Hiring a plumber, electrician, or other home maintenance worker might cost you well over $100 an hour.
For long jobs, these services can really break the bank.
But, there’s something you might not know.
A lot of the more common maintenance issues that you’re hiring a professional to fix might actually be pretty easy to do yourself.
Yes — you might be able to fix them on your own and save money in the process.
So, let’s go over five of the more common home maintenance issues that you can fix in your own home and how much money this might end up saving you.
1. Unclogging Drains & Fixing Faucets
Plumbing repairs often cost a lot of money for seemingly simple jobs.
To unclog a drain or toilet or fix a leaky faucet, you’ll probably end up spending between $100 and $200.
The thing is — these fixes usually can’t wait.
Letting them sit for too long might cause flood damage or leaks that end up costing you thousands later on.
Fixing Clogged Drains & Toilets
The first sign of a clogged drain is that water takes much longer to clear the sink.
There are a few lines of defense when it comes to clearing blocked drains:
Pouring boiling water down the drain
Using a “snake” or even a wire hanger to remove clumps from the drain
Creating a mixture of vinegar and baking soda to pour down the drain.
A toilet might call for similar solutions with the addition of using a plunger first.
Fixing Leaky Faucets
Leaky faucets are more annoying than anything. And, fixing a leaky faucet might only take an hour or two.
Here are some tips for fixing your leaky faucet.
Make sure you’re cutting the water supply first.
Make it a point to tighten the new faucet (but not too much).
Choose a new faucet that fits snugly with your setup.
It’s crucial that you guarantee that the leaky faucet is the problem and that there aren’t any underlying issues with your sink.
2. Caulking Your Windows & Doors
Caulking around your windows and doors isn’t just about appearance.
Caulk is for blocking water, limiting outdoor air from seeping in, and keeping pesky insects from slipping through the cracks.
That means caulking can keep your energy bills low!
How to Caulk
Though it seems like a lot of work, you should caulk both the inside and outside of your windows and doors. That way, you can guarantee no bugs, water, or air find their way through.
All you’ll need is some white caulk and a caulk gun.
Here’s what you need to know before you caulk:
Make sure that you’re scraping any old caulk out if it’s in bad shape.
Cut the tube at an angle to guarantee the most caulk enters the crack.
Be sure to scrape away any excess caulk to get a smooth, even line.
If you do a good job, your caulk job might last several years.
3. Exterminating Pests & Insects
Hiring an exterminator to keep bugs out (or kill your current pest population) is extremely costly.
In fact, it sometimes costs over $500.
There are quite a few ways to handle these bug and insect problems on your own if you're on a budget.
How to Get Rid of Insects
It doesn’t matter whether you have a roach, ant, or wasp infestation, there’s a product for getting rid of just about any insect.
For example, there are insect baits.
You’ll place these in areas where the insects tend to gather. The bait usually attracts a specific bug species and slowly kills them after making contact.
There are also insect sprays.
These are best for situations where you actually see the insect (like a bee or a wasp) or the nest. You’ll spray this directly on the insect or nest to kill it.
To avoid insects in the first place, be sure to keep your home spotless, close windows and doors, and fill any cracks in the foundation.
4. Painting & Patching Your Home’s Interior
You probably don’t need to patch or paint your walls. But, each of these projects helps your home appear more presentable.
The problem is that a painter might cost up to $50 an hour (or more).
Expect to put in a fair amount of elbow grease and consider recruiting the whole family to lend a hand.
Tips for Painting
Painting is probably one of the most straightforward household fixes that you can do yourself. The biggest hassle is stocking up on the right supplies.
Here’s a look at the basics for what you’ll need:
Paintbrushes and paint rollers
Be prepared to spend an hour or more to paint a single room on your own. It’s a good idea to buy more paint than you might need to add an extra coat — or paint over damages in the future.
Tips for Patching
When it comes to patching holes in your drywall, there’s much more work to do.
For minor holes in your wall, you’ll need to use spackle to fill them up. You’ll then use sandpaper to smooth out the spackle in line with the rest of your wall and then paint over with the desired paint color.
For more extensive damages, you’ll have to cut away around the hole or damage and add new drywall to replace it. (This requires more tools and might be better left to the pros.)
5. Cleaning Your Heating & Cooling Systems
When it comes to tuning up your heater or A/C system, you’ll definitely want to give a local professional a call.
But, there’s no need to hire a professional for simple cleanings.
Honestly, that’s something you should already be doing to keep your system running efficiently.
How to Clean Your Temperature Control Units
The most important thing when cleaning these units is keeping them dust-free.
One of the easiest ways to do this is with the help of a dust-tool or vacuum dust-removal attachment.
This can keep the airflow cleaner. Which is especially crucial if you have allergies.
You’ll also want to wipe down all portions of the outside grille and be sure to replace or clean the reusable filter every few weeks or months.
Note: Don’t take apart these units or fumble with the wiring for safety purposes.
Most household repairs are relatively simple.
At the same time, there's only so much you can do on your own before it's necessary to hire a professional to do the job.
Attempt minor fixes on your own first. But, be ready to call in the pros if you’re having trouble or if the problem gets worse.
Adam Marshall is a freelance writer who specializes in all things apartment organization, real estate, and college advice. He currently works with Copper Beech at Greenville to help them with their online marketing.