Money-Saving DIY Home Repairs
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13 Surprisingly Simple Home Repairs You Can DIY to Save Big

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Money-Saving DIY Home Repairs
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Do It Yourself

There are many good things about owning a home, but paying for repairs isn't one of them. By some estimates, homeowners spend 1% to 4% of a home's value on maintenance and repairs every year. That's as much as $500 a month for a house worth $150,000. While there are certainly projects too big or dangerous for the typical homeowner to take on without a professional, you can save money by learning how to handle a few common repairs and maintenance projects yourself.

Related: 10 Cheap Ways to Add Curb Appeal to Your Home

Dryer Troubleshooting
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Dryer Troubleshooting

If the dryer isn't working as well as it used to, there may be lint in the vent that's restricting airflow. The folks at Repair Clinic, an online replacement part store, say you can clean out the dryer's ventilation system with a dryer vent cleaning brush that costs less than $20. If the dryer isn't spinning or heating at all, you may need a new thermal fuse. A fuse costs as little as $8 at Home Depot and takes a half-hour to replace.

Related: Do Wool Dryer Balls Really Work as Well as Dryer Sheets?

Light Fixture and Switch Replacement
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Light Fixture and Switch Replacement

While electrical work can be tricky, replacing faulty light fixtures and switches is often a simple enough task for amateurs. The likes of Home Depot and Lowe's have helpful videos online that can walk you through the process safely. Installing new energy-efficient lighting also saves money.

Related: 17 Low-Cost Home Renovation Ideas With the Biggest Payback

Ceiling Fan Installation
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Ceiling Fan Installation

Ceiling fans provide year-round comfort and savings. They can cost thousands of dollars, but basic models can be found in the $30 to $250 range. After picking the correct size for a room, installing a fan is much like replacing a light fixture, although you may need to install an electrical box that can handle the weight and vibration from the fan (starting as low as $5).

Related: 13 Energy Conservation Myths You Can Start Ignoring Now

Sump Pump Replacement
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Sump Pump Replacement

Small and usually hidden away, sump pumps prevent flooding in basements and crawl spaces. John O'Brien, a lawyer from Chicago with experience doing his own home repairs, told Cheapism he was surprised how easy it is to replace the pump. New pumps start at less than $100, and all he needed was a screwdriver and a pipe to disconnect the old pump and install a new one.

Related: 20 Home Maintenance Mistakes You Need to Stop Making

Caulking
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Caulking

When caulk begins to deteriorate or discolor, it needs to be replaced. Removing old caulk is usually the most laborious part of the job, but special caulk removal tools (starting at about $5) make it easier. Pre-shaped caulk strips that are pressed into place (also starting at about $5) make installing caulk a snap.

Related: 20 Ways to Upgrade Your Home That Will Save Money This Year

Painting
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Painting

Judy Crockett shares a few DIY painting tips gleaned while working for her husband's interior painting company in Manistee, Michigan: Although it can be time consuming, prep work is the key to a professional finish. Be sure to scrape imperfections on the walls with a putty knife; wash to remove dust; and vacuum ducts, electrical boxes, and floors before starting to paint. Take your time and watch for drips as you go.

Related: Lowe's vs. Home Depot: Which Has Better Prices and Services?

Drywall Patching
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Drywall Patching

Crocket told Cheapism about a job where an electrician had moved a few outlets in a home and left holes in the wall. The homeowner wasn't able to find a drywaller willing to do such a small job, and the Crockets couldn't paint until the holes were patched. After a bit of studying and asking for help at the local hardware store, they were able to patch the holes themselves. It was easy enough that Crocket recommends that homeowners learn this skill as well.

Put In Crown Molding
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Putting in Crown Molding

If you have a table saw (or have a Home Depot or Lowe's nearby where you can rent one), you can install your own crown molding for less than $300. The molding itself is only around $3 to $8 per square foot, and Home Depot has a tutorial explaining just how to do it. 

Repairing a Leaky Faucet
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Repairing a Leaky Faucet

A faucet with a drip is annoying, wasteful, and costly. Often a failing washer is to blame. Check the manufacturer's website to find out what type of replacement washer you need and turn to YouTube for instructional videos. The repair involves taking apart the faucet using a screwdriver and pliers. Washers can be found at hardware stores for less than $2 each, and sets of assorted washers cost about $7.

Related: 12 Things We Can Learn From the Great Depression

Repairing a Leaky Pipe
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Repairing a Leaky Pipe

Like a leaky faucet, a leaky pipe under the sink often can be addressed without calling a professional. Generally, you just need a new washer or nut, but in some cases the entire p-trap (the curved section) has to be replaced. The parts should be $5 to $15 at a local hardware store, depending if they're plastic or metal. Be sure to turn off the water flowing to the sink before taking anything apart.

Related: 17 Lies That Plumbers Tell to Drain Your Wallet

Unclogging a Garbage Disposal
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Unclogging a Garbage Disposal

A clogged drain is never fun, especially when there's a disposal involved. With a bit of preparation, though, a homeowner can make a DIY repair. Kathryn Lagden of Burlington, Ontario, said that after watching an instructional video on YouTube, all she needed to clear a clogged disposal was an Allen wrench, a flashlight, tongs, and 15 minutes. There was a time she had limited experience with DIY home repairs, but watching instructional videos has helped her fixed her vacuum, laptop, and dishwasher without hiring a professional.

Related: How to Make Sure Your Appliances Don’t Fail When You Can’t Get Them Repaired

Add More Attic Insulation
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Adding Insulation

The website Remodeling notes that attic insulation offers a 108% return on investment while cutting the overall cost of home energy use. You can do spray-foam or blown-in insulation, or get “batt” insulation that comes with plastic or foil backing in a roll sized to fit between standard-size floorboards — just unroll it where you want it. It holds up well over the years and is a cinch to do, so long as you measure the space between floorboards and order the corresponding size carefully for easier installation.

Door hinge
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Fixing a Squeaky Door

There are few things more obnoxious than the whine of metal on metal every time you open or close a door. Fortunately, it's easy to get rid. Put cardboard below to avoid scratching your floor, and just take the door off — removing hinge pins from the top with a flathead screwdriver or putty knife, or by inserting a nail or small screwdriver from below. (You may have to tap upward with a hammer.) Wipe the pins with oil, alcohol, or WD40 and slip the pins back into the aligned hinges. Wise DIYers will make removing and replacing the door a two-person job.