Friday, October 25, 2013

This Weekend's Task: Home Repairs

Are there any home repairs you have been putting off lately?  Have you done a walk-thru of your home lately in order to list anything that is broken or in need of repair?  This may be a good weekend to do so.
The purpose of this task is three-fold.  First, being able to do simple home repairs is a prepper task that everyone should have some practice with.  Second, you want your house to be as safe as possible and with shaky deck railing, burned out lights, and carpet that is sticking up in places...that doesn't make for a safe home.  Third, by doing your own home repairs you can save A LOT of money.  Here's some rules:

  • Start small.  Changing out a non-working light switch is a very simple task (if you don't know how to do this simply Google for YouTube videos to show you how it is done.  Also, turn off the power first), whereas replacing your septic tank will take a bit (er, a lot) more skill.
  • Have the right tools.  If you have no tools and very little money, you can round up some basic tools at the $1 store.  These obviously aren't great tools and I wouldn't buy more than a hammer, screwdriver, and pair of pliers there but these items will get you started.  As soon as possible you will want to upgrade the quality and quantity of your tools (I prefer Craftsman) which can be done relatively cheaply (garage sales, thrift stores) or more expensively (at retail stores).
  • Take safety precautions.  In construction shortcuts can literally get you killed.  Small home repairs are less likely to get you killed (be very careful of any work that involves your roof) but you don't want to get a household-sized jolt of electricity because you thought it would be quicker to replace the ceiling fan without shutting off the power first.
  • Get the family involved.  The whole family should help you hunt for things that need to be repaired in your house (it's amazing what kids can see at eye-level).
  • Call in help.  If you find yourself in over your head (it's happened to me a couple of times) call for reinforcements (which would ideally be a neighbor or brother-in-law you can pay with a case of beer, otherwise you may need to call a professional). 
  • If your home is in excellent shape and needs no home repairs you can always consider doing small home improvement projects to up your skills (install shower doors and ceiling fans, maybe build a deck).
  • Hang out with friends who are doing home repair or improvement projects and offer to help out.  This way you will be learning by doing, hopefully under the guidance of someone who is more skilled than you are.
  • Teach your kids how to do home repairs.  This is probably one of the best set of skills I instilled in the kids who all ended up doing construction jobs during college simply because they had the knowledge and background to get them employed in this field.
  • The next time something in your home breaks down make your first though "how can I fix this?" not "who can I call?".  Note, this can occasionally make the spouse a bit nervous.

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