WRITER | RACHEL WHITE
You notice a cold draft coming in around the windows. There’s a hole in the wall where you tried to hang a picture and it didn’t work out, a step that squeaks every time you step on it. It’s inevitable. Little things need to be done around the house, and you let them go. Minor maintenance issues and annoying problems build up. If the “honey-do” list is getting a little long, it’s time to get some things crossed off. Let’s figure out which ones you can do yourself to save a little money, and when you should call in the experts.
DIY: Unclog a slow-moving drain
Are you standing in a pool of water every time you take a shower? No need to call a plumber, we’ve got some easy, noncaustic ways to get those pipes clean. First, try dumping a half cup of baking soda down your drain, followed by a half cup of vinegar. Let sit overnight, or at least three hours, then flush with hot water. If this doesn’t work, get out the plunger (get rubber gloves, too, because the stuff that comes up from drains is gross). If you still have a clogged drain, get yourself a drain snake – it will get the job done!
Call in the Pros: Install a New Faucet
This one is above most homeowners’ paygrade, but a handyman should be able to get it done quickly.
DIY: Installing Weatherstripping
To stay warmer and save money on heating bills this winter, install weatherstripping around windows and doors. You can purchase rolls at the hardware store. Just cut to fit, peel, and stick.
Call in the Pros: Put in a Ceiling Fan
Getting the air circulating is a great way to keep warm, even when the temps outside dip below freezing. Because hot air rises, a ceiling fan on low will push that warmer air down, keeping you toasty through the winter. It’s best to let a handyman handle this one.
DIY: Painting an Interior Room
Many people are afraid to paint, but with the right tools, it’s fairly foolproof and has a huge impact. Patch any holes by smoothing spackle over them, then sanding when it dries. Prep the walls by giving them a quick wash using vinegar water and a sponge. Make sure you have a dropcloth, so no paint drips on your floor, and tape off woodwork using painter’s tape (masking tape doesn’t make as smooth a line and can pull paint or stain off of your woodwork when you remove it). Cut in around the edges using a brush, then fill in using a paint roller designed for your walls and the kind of paint you’re using.
Call in the Pros: Exterior Painting Projects
Painting the outside of your home usually requires scraping, power-washing, and a lot of ladder climbing. It’s best to let the professionals handle this kind of work.
Always remember, stay safe! Never do anything involving electricity without turning off the power source; never stand on rickety, rigged-up scaffolding to reach up high; and, if you feel like you’re in over your head, pick up the phone. Make sure to check reviews and referrals before letting someone into your house. It’s such a great feeling crossing those to-do items off of your list. Just imagine how happy you’ll be when all of the odd jobs have been finished!