Two months after the quarantine, any problems with your home or apartment are likely to have become apparent. If you are renting instead of buying and trying to limit contact with people, the time to take responsibility is … minimal. There are repairs and upgrades you can do without going overboard. Of course, you have to be careful so that you can still get your deposit back.
Get started with DIY For Renters: don’t call DIY expert Charles Byers’ landlord (Creative Homeowner / Fox Chapel Publishing). To, the just released maintenance guide for all lessees who need to help themselves at home.
DIY covers everything from drywall repair to painting to electrical and plumbing problems, all with simple, step-by-step instructions and lots of photos. It’s a little more advanced than a For Dummies book, but anyone with moderate tool knowledge should be able to get on with it without any problems.
DIY for tenants (Creative Homeowner)
Byers, a former carpenter’s teacher at Thaddeus Stevens College of Technology and currently a teacher in the school’s remodeling department, expanded the ideas in the book for us during this time we are stuck at home … when we should really be doing something useful with our time.
Five things we learned:
The one area to target when you are absolutely terrible at home
“There are two basic repairs that require very little effort, and both of them involve swing doors,” says Byers. The first is if the door sticks when it’s closed; Several methods are covered in this book. The easiest way, however, is to remove the short screw from the top hinge and replace it with a 2-inch long screw with the same head diameter, using a low-speed power screwdriver. “This pulls the door jamb closer to the frame behind it to secure the door as it has shifted during the life of the door due to its weight.”
What if you have a door that won’t stay open without something holding it back? Per Byers: First, check to see if the hinge screws are loose. Then remove the lower hinge pin. Place the pen on a firm surface with a block of wood under the pen, then hit the pen halfway along its length with a hammer. This deforms the pin slightly, creating friction when it is reinserted into the hinge. If this helps but does not eliminate the problem, remove the bottom pin and create an additional bend in the pin by repeating the hitting method.
A sample drywall repair page (Fox Chapel Publishing)
The repairs you should be doing now while ordering at home
“I suggest doing repairs that don’t require a lot of effort or time,” says Byers, who provided us with a list of the “easiest, most affordable” repairs or maintenance jobs, including: replacing oven air filters and in-line water filters; Check the clearances for weeds and overgrown grass and leaves around the outdoor heat pump or central air compressor units; Removing and rechecking window grilles; Floor cleaning register and cold air wall register of cobwebs; Battery change in smoke / CO2 detectors; Electricity washing the sidewalks outside; and cleaning the gutters for the spring rain.
DIY Renters author Charles Byers (Fox Chapel Publishing)
These are the repairs that must be left to experts
“My rule is that anything that requires a licensed professional to perform the task, or something outside of your comfort zone,” says Byers. Some examples include repairing sewer pipes or anything involving the live electrical panel in a building. In addition, tenants should avoid repairs that would “significantly alter part of the building” because if you try something like this (for example, replacing the vinyl floor over a concrete slab in the bathroom with a carpet) you are assuming the total cost and cost of the Possibility of the landlord not liking the type or quality of the work you are doing. Instead, contact the landlord for permission for a professional.
The random tool everyone should own
“For sockets in a building, especially older sockets that can cause problems, I recommend a polarity plug tester,” says Byers. This can be useful if, for example, the toaster does not work in the morning. A plug tester in a three-prong socket will immediately signal whether the socket is live, in good condition, and whether there is another problem (which can be detected and read by the tester’s LED light sequences). “If these three things are good, you need a new toaster.”
And finally, since I can hear my neighbors 24/7 (and vice versa), a solution for squeaky floors
A problem in this writer’s home has no simple answer. According to Byers, if you have access to the bottom of the floor, there are solutions (in short, they involve attaching 2 x 4 inch pieces of wood to floor joists). But in a third-level apartment in a larger rental building in Brooklyn, my options seem limited to using noise-canceling headphones and realizing that we’re all together … and hey, I have a door that won’t stay open.