As a new homeowner, it can take a while to figure out the essential skills you need to keep things up to scratch as well as preventing and dealing with emergency repairs. The key is knowing a few of these handy DIY skills that can help you in any property, prevent those “little jobs” from piling up and retain the maintenance and value of your home.
1, Changing a lock
If you need to change a lock so you have new keys, it is actually just the cylinder that needs replacing as opposed to the entire door lock and handle. This is an easy DIY job and most local DIY stores and specialist websites will carry various different types of cylinder from £10-£20, with instructions for fitting included. It will be a case of unscrewing the old lock, choose a similar type of cylinder to the one you have and follow the instructions.
TIP: Opting for a cheaper cylinder for your lock could compromise security or invalidate your insurance.
2, Repairing a burst pipe
A burst pipe can send anyone into panic, but it can be easy to fix yourself.
- Ask your local DIY store for a “compression repair coupling” and keep it handy in case of emergencies.
- Turn off the water and drain the piping, then cut either side of the break with a mini pipe cutter or hacksaw.
- Next, slide the nuts from the compression repair coupling on to the cut ends, then slide the two ends on to the body of the coupling. Tighten the nuts with a spanner.
- Finally, check for leaks, and if necessary, tighten the coupling further.
3, Repairing plasterboard
To repair a small to medium sized hole in plasterboard, cover the hole with a metal patch, then apply 3 thin layers of Polyfilla, letting each layer dry in between. Finally, sand, prime and paint.
4, Unblocking a drain
Certain drain unblocking services can charge a hefty sum, but to save this money you can get a set of drain rods, with screw and plunger ends for just £15-£20 from a plumber’s merchant. The rods should be screwed together and twisted clockwise in the drain. To test, flush with water.
5, Rewiring a plug
Some appliances are thrown away when they stop working, but it could have been something simple as a change of fuse or plug. Sealed plugs have a fuse cartridge that you flip open with a small screwdriver to change the fuse. For older-style plugs that you take apart, you can change to a new one as follows:
- Remove the plug cover. Nowadays, color coding for the wires is blue for neutral, brown for live, and yellow for earth.
- Unscrew the wires and fix them in the new plug, according to the colour code. Add a new fuse if necessary.
- Finally, screw the plug back together.
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