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Building & Renovating

15 Home Improvement Projects You Can Do By Yourself

Save a lot of money by tackling these home maintenance problems on your own

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Photography: Ocs Alvarez (Main Photo)

If you’re faced with a leaking faucet or damaged lightbulb, will your instant reaction be to call the neighborhood manong? You’d be surprised to find out that a lot of what we think are major home repairs are actually quite simple to resolve on your own. Here are fifteen of them:

1. Clean air con filters

Once a month is an ideal cleaning schedule, but you should clean your AC once a week if it is turned on for most of the day.

READ: RL Tips – Cleaning Air Con Filters

2. Unclog a drain


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Whether it’s a kitchen drain plugged with leftover food scraps or a bathroom drain that’s clogged with hair, this is something you can do yourself. If a toilet plunger doesn’t work, pour in a solution of half a cup of baking soda and vinegar, and leave the solution overnight.

3. Change cabinet hardware

Replacing drawer or cabinet door pulls is the easiest way to update the look of a kitchen or wardrobe. And you don’t need a manong to do this—all you need is a Philips screwdriver and a free afternoon.

READ: The P500 Update – Change Your Drawer Pulls

4. Fix a leaky faucet


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If your faucet drips freely throughout the day, then you can attempt to fix that minor leak by yourself. When you shouldn’t DIY: when the faucet is flooding up your bathroom and home, or if you have to change a P-trap, pipe, or other major plumbing works.

READ: RL Tips – Fix a Leaking Faucet

5. Patch up a hole

If your wall is made out of concrete and the hole is shallow, then this is something you can DIY. A punched-out area of gypsum board or drywall, however, is best left to pros.

READ: RL Tips – Patching Up A Hole In The Wall

6. Change a window screen

If your screen is worn and frayed, do these steps:  First, steady the frame with one hand and remove the rubber guide to take the screen out. Remove the screen by pushing it from below until it pops out. And then, with a two-inch allowance all around put the new screen on top of the frame. Outline the rubber onto the frame. With a screwdriver, push it into the canal of the frame, trim excess screen.

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7. Hang artwork


Whether you’re hanging paintings the old-fashioned way or using adhesive strips and hooks, this is something you can do on your own (see below). 

READ: 5 Easy Ways To Hang Multiple Photos

9. Paint a room


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Paint is the simplest way to update a room, and experts agree that this is a project that you can do on your own. Or, invite a couple of friends over and throw a paint party!

READ: 6 Things You Need To Know Before Painting A Room

10. Repaint old furniture and accessories

Is your side table or dining chair looking sad and worn out? Then it might be time to strip off the old wood stain and give it a fresh coat of paint—using a bright, unexpected color will make it into an accent piece!

READ: DIY – How To Repaint Old Furniture

11. Clean window blinds

Horizontal window blinds are tricky to clean, because the blinds’ slats catch a lot of dirt and dust, but it’s something you can do by yourself one weekend. Some hardware stores sell a special blind cleaner; otherwise, a small, flat paintbrush will do.

READ: RL Tips – Cleaning Window Blinds

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12. Fix a running toilet

Do you hear the water in the toilet tank running nonstop? Then lift the cover of the toilet tank and try to gently fiddle with part of the flash valve assembly. Usually, the chain gets stuck, but if nothing happens, call the plumber.

13. Clean out tile grout


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Can’t get that pesky black gunk out of your tiles? Then try oxygen bleach. If that doesn’t work, then it’s time to change your grout.

READ: This 120-Peso Hack Will Transform Your Bathroom

14. Remove leaves from a gutter


This is something that you should do before rainy season sets in (oops, too late). But on a sunny day, find a ladder, put on working gloves, and get to it. Roof damage is best left to a pro.

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READ: How To – Cleaning The Gutter

15.  Change a lightbulb


Of course! But, don’t forget to switch off/unplug the light fixture before changing the bulb. Also, let the bulb cool off, or wrap your hand in a piece of cloth before touching the bulb. (But don’t try to replace the entire lighting fixture by yourself. Call an electrician.)

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Now click here to see what home repairs are best left to professionals.

Parts of this article appeared in Real Living’s Handy Hints and Instant Makeovers: 35 Easy Home Projects book. 

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