DIY These Fast, Affordable Home Repairs

Small home repairs can make a big difference in your quality of life. After all, who wants to live with a dripping faucet, a broken step or a creaking door? Even if you're on a tight budget, you can improve your home in a weekend with these simple, low-cost DIY fixes. Here's your guide to my go-to low-budget repairs.

Install a New Faucet

Not only is a leaky faucet annoying, it also wastes a significant amount of water. For this project, you just need a new faucet (available for less than $50 at your local hardware store), a wrench and about 30 minutes.

• Turn off your home's water supply.
• Go under the sink and unscrew the connectors of the old faucet. You may need a wrench to
loosen especially tight threads.
• Screw in the new faucet according to the package directions.
• Turn the water back on and make sure the new faucet works as expected.

Upgrade to a Wireless Doorbell

If your doorbell no longer works, upgrade to a new model without the wires. A standard wireless doorbell is available for about $25, or you can shell out $200 or more for a version with the latest smart-home features. You'll also need a screwdriver. Follow these basic steps to get it done in about 20 minutes:

• Find your breaker box and turn off power to the doorbell.
• Unscrew and remove the old doorbell. If you can't get it off, you can leave it in place if your
new doorbell has a plate that will cover it.
• Following the instructions on your new doorbell, attach the button unit plate to the door's
siding or casing using screws.
• Install the button unit, usually designed to quickly snap in and out of the plate.
• Plug the receiver into an outlet inside your home. Check the instruction manual to make      sure the outlet is close enough to the external unit.

Replace an Old Dishwasher

Has your dishwasher seen better days? If it no longer cleans your dishes effectively or uses too much energy, save the installation fee by replacing it yourself. You'll need about three to four hours to complete this project, along with a screwdriver, wire cutters, a hose clamp and an adjustable wrench.

• Head back to the breaker box and turn off electricity to your kitchen.
• Open the access panel on the front of the dishwasher and unplug the wiring.
• Use the shut-off valve to turn off the water to the appliance.
• Disconnect and drain the dishwasher's water supply line.
• Open the appliance and remove the screws attaching it to the counter.
• Carefully slide the appliance out of the opening.
• Take the water supply line for the new dishwasher and thread it through the opening into the sink cabinet.
• Attach the supply line to the sink's hot water valve with your wrench.
• Remove the old drain line under the sink.
• Use electrical tape to secure both the wires and the water supply line of the new dishwasher to the floor.
• Slide the new dishwasher into the designated opening.
• Bend the copper water supply line and attach it to the new dishwasher.
• Use the hose clamp to attach the drain hose of the new dishwasher to the garbage disposal.
• Affix the new appliance to the counter with the provided screws.

That's three projects you can finish in a weekend, which is just the beginning of your DIY journey. Build on home repair skills to save money by tackling bigger and better repairs as your confidence and knowledge grow. As always, put safety first when you DIY. Wear the appropriate gloves and goggles for your project, and avoid electrical and plumbing repairs unless you have the necessary professional skills and training.

Louis Menendez - September 20, 2020


Marina - September 21, 2020

I loved the ideas. They are so helpful. Thanks

Veronica Baker - September 21, 2020

I don’t need that information right now but it will be very useful when I do.

MARTHA Willims - September 21, 2020

how would I fix an outside faucet?

Tony - September 21, 2020

Hi there Bill,
Tks for the tips, but you might like to review the relevance of the intro’ paragraph the dishwasher replacement procedure. (Cut ‘n paste error methinks!)
Keep them coming though and all are good food for thought.
Thanks for sharing.
Tony, Sydney Australia

David Rutherford - September 21, 2020

A lot can be saved by doing repair jobs your self

Grace Reppucci - September 21, 2020

Thank you for this info as I have been thinking I’ve wanted to change the faucet in my bathroom forever, and you make it sound easy. Can you help me with another project? Both of my doorknobs won’t stay shut unless you turn the handle and close them, then pull till you hear them click. Will changing the doorknob help this problem? How hard to change to a deadbolt doorknob? Thanks for your help. Love your emails. A 74 yr old home owner just trying to keep it real.

Arthur - September 21, 2020

I’m 73 yrs. I have burnt aluminum wiring in the kitchen trued cleaning it up but afraid to house it. The appliance plugs get really warm so I stopped using them. Fixed income can’t afford to get it fixed.

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