid toilet clogs. Keep separate sturdy plungers handy for any clogs that do occur.

The more you learn about doing small repairs around the home, the less you will have rely on others to help you. Doing so will make you more self-sufficient and less likely to encounter repair emergencies.