Simple DIY Projects

Written by Angie's List Staff
Updated June 15, 2021
electric drill on door hinge
Fixing a loose door hinge with longer screws or a simple screw-hole repair kit is just one of several easy DIY home maintenance tasks. (Photo by Kathy Oman)

Don't call on that handyman just yet! Here are some simple tasks you can DIY.

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You can save valuable time and money just by using common sense. Before you call a handyman, take a look at these solutions.

Door hinge repair

If your door is shaky, the hinge screw may be stripped. For less than $20, you can buy a "stripped screw-hole repair kit." Another thing you can do is use a longer screw in the hinge. Many hinges come with small screws, but longer screws allow you to get some "bite" into the existing frame.

Replacing HVAC filters

Change your filter at least once a month. This allows the unit to heat and cool more efficiently. Use the inexpensive $1 filters over the more expensive ones. The reason for this is that the more expensive filters say they should be replaced every three months. There are times these filters trap so much dirt and debris that it causes the furnace or air conditioner to work extra hard because the expensive filter has trapped so much into its filaments.

Change water heater temperature to around 120 degrees.

This task will save you money without scalding yourself. Also, turn your water heater to vacation mode when you go out of town, even if it's just for the weekend.

Gutter cleaning

Clean your gutters and downspouts at least twice a year to keep water away from your foundation and prevent leakage issues.

Preventing blocked drains

Cooking oil is not the same as water. Oil hardens over time and will eventually clog. If you must pour oil into the drain, follow it with extremely hot water and dish soap.

Remember that not all drains are garbage disposals. Only put food down drains with garbage disposals to avoid unnecessary clogs. Also, combing or cutting your hair over a drain is risky as it often causes buildup.

Weak flushing toilet

This often occurs when the spray jets clog with sediment and calcium deposits. Bring back that strong flush with a good scrubbing under the toilet rim. Use a stiff wire brush to clear the jets.

Ripped vinyl

Soap isn’t just for potty mouths. Use soap to camouflage small tears in no-wax floors by rubbing it along the rip to fill it. For other vinyl floors, use a silicone-based seam sealer.

Scuffed linoleum flooring

Did someone leave unsightly black marks on your linoleum floor? White toothpaste and a cloth, or a pencil eraser, removes the marks. WD-40, a loyal friend to homeowners, also does the trick. Be sure to remove the greasy residue with soap and water.

Wall holes

Do multiple piercings have your walls looking like Swiss cheese? You don't even need to go to the hardware store. Use toothpaste to close the holes.

Stuck lock

Key stuck in your lock? Spray a dab of WD-40 into the lock for smooth operation. Or, try graphite powder, which also loosens the lock, but doesn’t cause an oily buildup. WD-40, or a little petroleum jelly, also works on squeaky doors.

Stuck window

This is another horror movie staple that makes it hard to get away form the bad guys. Spray a silicone lubricant onto a cloth and wipe it along the window tracks for an easy escape.

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