Even tasks that seem relatively small can add up. Consider the French doors that David Sievers, 53, and his wife, Ulin Sargeant, 47, installed two years ago to replace sliding glass doors on their two-bedroom house in Monrovia, Calif. The doors cost $2,000. But then they paid $1,700 for installation, $500 for a painter to restore the stucco and paint, and $1,600 for an engineering plan required by the city.
How to DIY it: There are lots of ways to clear a drain, so start with the easiest one. If your sink has a pop-up stopper, remove that and clean it. If that doesn’t do the trick, fill the sink with 3 or 4 inches of water and use a plunger to plunge the sink (plug the overflow hole with a wet rag first). Still slow? Try snaking the drain pipe with a metal hanger or a pipe-cleaning tool (sold at hardware stores for about $2).
Periodic maintenance also falls under the general class of home repairs. These are inspections, adjustments, cleaning, or replacements that should be done regularly to ensure proper functioning of all the systems in a house, and to avoid costly emergencies. Examples include annual testing and adjustment of alarm systems, central heating or cooling systems (electrodes, thermocouples, and fuel filters), replacement of water treatment components or air-handling filters, purging of heating radiators and water tanks, defrosting a freezer, vacuum refrigerator coils, refilling dry floor-drain traps with water, cleaning out rain gutters, down spouts and drains, touching up worn house paint and weather seals, and cleaning accumulated creosote out of chimney flues, which may be best left to a chimney sweep.
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When you contact a handyperson service, the more details you provide the better. Some companies won’t do some tasks, such as painting, while others avoid specialized work, like electrical, plumbing, or masonry. Some services accept only small projects; others work only on multi-day or multi-month remodeling jobs. A list of tasks is also essential for getting a price quote, or even a rough time estimate, over the phone and will help you determine whether you’ll need companies to drop by before drafting written cost proposals.
Risk: If your house was built before 1994 and still has the original plumbing fixtures, you’re using 30 to 40 percent more water than a comparable new home. Because about 70 percent of the water flowing through the showerhead is hot, that means higher heating bills too. A basic showerhead can cost just $15 and could pay for itself in reduced water and heating costs after just one month. Calculate your savings at epa.gov/watersense/watersense-calculator.
A garbage disposal is a bit scary when it’s turned on and the blades are noisily chopping up kitchen waste. But, if your disposal gets stinky, fear not. It’s easy to clean out the gunk and get rid of the smell. If the splash guard needs replacing, you can do that in 20 minutes! If you need to replace the entire disposal you can replace it yourself.
To fix a squeaky floor under carpet, locate the floor joists with a stud finder, then drive in a trim head screw through the carpet, pad and subfloor, and right into the floor joist. Be sure the top inch of the screw doesn’t have threads or the subfloor won’t suck down tight to the joist. We like trim screws because screws with larger heads pull down and pucker the carpet. If that happens, back out the screw and drive it back down. Keep adding screws until the squeak stops. Try these other squeaky floor fixes.
Workers often have strong backgrounds in some areas—say, carpentry—and know enough to do small jobs related to other trades. If your list primarily consists of projects related to one type of work, ask prospective companies if they have workers with expertise in that area. We get scads of complaints from consumers who hire jacks-of-all-trades but get workers who don’t have the knowledge or skill to complete work satisfactorily.
At age 16, Jerry Torre became the unlikely handyman and close friend to the recluse aunt of Jackie Kennedy Onassis and her daughter who at the time were living in a crumbling East Hampton, N.Y., estate. — Stephanie Nolasco, Fox News, "Jackie Kennedy Onassis was 'horrified' of recluse aunt, cousin living in crumbling Grey Gardens, book claims," 12 Sep. 2018 Pascal is a poacher, a handyman and, for Moll, a madly attractive potential lover. — Justin Chang, latimes.com, "Jessie Buckley flirts with danger in the tense, uneven British thriller 'Beast'," 10 May 2018 Two handymen found the victim and called 911 around 7:15 p.m. the same day. — Heidi Groover, The Seattle Times, "Tacoma couple arrested in connection with death of 67-year-old Renton man," 26 Sep. 2018 The same goes for handymen, painters, anyone in trade. — Carren Jao, latimes.com, "Getting through that condo remodel means taking extra steps," 8 June 2018 The handyman’s hut offers subscribers access to hedge trimmers, chain saws, leaf blowers and other equipment; users pay a flat monthly fee to borrow the tools and return them when they’re done. — Philip Delves Broughton, WSJ, "‘Subscribed’ Review: For a Flat Monthly Fee," 17 July 2018 Each member of the family had specific roles; his were trucker and handyman. — Annie Martin, OrlandoSentinel.com, "UCF's Dale Whittaker says he will rise to challenge of presidency," 31 Mar. 2018 Luthy was getting a few handyman jobs here and there, but wanted to see if Lowe's would hire him. — Megan Friedman, Country Living, "A Lowe's Store in Texas Hired a Disabled Veteran – And His Service Dog," 6 Dec. 2016 This 18-in-one tool allows the handyman on your list to carry his toolbox in his wallet. — Brianna Steinhilber /, NBC News, "18 last-minute Father's Day gifts for every type of dad (and every budget)," 12 June 2018
There's no national standard or regulation for handymen. Licensing and regulation vary by state. New Jersey, for example, requires handymen who work for a profit to register with the state and carry insurance. California requires handymen to carry a license from the State Contractors License Board to work on any project that exceeds $500 in labor and material costs. Find out before you hire the handyman if he or she has the skills needed to complete your project. Need Handyman Repairs? Click Here