Many city dwellers believe themselves to be independent and self-reliant. After all, they’ve managed to survive in a concrete jungle for so long. Once they encounter a clogged toilet or broken lock however, their first impulse would often be to call the landlord or the repairman.
However, there are some home repairs you can do on your own. All you need is a little (or lot) of elbow grease and some basic tools.
Unlocking a door without a key
Before you start picking on the lock, understand how it works. Prepare your lock picking tools: all you need is a tension wrench and a basic rake.
Put the tension wrench in the lower part of the keyhole and know which way the cylinder should be turned to unlock it. Apply light torque to the wrench in the appropriate direction and hold. Insert the pick in the upper part of the keyhole and feel the pins – pushing it until it sets. You will hear a soft click every time a pin sets.
Continue applying torque and push all the remaining pins. Once all of the pins are set, make use of the tension wrench to turn the cylinder. The knob should turn easily.
Fixing a leaky pipe
First, don’t forget to turn the water off. The shut off valve may be near the sink or even as far as the basement.
Once the water is off, put a bucket below the pipe. Twist off the compression nuts – these are the big pieces that you can unscrew. This is also your chance to rinse the curved pipe or what is called a P-trap.
Replace the washer or even the entire P-trap if needed. Screw it back in place, and turn the water on.
Unclogging the toilet
Toilets tend to clog easily after flushing too much waste. To save yourself the embarrassment of calling the plumber, consider buying a high quality plunger. You can find these heavy duty rubber plungers at Amazon or Home Depot for less than $10.
Pouring a mixture of hot water, 1 cup baking soda and 2 cups vinegar into the toilet will make it easier to unclog the toilet. Let this homemade drain cleaner soak for a few minutes to loosen up the blockage and clear away any built-up dirt.
If a combination of the drain cleaner and plunger doesn’t work, you can make a DIY drain stick using a wire coat hanger. Unravel and straighten the hanger, leaving the end curved to form a hook. Attach a rag at the hooked end securely and stick the hanger down the toilet. Twist and push the hanger until you clear away the obstruction. Once the water begins to drain, flush the toilet to make sure it’s working well.
Patching a hole in the wall
For nail or screw holes, clean the area and wipe the wall. Put some spackle in the wall using a putty knife and allow it to dry. Once it dries up, use a fine grain sandpaper to sand the wall until it is flat.
For larger holes, cut a rectangular portion of the drywall that surrounds the hole. Cut a section of drywall from scraps and place it inside the wall. Now, add drywall tape around the seams, slather a joint compound and use a large putty knife to scrape it until it is flat. Let the compound dry and sand it down or apply paint if needed.