DIY home repairs have two big advantages: You save time and you save money. After all, who has the leisure - or the inclination - to wait all day for an expensive repair person to stop by?
Of course, you probably shouldn't attempt to rewire your house or retile your bathroom floor without training, but you can simplify your life by learning to do some DIY home repairs on your own.
What common problems will you be able to solve yourself?
There are also some elementary household repairs that you can easily tackle with the help of common household items.
Here are a few simple but important fixes you can take care of yourself.
When the toilet water threatens to overflow or bathroom sink regurgitates, your natural inclination is probably to get as far away as possible from the germs and gunk within and to reach for the phone.
You'll probably get put on a waitlist - there's a reason plumbers are the busiest repair people around. Be brave: This is one of the DIY home repairs you can fix the yourself, often in a few simple steps.
Consider the case where the water in your toilet bowl continues to rise above its normal level after you flush.
This is not a pretty picture, but if you've got kids who have recently discovered the wonders of toilet paper, it may well be a familiar one.
The first move to keep a bad situation from getting worse is to remove the top of the tank and flip the rubber stopper in the bottom of the tank back over the drain hole. This will stop the flow of water into the bowl.
Next, place the plunger cup snugly over the bowl's drain opening and give it a few vigorous pumps. The idea is to force the obstruction beyond a U-shaped section of toilet pipe, called the "trap", and into the straighter (and wider) drainpipe. The blockage should then flow away, and take with it any backed-up water.
If your efforts are of no avail, the problem may lie elsewhere in the drainage system. Now that you've rules out a simple clog, it's time to call your busy plumber. Meanwhile, don't pour caustic liquid plumbing products into the bowl. That way, the plumber doesn't have to deal with harsh chemicals when making the repair.
When sinks in the kitchen or bathroom back up, pouring liberal doses of very hot water down the drain will often help by melting greasy clogs away.
If that doesn't work, place your handy plunger over the drain opening, and perform three or four swift pumps; then pause to see if the sink drains.
If it doesn't, try again. As a last resort before calling that busy plumber, try using a liquid drain opener. On tub and bathroom sink drains, you need to cover the overflow valve near the rim.
As you gently push the plunger down, hold a slightly damp cloth over the overflow valve. Alternatively, pour in some of that liquid drain opener into the primary drain and cross your fingers.
If the drain opener or several short sessions with the plunger won't dislodge the blockage - or if you've noticed that several of your home's other sinks are also draining sluggishly - the problem is likely to be deep inside your main house drain and well out of your reach. Once again, you'll need that plumber.
If your garbage disposal stops working, the good news is that most disposals have a built-in reset button.
Heavy loads will sometimes cause the motor to overheat; after switching off the disposal and waiting a minute or two, you can press the reset button (usually red) near the bottom of the unit; then restart the disposal.
Normally, if a disposal refuses to turn on - unless the drain is obviously filled up with garbage - this reset button is the quickest way to get it running again.
If this doesn't work, shut off the power to the disposal unit by either unplugging it or turning off the circuit breaker if the unit is hardwired.
Use the wrench that comes with the disposal to turn the mechanism and make sure it's not jammed (the wrench usually fits in a hexagonal recess in the bottom of the disposal).
If it won't budge, shine a flashlight down into the disposal to see if you can determine the cause of the jam. If you don't find anything amiss there, or you just see a lot of water, then insert the handle of a broom or plunger into the drain and move the handle back and forth.
This should dislodge the blade, which may be wedged against a piece of silverware, a bottle cap, or some other small item that has fallen in unnoticed.
Use long kitchen tongs - never use your fingers - to pull the culprit out.
Check out the Clean Organized Home Store for home repair tools and supplies you need to keep your home running smoothly.