Sooner or later your once pristine home will start showing its age – whether that’s leaky taps or worrisome wall cracks.

But don’t be so quick to call the handyman – here are some repairs you can easily do yourself.

1. Replace a broken toilet handle

You'll need

  • Crescent wrench
  • Toilet trip lever (replacement handle)

How to

  1. Remove tank lid
  2. Unhook lift chain, taking note of which hole the chain is hooked to
  3. Unscrew inside nut and remove handle
  4. Insert new handle through hole and tighten the nut
  5. Attach lift chain using the same hole as before

Tip

Take the old handle with you when buying a replacement to insure you get the right fit.

2. Unclog a toilet

You'll need

  • Toilet plunger (minor clogs)
  • Toilet auger (major clogs)

How to (minor clogs)

  1. Place plunger into toilet
  2. If the plunger isn’t submerged, add more water to the bowl
  3. Perform 8-10 downward thrusts

How to (major clogs)

  1. Extend auger handle to retract coil into shaft
  2. Insert coil head into toilet bowl
  3. Crank and push the handle to extend the coil
  4. When the blockage is met, crank the handle until water drains

Tip

Toilet and sink plungers are very different, so be sure to use the right one.

3. Fix a leaking pipe

You'll need

  • Bucket
  • Pipe wrench (dependant on type of compression rings)
  • P-trap fitting
  • Washers

How to

  1. Turn water off at the shut off valve
  2. Place a bucket under the P-trap
  3. Twist off P-trap compression rings
  4. Rinse out any build-up caught in the bend
  5. Replace washers
  6. Firmly fasten compression rings

Tip

The water shut off valve is usually under the sink. If you’re struggling to find it, try your airing cupboard or basement.

4. Stop a tap leaking

You'll need

  • Phillips head screwdriver
  • Pliers
  • Washer

How to

  1. Turn water off at the shut off valve
  2. Unscrew tap handle (screw may be hidden under a cap)
  3. Remove the packing nut
  4. Unscrew valve stem and remove from housing
  5. Replace washer
  6. Put tap back together

Tip

Make sure you fit your tap with the correct size washer – the wrong size will only cause problems.

5. Replace a light switch

You'll need

  • Flathead screwdriver
  • Phillips head screwdriver
  • Replacement light switch

How to

  1. Turn off power at the main circuit breaker
  2. Remove switch faceplate
  3. Unscrew switch from the wall
  4. Loosen all wires from the switch
  5. Match wires of same colour and position before connecting to the new switch
  6. Screw switch and faceplate back onto the wall

Tip

Use a voltage tester to make sure the circuit is dead before touching exposed wires.

6. Fix a hole in the wall

You'll need

  • Sandpaper
  • Filling knife
  • Patching compound
  • Wall hole patch
  • Wet sponge/spray bottle
  • Paint
  • Paint brush

How to

  1. Remove any loose drywall attached around the hole
  2. Sand hole edges
  3. Apply wall patch
  4. Smooth patch edges around hole
  5. Apply patching compound
  6. Allow to dry and sand until smooth
  7. Cover with a coat of paint

Tip

If you’re having trouble getting the wall patch to stick, try slightly wetting it first.

7. Fill cracks or dents in plaster

You'll need

  • Filling knife
  • Brush
  • Filler compound
  • Sandpaper
  • Wet sponge/spray bottle

How to

  1. Dig out crack to make a V-shaped groove
  2. Brush away any debris
  3. Mix filler compound to manufacturer instructions
  4. Spread filler into the crack
  5. Allow to dry and sand until smooth
  6. Cover with a coat of paint

Tip

Lightly dampen the crack before filling to help the filler stick.

Sources







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