5 Essential DIYSkills that Homeowners Need to Know
As a new homeowner, it took me a while to figure out the essential skills I’d need to keep things up and running, and to prevent and deal with emergencies. After all, I’d always been able to leave these things up to landlords and or parents before. The thing is, knowing a few of these handy DIY skills can save you a packet in labour costs. What’s more, you’ll prevent those “little jobs” from piling up, and good maintenance lets your home retain its value in the long term.
1. Changing a lock
If you just need to change a lock to have new keys, it’s actually just the cylinder that needs replacing as opposed to the entire lock, and this is an easy DIY job. Local DIY stores and specialist websites will carry various different types of cylinder from £10-£20, usually with instructions for fitting. It will be a case of unscrewing the old lock – so make sure you have an appropriate screwdriver.Choose a similar type of cylinder to the one you have – opting for a cheaper version could compromise security or invalidate your insurance.
2. Repairing a burst pipe
A burst pipe can send you into a panic – but it’s 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 small – to medium sized holes 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 packet, yet it’s money down the drain when you can get a set of drain rods, with screw and plunger ends, for just £15-£20 from a plumber’s merchant. Rods should be screwed together and twisted clockwise in the drain.
5. Rewiring a Plug
Many non-working appliances are thrown away when they could have had a new lease of life with a fresh plug or fuse. 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.