Whether you're renting an apartment or just bought your first home (lucky you), it's important to know how to do at least a few things around the house. No one expects you to become a handyman (or woman) overnight, but knowing how to unclog a toilet, replace a sink stopper or hang a picture will make your life easier.
Here are three simple home maintenance tasks that everyone should master.
1. Unclog a Drain
Drain clogs are common and pretty easy to fix. No, you don't necessarily need to go out and buy chemical drain cleaners. You can usually take care of the problem yourself using a few common household items.
First, remove the stopper by loosening the horizontal rod under the sink that connects to the drain. Use an old toothbrush, wire hanger or wire bent into a hook to remove the clog.
Clogs are usually caused by soap scum or hair.
If that doesn't do the trick, you can try your trusty plunger. First, replace the stopper and tighten the nut that holds the rod in place. Place a plunger over the drain, add just enough water to cover the rubber, and place a wet sponge over the sink's overflow hole. Plunge up and down (put some elbow into it) at least a dozen times.
If you're successful, you should hear a "whoosh" sound.
The same steps can be taken to clear a clogged tub drain. Usually, it's just hair clogging the drain (gross).
When to Call in a Professional
If you've tried all the tricks in the book and your drains are still clogged, it may be time to call in a professional. There may be a bigger problem at hand.
As VA Plumbing explains, "There are many different reasons that cause clogged drains. It usually happens when dirt, skin flakes, and hair binds to the soap-scum-covered walls of your drain pipes. These gradually accumulate and reduce water flow over time. Other reasons include:
- Roots from shrubs and trees
- Misaligned pipes
- Frozen pipes
- Foreign objects / build-up"
If any of these things are causing your clog, it's time to call in the pros.
2. Replace a Sink Stopper
If your sink stopper is in serious need of replacement or its missing altogether, you can replace it yourself with just a few simple, inexpensive parts. This repair can cost you $10 or less, so there's no sense in calling a plumber to get the job done.
First, you'll need to locate the horizontal rod under the sink that connects to the drain. Mark the spot where the rod threads through the vertical plate. You may need to use a flashlight to see everything clearly.
There should be a screw and nut on the vertical plate. Loosen both just enough so that you can pull out the rod and slip a new stopper in place. Wiggle things around a bit until everything is properly aligned. Next, tighten the nut just enough to keep the stopper from sliding down. Then, tighten the screw.
3. Hang Art and Mirrors
Art can make your home and walls a little more interesting. But if you want to avoid having crooked pictures and giant holes in the wall, you need to take your time and do it the right way.
Picture hangers are ideal because they can hold a lot of weight and won't do much damage to the wall.
The best way to hang a picture is to first create a paper template. Measure the frame or canvas, and create your paper template. Mark where the picture hanger will go.
Now, you can move your template around the wall to find the spot you like. Mark the spot where the hanger should go, and tap the nail in that spot. Hang your picture and enjoy.