Watch CBS News

5 Home Repairs Everyone Should Be Able To Do

Unless you have a live-in contractor, every homeowner needs to be able to do a few home repairs on their own. You don't have to be a DIY whiz, you simply need some good old fashioned know-how and these simple instructions.

Stuck Light Bulb –
Anyone who has ever dealt with a stuck or broken light bulb wedged into a socket knows what a chore dealing with those glass shards can be. To avoid this scenario completely, follow these simple steps:

  • Turn the power off and make sure the bulb is cool before you begin.
  • Cut off a strip of duct tape, around 2 feet long, and form it into a wide circle.
  • Place the duct tape circle around the bulb and create handles with each end of the tape, with the bulb secured firmly in the middle.
  • Put on work gloves, just in case the bulb does break, and then grasp the duct tape handles, turning counter-clockwise until the bulb is fully removed from the socket.
  • If the bulb does break, use an unpeeled potato to remove what's left in the socket, but double-check first to make sure that the power is off.

Leaking Toilet – 
First, make sure that clogged under-rim holes aren't affecting water flow by cleaning them out thoroughly with disinfectant and a stiff bristle brush. If the toilet's flush-ability doesn't improve, do the following:

  • Double-check the ball float to ascertain if it is allowing water to rise up to very high levels, creating overflow or leakage. If the ball float requires adjusting, tighten the top screw of the arm mechanism or gently bend the arm mechanism into a downward position.
  • If the ball float does not seem to be the culprit, install a new flapper.

Stuck Doorknob –
Hopefully no one is on the other side of the door, but whether the room is empty or someone is trying to get out, these fixes are fast and easy:

  • First try to open the door by inserting a credit card between the door and door frame, and pushing down on the pawl to open.
  • If that doesn't work, try to remove the doorknob and its screws. Release the locking pillar with a shim.
  • Sometimes an inserted, thin screwdriver will pop open the locking mechanism, allowing for the door to be pushed open.
  • If all else fails, remove the door from its frame completely by popping up the hinge pins with a hammer, going from the bottom to the top.
  • Replace the troublesome doorknob with a new one.

Leaky Sink Faucet –
 Faucet washers can harden over time, causing leaks and requiring replacement. In order to stop losing water to a leaking faucet:

  • Turn off the water supply.
  • Remove the cap and unscrew the handle.
  • Using a counter-clockwise motion, unscrew the packing nut as well as the cover if there is one.
  • Remove the valve stem from its base by gently twisting it upward.
  • Bring the valve stem to the hardware store in order to assure you have the right type of washer to replace the existing one.
  • When you return to the task, remove the old washer and replace with a new one by reversing the above steps.

Caulking –
Sealing your windows effectively keeps the outside elements where they belong. Caulking should be checked every year and if necessary, replaced.

  • Always choose a high-quality caulk and avoid acrylics which can crack and shrink, allowing for air and water seepage as well as mold.
  • Remove the old caulk and any surrounding material, such as dirt or grime.
  • Create a straight edge with masking tape on either side of each joint. This will be removed once the new caulk is in place.
  • Use a caulk gun or tube to seal cracks and open spaces with an easy, pressurized motion.
  • Seal spaces and cracks both inside and outside of the home.
  • Smooth caulk down within five minutes of application using a smoother or your finger.

Corey Whelan is a freelance writer in New York. Her work can be found at

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.