As you prepare to leave the dorms or your parents' place, it's important to know how to handle many of the common problems that you may encounter. Living on your own is a major step toward independence that requires some skills-training and preparation. Some people expect they'll figure things out as they go along, but this only leads to more stress and trouble down the line. While Google is always available to guide you, it's important to know how to quickly address problems safety on your own. The internet is a valuable tool, but articles like this one are designed to help you prepare for a problem rather than coach you through a dilemma. Read on to learn about three of the most common household troubles you might encounter on your own and how to fix them. Be sure to buy a beginner's tool kit before moving day; this way, you'll always have anything you need on-hand to make repairs and quick fixes.
How to Pay for Home Repairs
It's a good idea to start an emergency fund before you move out. This money can be used to buy tools, supplies or pay for repair technicians when you can't DIY the solution. Saving up enough for emergency funds can be difficult in college, so many young adults take out private student loans. Loans are often the stepping stone for many students into adulthood. In addition to paying for tuition, they can also be put toward rent, food, utilities and common household expenses. For students who are only working part-time or want to move out while going to school, private student loans offer greater financial security and independence.
A Clogged Toilet
Easily the most common plumbing issue, clogged toilets are as much of an inconvenience as they are misunderstood. When the flusher won't go down, people panic and usually have one of two responses; the first is to flush again and try against all hope to move whatever won't go down; the second is to immediately grab a plunger, which can cause dirty water and waste to spray all over the bathroom while water continues to rise. When you encounter a clogged toilet, the first thing you should do is wait until the water recedes. This could take a while, but be patient, and let as much water as possible drain from the bowl. Then, it's time to grab a pair of trusty rubber gloves and a plunger.
When you buy a plunger, make sure you opt for one that has a bell-shaped end, professionally known as an extension flange. This provides greater suction around the bowl than the cheaper plungers with rounded rubber edges. Extension flange plungers are also great to use on stopped-up tubs and shower drains, too, making them a versatile household tool that everyone should always have within reach. After you've suited up, push the plunger into the toilet. Give a few fast, hearty pumps to get a good seal. Once the plunger is fixed onto the toilet, you can begin to plunge steadily. Switch between heavier maneuvers and shorter, lighter plunges. After a few minutes, the clog should loosen.
In some cases, plunging can cause waste to return to the bowl. When this happens, repeat the process and attempt to flush. In cases where plunging doesn't work, you may need a toilet snake. Snaking your own toilet is possible, but it's also a good idea to keep a local plumber's number saved. In many cases, they offer affordable rates for common clogs that can prevent any unnecessary damages from faulty DIY repairs.
Broken Ice Cube Maker
A frozen ice cube maker is a common occurrence, but many adults are completely stumped on how to go about fixing it. The good news is that in most cases, the problem is caused by a frozen fill tube. Setting the fridge's temperature too low can cause the freezer to become too cold. First things first, dump all of the ice in the ice cube maker's bin into the sink. Place all of the frozen items in the freezer into a cooler or insulated bag.
Unplug the fridge, and keep the door closed. It should remain cold enough to preserve any food inside of it for the next hour or two. Now, use a screwdriver to remove the ice cube maker from the freezer. Most are held in place with two screws. Once you've removed it, scrape any ice off the top of the freezer. This will prevent leakage into electrical components when you apply heat. Hold a hairdryer about 6 inches from the tube that comes through the back of the freezer. Blow hot air on it until water begins to drip from the tube. This indicates any ice that was frozen inside has thawed. Reconnect the bin, turn the ice setting on and adjust your fridge's thermostat if it was too low. You shouldn't go more than a notch below the default setting to avoid over-refrigerating your food and damaging the freezer.
Replacing a Light Bulb
Changing a lightbulb presents the risk of shock and electrical fire if not done properly. In most cases, it is safe to change a light bulb with the power turned on, but there is still a risk of electrocution. The best thing to do is always shut off the lamp or fixture first, then turn off the electricity to its outlet using the appropriate circuit breaker in your fuse box. If the bulb burnt out while you were using it, wait for the glass to fully cool before touching it. You may also want to wear a pair of safety gloves to protect yourself from potential cuts should the glass break. Once you've removed the lightbulb and installed the new one, you should wrap it in a plastic bag or a few paper towels before putting it in the trash. LED bulbs are the best option for replacements as they consume less energy and last an average of 10,000 more hours than incandescent.