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DIY: 4 home repair tasks you should try yourself before calling a repair shop

Here are four household fix-it jobs that you should try on your own before paying someone to do them.
Here are four household fix-it jobs that you should try on your own before paying someone to do them.
Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Performing simple home repairs is one of the easiest things you can do to save some cash - in some cases, significant amounts of money.

Try these quick home fix-its before calling a repair company.
Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Even if you have no home repair experience or any aptitude, some tasks require so little knowledge and effort that nearly anyone could probably complete them. The Web offers countless how-to videos for most common household fixes. If the YouTube video links in this article don't work for your situation, search YouTube or Google to find thousands of other options.

Here are four household fix-it jobs that you should try on your own before paying someone to do them.

Replace a doorbell button

Some types of doorbell buttons break easily and regularly, but a doorbell button with its electrical wiring may look mighty intimidating to a home repair novice. However, most doorbells connect with just two low-voltage wires. You probably don't even need to turn off the electrical power to the button.

This process takes less than 15 minutes, and you should have both flathead and Phillips screwdrivers available along with your new doorbell. When buying a new doorbell, buy one similar to what you already, to make sure it'll fit in the space and the screw holes will line up.

Start by taking out the screws in the old doorbell and putting them in your pocket so they don't get lost. You'll see two wires connected to two screws in the back of the doorbell. Loosen these screws enough to gently pull the wires off. Reconnect the wires onto the new doorbell in the same spots and tighten the screws. Remove the screws from your pocket and use them to secure the new doorbell button, then test it to make sure it works.

Replace a toilet seat

Tired of that old, wobbly and possibly stained toilet seat? Decide which type of toilet seat you need - probably a wooden round or oval - and head to any home improvement store or even Target to pick one up. You can get a standard toilet seat for less than $15. Alternately, you could select a colorful seat or even a specialty or designer one from various retailers.

This procedure takes less than 15 minutes and requires only the new toilet seat, a pair of rubber gloves and a flathead screwdriver. Simply hand loosen the bolts holding the old seat in place and remove them. Then, position the new seat and finger tighten the new bolts. Then, tighten further using the screwdriver.

Repair a toilet that keeps running

You should replace the rubber flapper inside each of your house's toilets approximately once a year, especially if you have to pay for city water. As the rubber starts to wear out or accumulate debris, it may stop falling into place, causing the toilet to keep running. It might also stop creating an adequate seal, causing a silent leakage that you may not notice until you receive your next water bill.

If your water bill suddenly spikes or you start having to jiggle the toilet handle to make it stop running, stop by a home improvement store and pick up a toilet flapper. Most toilets use a universal toilet flapper, which should cost around $5 or less.

If your toilet still has problems, it may require replacing the entire toilet kit, a more advanced procedure that you may want to pass off to a handyman.

Fix a dishwasher that leaves some dishes dirty

You may think an uncooperative dishwasher automatically requires contacting an appliance repair shop, but with a little help from videos or how-to documents on the Internet, you might find it worth a shot to try fixing it yourself.

A dishwasher that refuses to clean some of your dishes, such as the ones in the top rack, may simply have food and other debris trapped in its filtration systems.

This task requires more time than any of the other projects in this article, and you need to pay very close attention as you work, to make sure you don't end up with extra parts or screws at the end. However, if you lay out everything that you remove in an orderly fashion, you shouldn't have trouble getting it all back together again.

Search Google or YouTube for instructions on repairing your particular model of dishwasher, make sure you have the appropriate tools gathered and then go for it.

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