The first time I replaced a chandelier I hired an electrician who charged $300. I am a firm believer in hiring professionals for complicated jobs, but as I watched the electrician twist the color-coded wires together I thought, “I could have done that!” Since then I have discovered several home fixes that may seem complicated, but are easy to master and will save hundreds of dollars by doing yourself.

So skip the hassle of trying to find a reliable handyman, calling off work for the appointment, and spending hundreds of dollars on something that only takes a few minutes to do. Instead, try to fix the problem yourself. Listed below are five simple home fixes with instructions to save you time and money.

Replace a Chandelier or Ceiling Light

Replacing a dated dining room chandelier can have more impact on a room than repainting. Better yet, it takes only a fraction of the time to replace a chandelier than it does to prep a room for paint.
This Old House” provides excellent instructions on how to replace a chandelier yourself. While it may take you the entire estimated one to two hours to change your first chandelier, after replacing a few light fixtures you can probably cut that time down to under an hour.

Tip: When looking for bargain light fixtures, try the clearance aisles in the big box stores. Customers often special-order lighting online only to return it once it arrives. When that happens, the big box stores mark the brand new chandeliers down considerably.

Repair Drywall

While the idea of spackling holes and taping drywall seams might not seem like an appealing way to spend an afternoon, the amount of money you could save by repairing drywall yourself could change your mind.

According to the average cost for three hours of drywall repair in the Orlando, Florida, area is between $232 and $277. Most of this cost is in labor, with the cost of materials only coming to approximately $25.

While there are many websites that will show you how to repair drywall, Lowes has one of the most comprehensive instructions on the internet.

Replace a Bathroom Exhaust Fan

It may be the moving parts or the fact that a broken exhaust fan sounds like a dying Wookie, but most people shy away from replacing bathroom exhaust fans for fear the fans are too complicated. In reality, once you vacuum out all the years of dust, you will see that replacing an exhaust fan is actually easier than replacing a chandelier.

According to, the average cost to hire someone to replace a bathroom exhaust fan ranges from $121 to $213. Replacement exhaust fan motors start at around $15. Save yourself the $100 to $200 and try this simple fix yourself.

For a quick fix, replace only the broken fan’s motor, which can be done in as little as 30 minutes. To upgrade from a simple fan to a fan/light fixture try Today’s Homeowner for a great video describing how to replace a ceiling fan and the housing unit.

Tip: When replacing just the motor, remove the broken exhaust fan first, being careful to take pictures to remind yourself how the fan was installed. Bring the broken fan motor with you to buy the replacement to make sure you get the right type.

Re-caulk Your Bathroom

caulking-gunWhether your caulk is so old it has started to flake off or so moldy you feel dirty even while taking a shower, eventually every bathroom will need re-caulking. Re-caulking a shower can also instantly make a bathroom look cleaner and newer. The DIY Network has excellent instructions on this project.

Tip: Once you have mastered the art of caulking in your bathroom, take a look at your baseboards and crown molding. Re-caulking baseboards can make an older home suddenly look like new construction.

Maintain or Replace Water Shut-Off Valves

Those little valves hidden under the sink and behind your toilet are completely forgotten about until an emergency occurs. Unfortunately, if not maintained these valves can rust in place, leaving you in a lurch when you desperately need to shut off the water.

To maintain the valves, use WD-40. Apply to the handle shafts, then twist the handles back and forth to work the WD-40 into the threads. If the handles are rusted shut, apply more WD-40 and wait a few hours before trying again.

If the valves still won’t close, you’ll need to replace them. The average cost to hire a plumber to replace the valves is between $96 and $121 according to, with the materials averaging around $32. “This Old House” shows you how to replace a water shut-off valve in six simple steps, without soldering.


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