How to Fix Common Household Problems Yourself

Like anything you learn to do, the first time you DIY a household repair, there is a learning curve, and it takes a little extra time. But with a few step-by-step videos, some basic tools, and a little patience, you’ll be able to fix most common household problems yourself. Best of all, you can do it without spending much time or money.

Tips for Fixing Common Household Problems Yourself

Fix a Clogged or Slow Sink Drain

Slow drain? Or full-blown clog? You can try the ol’ volcano trick with baking soda and vinegar (the kids will love it). But that trick won’t clear more than surface level clogs.

It’s usually easy to clean out a clogged drain with a little time. Fair warning:  it’s a dirty job that does NOT smell like roses and unicorns.

Tools/Materials you might need:

  • Bucket or container
  • Channel locks or crescent wrench
  • Zip it tool
  • Drain auger or snake (optional)
  • Gloves – if you can’t handle the nasty goop on your hands
  • Clothespin – in case the goop smells ;)

Repair a Hole in Drywall

Whether it’s a small dent or a large, gaping hole, almost anyone can fix drywall holes. With this video and a few simple tools and supplies, your drywall will look good as new in no time. No one will ever know the doorknob went through the wall or that couch didn’t fit down the hall.

Tools/Materials you might need:

  • Spackle or joint compound (spackle for smaller holes, joint compound for larger repairs)
  • Putty knife
  • Adhesive wall patch
  • Sandpaper
  • Utility knife
  • Joint tape (for larger jobs)
  • Drywall panel (for larger jobs)
  • Corner bead (for patching corners)
  • Spray texture

Fix or Replace a Broken Toilet Lever

Have you ever went to flush…and the toilet lever moved but nothing happened? Fixing or replacing a toilet lever is easy peasy. Before you run out and buy a new toilet lever, make sure the one you have is attached to the chain. If it isn’t, reattach the chain to the lever rod – and wah-lah! If it’s already connected but not working, you need to install a new lever.

Tools/Materials you might need:

  • New lever
  • Wrench

Unstick your Garbage Disposal

Is your garbage disposal clogged, stuck, or did it stop working altogether? The first thing to do is to make sure the disposal didn’t come unplugged or otherwise lose electricity.

If you know it has power but won’t work right, it’s probably overloaded. Sometimes garbage disposals get a little “overwhelmed” by food or other objects, such as a spoon or fork. Proceed with the instructions on the video – but safety first! Never put your hand down your disposal (use needle nose pliers instead).

Tools/Materials you might need:

Fix a Running Toilet

If you have a toilet that runs when it shouldn’t, you definitely want to “catch it” as soon as possible. All that running water will cost you on your next water bill. A running toilet can be caused by a few different issues. But whatever the reason, it’s something any homeowner can fix themselves. Watching the short video here could save you a ton of $$$ – on a plumber and your water bill.

Tools/Materials you might need:

  • Wire cutters (or snips)
  • Flathead screwdriver
  • Phillips head screwdriver
  • New flapper (if needed)
  • Universal fill valve (if needed)

Repair a Leaky Faucet

Fixing a leaky faucet is usually an easy fix and is perfect for DIY. First, determine where the leak is coming from. Once you know this, you can get to work replacing parts.

You can buy a repair kit from the home improvement store. Or, once you find out what’s causing the leak, you can put the parts you need in a plastic bag and take them to the store to find exact replacements.

Tools/Materials you might need:

  • Screwdrivers (flathead and Phillips)
  • Crescent wrench
  • Hex/Key wrench (or Allen wrench)
  • Rags
  • Replacement parts (or a repair kit)

Unclog a toilet

Though some deny it, almost everyone has encountered this common household….uh… problem, at one time or another. Though it might seem impossible, with the right tools and some useful plunging tricks, even the toughest of clogs can be cleared!

Tool/Materials you might need:

  • Funnel cup plunger
  • Hot water
  • Auger (if needed)

Light your Pilot Light

Anytime you’re dealing with gas and/or flames, safety should be your top priority. But, you can safely and quickly light the pilot light on your furnace or hot water heater if you’re careful and follow all manufacturer instructions.

Tools/Materials you might need:

  • Barbeque lighter
  • Flashlight


Whether you’re selling or buying a home, the process can feel intimidating and overwhelming. But it doesn’t have to. At Coluzzi Real Estate, we answer all your questions and simplify the process. We’re here for you every step of the way. Please don’t hesitate to contact us today!


About the Author:

Amanda has lived in the Des Moines area since 1999, where she and her husband have bought and sold a handful of homes over the years, including a recent flip. Amanda enjoys writing, obsesses about personal finance and is fond of looking at houses. She loves sharing useful tips and info to make life easier for anyone wanting to buy or sell a home. In her spare time, Amanda cherishes time with her family, volunteers with IHYC, gardens, hikes, and practices TaeKwonDo. You can read more of her writing at whywemoney.com