Owning a home (or to a lesser extent, a car) is a pain in the butt! Unless, of course, you can afford to have every last bit of maintenance done by professionals. Most of us don’t fall into that category. I certainly don’t! So, we must do some of it ourselves to save some money.
DIY projects can be intimidating sometimes. But, don’t worry! With the help of YouTube videos, most jobs are easier than you think, and the parts you need are just a few clicks away on the internet. I feel sorry for homeowners back before the digital age. DIY projects have never been easier! Here are some jobs that you should not be afraid to tackle. (Of course, if you are going to buy parts online, please click through our Amazon links!)
REPLACING A STRIPPED GEAR ON A GARAGE DOOR OPENER
It’s happened to me a couple times. You’re running late to work, coffee in hand, about to get into your car. The garage door opener starts humming as usual, but nothing moves. It just hums and hums and hums. What gives?! Day ruined.
Don’t pick up the phone to call a pro! Instead, fire up the laptop and order a replacement gear sprocket like this Liftmaster one (check for your specific model of course). It happens a lot, these gears wear out over time. Again, it’s YouTube to the rescue! To put it simply, you loosen the drive chain, remove the casing, and replace the part. It might take 1-2 hours the first time if you’re fumbling around, but a lot less time once you know what you’re doing.
INSTALLING A FAUCET
Like most household professionals, plumbers are expensive. Sometimes calling them is necessary, but installing a new-in-the-box faucet kit is not one of those times. You can do this! Just make sure you have the necessary tools, some plumbers tape and putty. Have a bucket and some towels on hand for any leaks. Follow the instructions and you’ll be done in short order. You’ll save a bunch of money too!
Are you a patient person? If not, a pedestal sink might be the exception to this rule. It takes more time and involves working at very challenging angles. If you’re going to install a faucet on a pedestal sink, children should leave the house because some foul language is bound to slip out.
INSTALLING A NEW LIGHT FIXTURE / CEILING FAN
This photo cracks me up. Mr. Handyman here has a fully loaded tool belt (who uses a hammer to install a ceiling fan?) and he is pointing a screwdriver at a blade fastener that should have been tightened on the floor before being lifted into place. If you read this review, you know I like to make fun of cheesy marketing photos.
Contrary to what this photo might lead you to believe, you don’t need a decked out tool belt, a contractor’s license and a million-dollar smile to install a ceiling fan or a ceiling light fixture. Make sure the power is disconnected, read the instructions carefully and have a helping hand within shouting distance. When you’re working overhead, having a friend or spouse nearby can make the job much easier.
UPGRADING A LIGHT SWITCH
Similar to installing a fan or ceiling fixture, upgrading a light switch involves a little electrical work that you can totally handle. There are lots of fun and functional options for upgrading a light switch. Programmable dimmers, 24-hour timers and energy-saving occupancy sensors are all great ways to improve your lighting, and they’re each equally easy to install. (I recently installed a 24-hour timer so my outside lights come on every night.)
All you need is a screw driver and maybe some wire strippers. You also might need a new cover plate, which will set you back all of 50 cents. If you’re installing a new switch for a 3-way circuit (2 switches for the same light) then you will need a special 3-way dimmer/timer/sensor. It probably goes without saying, but, before you do anything make sure you turn off the circuit breaker!
REPLACING THE OXYGEN (O2) SENSOR ON YOUR CAR
Too often I hear about folks failing their emissions test because of a faulty O2 sensor which caused a CEL (Check Engine Light). Then, eager to solve the problem (and eager to pass their emissions test), they pay a mechanic hundreds of dollars to replace the sensor. Don’t fall into this trap! On most cars, the O2 sensor is easily accessible and you can swap it out in an hour or less. You’ll need a pair of jack stands and a jack. The jack that comes with your spare tire will do the job (albeit slowly), while a hydraulic jack is less tedious and will speed up the process. Buy the sensor from any reputable website and find a how-to video for your specific car model. The sensor is threaded and there is a wiring harness you can quickly unplug. That’s it!
Changing your own oil isn’t hard either. But, you’ve got to dispose of the oil and there’s an added risk of a big oily mess. So, if you’ve never worked under a car before, replacing an O2 sensor is a great place to start.
MAKING YOUR OWN FURNITURE
This one might be a little harder and time-consuming than the others, depending on what tools you have. But still, it’s nothing you can’t handle, mostly just sanding and painting.
DIY furniture has gotten very popular, especially when it involves re-purposing old items. The internet is full of ideas for furniture made out of wood doors, old shutters and even cargo pallets. No ingenuity required, the ideas are out there if you search for them. All you need are the materials and to set aside a nice little Saturday.
BUILDING GARDEN BOXES
Another easy project! No need to buy an expensive pre-made kit. All you need is lumber, nails, a flower bed liner and a lot of dirt. Also, no expensive power tools required. While nice tools will make the job easier, you could always make a few cuts with an old school saw if you have to. Search Pinterest for garden boxes and you’ll get a thousand results. The diagram above is just one simple example.
Growing your own herbs, fruits and vegetables can be very rewarding. A garden box is better than planting directly in the ground for several reasons. It’s easier to control weeds, less leaning over will save your back muscles and the plants will thrive more in a raised box.
Some of these DIY projects may seem ridiculously easy to you. That’s okay, you’re ahead of the curve. For others, this might just be the little push they need to head in the right direction. Don’t forget to click through our product links! Thanks for reading and good luck!