Bust out the tools and roll up your sleeves. These quick repairs will have your home shipshape in no time.
Little things go wrong in a home sometimes. These issues are usually too small to call someone about, but they can be bothersome nonetheless.
Fortunately, you can easily fix these issues yourself. We’ll show you how to troubleshoot — and permanently correct — three common household problems that can occur time and again in a home.
The jammed garbage disposal
You know your garbage disposal is clogged or jammed if you turn it on and it makes a humming sound — and nothing else. Don’t force it to grind up whatever is lodged in there. Just follow these easy steps to troubleshoot the problem.
Tools needed: Flashlight, pliers or tongs, hex wrench (also known as an Allen wrench)
- Turn off the garbage disposal or switch off the electrical circuit that feeds it.
- Shine a flashlight into the garbage disposal, and use pliers or tongs to pull out whatever is clogging it. Never put your hand into the garbage disposal! If you locate and remove the object right away, you should solve the problem. If not, move to step 3.
- Option A: If your garbage disposal has a reversal feature, run cold water into the disposal and run it in reverse. This should push up whatever is lodged in there so you can remove it.
Option B: If your garbage disposal does not have a reversal feature, take the following steps.
- Turn off the power at the circuit breaker (if you didn’t already in step 1).
- Go underneath the sink and locate the hole at the bottom of the disposal. Stick the end of the hex wrench into the hole and work it back and forth in both directions. The goal is to free up the impeller blade, which may be stuck. Once you can turn the wrench completely in a full circle, you should be able to go back to step 2 and free the object.
- Push the reset button and run cold water through the disposal for about a minute.
- Turn the garbage disposal back on.
The loose toilet seat
Nearly everyone experiences a loose toilet seat from time to time. Even if you retighten the hinge-bolt nut periodically, it always seems to come loose again. Fortunately, there is an easy and long-term fix. Follow the steps below, and you’ll never have a loose toilet seat again.
Tools needed: A toilet-seat tightening kit, found in the plumbing section of most home improvement stores
- Remove the hinge-bolt covers from the toilet seat.
- Loosen and remove the nut that is holding the hinge bolt in place. Leave the hinge bolts in place.
- Using the tool provided in the kit, slide a washer from the toilet-seat tightening kit onto the hinge bolt, underneath the toilet.
- Slide it up the bolt so it’s wedged tightly into the underside of the hinge-bolt hole.
- Replace the hinge-bolt nut and tighten it into place. Replace the hinge-bolt cover.
- Repeat the process on the other side.
That should do it!
The sticking or misaligned door
Several issues may cause an interior door to stick or not close properly. Possible remedies include shimming a hinge with cardboard to realign the door, driving a long screw into the jamb to pull it in, or taking down the door and planing the edge so the door swings freely.
But before you do any of those, you might want to see if your hinge screws are loose. If they are, there’s a simple 10-minute fix.
Tools needed: Cordless screwdriver, wood glue, wooden matches or toothpicks
- Remove the screws from the hinge, then remove the hinge from the door or jamb (whichever hinge side is loose).
- Put a drop or two of wood glue into each of the screw holes.
- Take some wooden matches (the wood part only) or some wooden toothpicks, and put one or more in each of the holes. Wait 10 minutes, then snap off the excess wood.
- Reattach the hinge with the screws. It should be nice and tight!
Sometimes you can fix common household problems in a matter of minutes — and get the satisfaction of having made the repair yourself. You can do this!
About the author
See Jane Drill
See Jane Drill has been teaching and empowering homeowners to take care of their own homes since 2013. With easy-to-follow tutorials and detailed explanations on a wide variety of home repairs, they encourage everyone, including beginners, to become a DIY-er and save money! They produce a new DIY video every week. Follow See Jane Drill on YouTube and Facebook.