Happy Home Insider

Four Essential Keys to Affordable Home Repairs

What’s better than saving money on home repairs? Having the satisfaction of not getting swindled out of several hundred dollars by unscrupulous repairmen.

What’s better than saving money on home repairs? Having the satisfaction of not getting swindled out of several hundred dollars by unscrupulous repairmen. We all know how quickly the nonsensical parts and service charges can accrue when we’re dealing with the home repair industry, so why not learn some tricks and tips that you can apply yourself in order to mitigate that sinking feeling you get every time a handyman slaps a bloated invoice on your counter?

First off, let’s look at some easy fixes for solving common gutter problems. No one is a stranger to the occasional loose gutter. The spikes that are used to install a gutter system (especially on houses that are more than a couple decades old) have a relatively short lifespan; these spikes will wear out or sometimes even break off. When this happens, you can visit your local hardware store and pick up fascia hanger brackets that can be easily drilled into your gutter and will secure it for years to come. Installation is a cinch: after you hook the bracket under the front lip of the gutter, simply screw or drill the bracket to the fascia and the gutter will be secure. As far as cleaning out your gutters is concerned, it might seem like a bother when in reality it’s a very simple task. In order to get all those leaves and debris out of your gutters, all you will need is an old spatula. It’s the perfect tool: the right size, an ergonomic grip and it won’t scratch up the gutter. The grime will simply wipe off of the spatula as well, making the clean up process just as easy.

Windows are another one of those pesky home-improvement problems that most people are hesitant to tackle themselves. But instead of replacing a window, there are plenty of repair tips that can potentially save you thousands of dollars in the long run. As long as they are well maintained, wood windows can last a century. But when you don’t practice regular upkeep, they can quickly deteriorate. Oftentimes, these problems are strictly cosmetic. If a wood window appears to be rotting or stripping, you can quickly patch it up with a liquid epoxy. Holes in windowsills can be filled with epoxy putty. Both of these epoxy products can be easily sanded and painted for a brand new finish, and it’ll cost less than fifty dollars.

Chances are, you have had an insurance adjuster or a roofing contractor assay some roof damage in the past. They are often quick to tell you that you need to replace entire sections—or sometimes the entire roof—when there are plenty of avenues to explore before taking on such an expensive and onerous project. If there are only a few shingles that need to be repaired, usually this can be done with a tube of roofing cement and a piece of aluminum flashing. Start by cutting the flashing bigger than the shingle so that it extends under the broken tab on all sides. Use a pry bar to loosen the damaged tab and the tabs surrounding the damaged tab. Then, apply several beads of thick roofing cement to the surface of the roof beneath the shingle. After that, the new flashing can be slipped underneath the shingle and more cement and pressure should be applied so the new tab adheres properly. But make sure to wear non-slip shoes!

The last thing we want when the temperature starts to drop is a heater that is on the fritz. Appliances seem incredibly complicated, but they are actually fairly simple machines. Luckily, a malfunctioning furnace or oil-boring heater is most often a result of the appliance sitting dormant for the entire summer, or another fairly simple reason. If you find, for example, that your oil furnace just doesn’t want to turn on, you might be able to fix it with just the flick of a switch. All oil burners have reset buttons that will trip every once in a while. It’s typically a small red button at the base of the burner. If it was a trip, the burner will fire up immediately after pressing that button. However, if the burner doesn’t turn back on immediately, there’s likely a bigger issue at hand, and it might be time to call in a professional.

Jordan Jacobs

Jordan has worked as a mortgage lender and real estate agent. He is a self-described "housing professional" with over 20 years of experience in the industry. After retiring at the early age of 50, he shifted his focus to sharing his personal wisdom with others.

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