4 Beginner DIY Skills to Master This Year

A couple working on a DIY project underneath a kitchen sink.

As a regular DIYer, fixing things on your own is not only super convenient, but can also make you feel accomplished. No need to call a repairman for the basics around the house when you can do them yourself. Save time and money by grabbing your tools and conquering these home repairs all on your own.

1. Fix a Running Toilet

Every now and again, you’ll find that one of your toilets is running for much longer than it needs to after flushing. Not only is this a waste of water that can rack up your utility bills, but the constant sound of running water can be tedious and annoying. In order to determine the culprit, remove the lid to the toilet tank to take a closer look. In most cases, the chain from the plug in the bottom of the tank to the handle is getting caught and preventing the plug from sealing after flushing.

Another common issue is that the handle is jamming, which is restraining the chain somehow so that the plug in the bottom of the tank can not seal. Whatever the issue is, it generally has to do with one of these small parts. Try flushing the toilet a few times to see what happens to the chain, handle, and plug as the tank attempts to fill. Toilet handles, plugs, and chains can all be purchased at your local hardware store.

2. Change the Water Filter on the Fridge

A stainless steel refrigerator.

Over time, the water dispenser on the outside of your fridge will dispense water much more slowly than when it was brand new. At some point, it may take a few minutes just to fill a glass of water and the flow of water may even stop altogether. This isn’t an issue with the dispenser itself, but typically a feature of the water filter.

The older a filter gets, the less effective it becomes, so the filter slows down the flow of water in order to dispense clean water. Go to your local hardware store or shop online for the water filter that was made for your fridge make and model. Most water filters can be replaced quite easily according to the directions on the package or your refrigerator manual. After replacing the filter, your drinking water will flow freely once again.

3. Unclog a Drain

It's not uncommon for a drain to clog, causing water to back up in sinks and bathtubs. While liquid drain treatments are available, they don’t remove clogs completely and are made from harsh chemicals. While this task can be gross, unclogging a drain on your own is not that difficult. If you have an attached drain plug or stopper that is controlled from a latch behind your sink, you will first want to detach that from under your sink.

At that point, use needle nose pliers, a long piece of wire, or a drain clogging removal tool to pull up the hair and dirt that have most likely created the clog. Wear plastic gloves and keep a plastic bag nearby to throw the gook into. Use the same method for unclogging a bathtub drain.

4. Replace a Dryer Vent

A dryer.

Your dryer is an important appliance in your home, so it’s necessary to take good care of it in order to keep it in its best condition. Make sure to empty the lint trap after every load to prevent clogging, but also check the dryer vent periodically to make sure there’s no clogging happening inside the vent. Check the silver tube that is your dryer vent by pulling your dryer out from the wall and pressing on the metal clasps on one side of the vent to release it from the wall or the dryer.

Take a peek inside the vent and make sure there isn’t lint inside. If there is, it’s time to pick up a replacement one at the hardware store. Do this especially if your dryer is taking longer than usual to dry loads or you have an older dryer. Also be sure you have enough attaching clasps to finish the job, especially if you have to cut the old ones off.