Fix-It Series: Part 1

Katelyn Preston January 20, 2017

If you're a homeowner, you’ll inevitably encounter occasional repairs and routine maintenance that must be done in order to keep everything sailing smoothly. Sure, you have professionals to do it for you but you can't always rely on them if you wish to keep the costs down and get the work done on your schedule.

The good news is that there are many fix-ups that you can do around your home without calling in a professional. This three-part series will cover some basic home repairs that you can do yourself without having to sacrifice an entire weekend. Plus, you’ll save some money!

In Part One of our three-part Fix-It series, we’ll tell you how you can unclog a drain and install a ceiling fan using some simple tools and tricks.

Get rid of clogged drains
A clogged or slow-draining sink is a common problem in most homes. Be it in your bathroom, or your kitchen, clogs can happen due to build-ups or debris — everything from leftover food, hair, dirt or grease — accumulating from everyday usage. Forget chemical drain cleaners, now you can easily clear your drains using this super easy DIY cleaner.

What you need:

  • Baking soda
  • Salt
  • White vinegar
  • Boiling water

Instructions:

  1. Mix baking soda and salt in equal parts.
  2. Remove any metal strainers in your kitchen sink, or the metal stopper in your bathroom sink.
  3. Pour baking soda-salt mixture down the drain.
  4. Pour a cup of warm vinegar down the drain and wait for a few minutes.
  5. Follow up with boiling water until the drain unclogs.

And you’re done!

If the drain is heavily clogged or has been plugged tight due to a large obstruction, you need to bring out the plunger or a drain snake, if you have one. Once unclogged, make sure your drains are regularly maintained as it will prevent clogs and keep them running clear.

Install your own ceiling fan
Installing a fan is one of the best ways to save on your heating and cooling expenses. And, it's not as difficult as you may think.

Tools you’ll need:

  • Screwdriver
  • Wire stripper
  • Extra screws
  • Ladder
  • Electrical tape

Required materials:

  • Ceiling fan kit
  • Support brace

Step-1: Getting started
Before starting any work, be sure to turn off power that feeds any wires in the room. If you are installing a fan where there is an existing light fixture, you’ll need to disconnect the wires from the light. Check the wires with a voltage tester to make sure they're shut off after removing the fixture and when changing the wall switch. Remember: Failure to turn off the power can be dangerous and even cause electrocution death.

Step-2: Install support brace
The next step is to remove the existing plastic or metal electrical box and install the support brace that's going to hold the fan. Since most ceiling fans can weigh up to 50 pounds, electrical boxes aren’t strong enough to hold them. That’s why you need a support brace. If there’s drywall between the ceiling and the joists, you’ll need to access the framing from the attic. If it’s a new construction, cut out a piece of the drywall the size of the electrical box.

Step-3: Put on the fan bracket
After you’ve removed the old light, attach the ceiling-fan bracket by screwing it into the electrical box with screws.

Step-4: Install the fan motor
Insert the motor’s wires through the down rod and canopy and attach the down rod onto the motor using screws. 

Step-5: Mount fan to the box
Mostly, the wires that supplied power to a previous ceiling light fixture work perfectly fine for a new fan. Screw the fan’s ceiling plate onto the electrical box, first threading the wires from the box through the plate. Hang the fan from the ceiling box’s support. Next, wire the fan per manufacturer’s guidelines. 

Step-6: Assemble the fan blades
Attach each of the fan blades to its bracket. Use screws and a screwdriver to attach the fan blade brackets into the appropriate notches on the fan motor.

Step-6: Putting it together
Finish by placing the canopy over the ceiling plate, and screwing it into place.

Your ceiling fan kit most likely came with directions, but these steps may offer more insight into the process.

Stay tuned for our next blog post in this Fix-It series where we will highlight and explain some more DIY fixes around the house!