Repairs often mean simple replacement of worn or used components intended to be periodically renewed by a home-owner, such as burnt out light bulbs, worn out batteries, or overfilled vacuum cleaner bags. Another class of home repairs relates to restoring something to a useful condition, such as sharpening tools or utensils, replacing leaky faucet washers, cleaning out plumbing traps, rain gutters. Because of the required precision, specialized tools, or hazards, some of these are best left to experts such as a plumber. One emergency repair that may be necessary in this area is overflowing toilets. Most of them have a shut-off valve on a pipe beneath or behind them so that the water supply can be turned off while repairs are made, either by removing a clog or repairing a broken mechanism.
How to DIY it: Take off the loose bar by removing the screws on each of the posts that mount the bar to the wall. (If one side is solidly attached, leave it alone.) With the mounting plate now exposed, try tightening the screws in it. If that doesn’t work, remove it. Chances are you’ll find two plastic anchors underneath. Poke them with a screwdriver and let them fall inside the wall. Replace with bigger, stronger metal toggle anchors (above), sold at hardware stores. Just drive them into the existing holes with a drill or a screwdriver, and then reattach everything.
If you don’t cover paint chips with touch up paint, they’ll rust and then you’ll have a much bigger problem on your hands. The actual touch up is easy. Just buy touch up paint, fine tip paint applicators and wax and grease remover from any auto parts store. Clean the chip with the wax and grease remover and let it dry. Then dip the applicator in the paint and dab it onto the chip. Don’t add too much or the paint will drip. Let it dry completely and apply wax after 30 days. Get the full guide to using auto touch-up paint here.
Plumbing vent boots can be all plastic, plastic and metal, or even two-piece metal units. Check plastic bases for cracks and metal bases for broken seams. Then examine the rubber boot surrounding the pipe. That can be rotted away or torn, allowing water to work its way into the house along the pipe. With any of these problems, you should buy a new vent boot to replace the old one. But if the nails at the base are missing or pulled free and the boot is in good shape, replace them with the rubber-washered screws used for metal roofing systems. You’ll find them at any home center with the rest of the screws. You’ll have to work neighboring shingles free on both sides. If you don’t have extra shingles, be careful when you remove shingles so they can be reused. Use a flat bar to separate the sealant between the layers. Then you’ll be able to drive the flat bar under the nail heads to pop out the nails.
The handyman image recurs in popular culture. There have been songs about handymen recorded by Elvis Presley in 1964, Del Shannon in 1964, James Taylor in 1977. There are femme-fatale TV characters who fall for handymen. Handymen have been portrayed in books and films, generally positively, as do-gooder helpful types, but not particularly smart or ambitious. In a book by author Carolyn See called The Handyman, a handyman is really an aspiring but discouraged artist who transforms the lives of people he works for, as well as having sexual encounters with some of his clients, and his experiences improve his artistic output. The book suggests handymen discover "the appalling loneliness of the women who call him for help" whose needs are sometimes "comic," sometimes "heartbreaking," and deep down "sexual". A 1980 movie called The Handyman was about a carpenter-plumber who was "good at what he does" but is "too honest and trusting," and gets taken advantage of by "women who find him handsome and understanding;" the movie earned negative reviews from critic Vincent Canby. Other movies have used a rather tired formula of sexy-handyman meets bored-housewives, such as The Ups and Downs of a Handyman, a 1975 movie in which "Handsome Bob also finds he's a fast favorite with the local housewives, who seem to have more than small repairs on their minds." In Canada, there's a television show called Canada's Worst Handyman which is a reality show in which handyman contestants try their best on jobs in order to not be labeled worst handyman. Home Improvement is an American television sitcom starring Tim Allen, which aired 1991 to 1999. On the children's television show Mister Rogers' Neighborhood, Handyman Negri was one of the characters residing in The Neighborhood of Make-Believe, as well as the neighborhood Mister Rogers resides in. Handy Manny is an American/Hispanic preschool television show that airs on Disney Junior and stars a handy man cartoon character named Manny. The Belgian comics and media franchise The Smurfs depicts Handy Smurf with traditional handyman's accoutrements, such as overalls, carpenter's pencil and work hat. Happy Tree Friends also has an orange beaver named Handy who is a handyman.
When a home is sold, inspections are performed that may reveal environmental hazards such as radon gas in the basement or water supply or friable asbestos materials (both of which can cause lung cancer), peeling or disturbed lead paint (a risk to children and pregnant women), in-ground heating oil tanks that may contaminate ground water, or mold that can cause problems for those with asthma or allergies. Typically the buyer or mortgage lender will require these conditions to be repaired before allowing the purchase to close. An entire industry of environmental remediation contractors has developed to help home owners resolve these types of problems.
How to DIY it: This job can be messy, so protect nearby surfaces by covering them with plastic or cardboard. Spray the springs with garage door lubricant (about $7 at home centers). Don’t use oil, grease, or other lubricants. They may be cheaper, or you may have them on hand already, but they won’t work as well and tend to pick up dust and grit—just what you don’t want on moving parts.