ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel


Updated on June 10, 2015


For some reason those “home repairs” happen in the worst moments and usually when we are short of funds for some reason. Not too long ago, and in the middle of a hot summer my air conditioner just stopped! It was 100 degrees outside and I had just paid my mortgage, so I was completely broke. My next paycheck wasn't until the following week, but there was no way me and my kids were going to survive without the AC until then.

My house was nothing but a hot sticky oven, and my kids were about to start riot if I didn't call the AC service, and I finally did! I made an agreement with the technician and I extended him a post date check for 350.00. I guess he probably felt sorry for me, and anyway, he knew where to find me right?

Watching him fix my AC made me feel like a complete moron. He had one of those little air compressors, so he inserted the hose inside a PBC pipe located inside of the indoor unit, and the air just blew! When we went outside to see what came out the pipe, I could not believe what I saw. There were some kind of disgusting looking round, jelly looking, pieces full of garbage. They actually looked like “cocoons” or some kind of alien eggs.

Those were probably the most painful 350 dollars I ever paid. Two months later, the air conditioner broke again! This time another technician had to replace a part that looked like a soda can on the outside unit, called the capacitor. He advised me that this was a part which has to be replaced quite often, especially during summer. This time the repair was 500! Including the part, of course.

I am a single mom, and my ex-husband is a deadbeat dad, who doesn't like to pay child support. My paycheck seems more like a charity donation after they take all the deductions, and have 2 kids, so I decided to start taking care of these repairs myself, since then and on.

My first trip was to Home Depot, to check prices for appliances parts. I started by the same air compressor the technician used. The capacitor which was the part the technician replaced was 20 bucks! The tester he used to determine if the part had to be replaced, was about 20 to 30. Now, the little air compressor the other technician used to clear the pipe was more expensive but no more than 200 dollars, which was almost the total amount he charged me to clear my AC pipe.

Another thing I bought after paying 80 dollars to a plumber to unclog my toilette, was a snake for 7 bucks!

Honestly, I had never been good at repairing anything! My ex-husband always took care of these things, but when he abandoned me and my kids, I never thought I would miss him to make all these repairs around the house. I bought my home brand new, but after 4 or 5 years, everything started crumbling around me. So, it was imperative that I either learned to fix things, or purchase one of those policies where they fix it for you, paying a premium every month. Unfortunately I live in a tide budget, so the answer was just to get smarter, and become “handy”!

I have a full time job and I have to drive about 2 hours (each way) to go to work and back, and I just can't stand the idea of getting home to a clogged toilette, or to have to repair something, so I have been keeping up with all my appliances, because giving maintenance is the smartest way to go, in order to avoid fixing appliances all the time.


-First things first, gather all the manuals for your appliances: washer, dryer, microwave,AC and heater, stove, refrigerator, and dishwasher. Read thoroughly each one of them, so at least, you will become familiar on how they work. Keep them in a place where you will be able to find them every time you need them.

-Before you do any repairs please DISCONECT your appliance.

-If you think you cannot figure it out, just call a technician for a free estimate, and once you know what's wrong with it, do it yourself if it is only a minor repair. Not very fair for the technician, but you might be saving hundreds of dollars.

-Make a list of everything you need, and don't forget to watch the technician closely to see exactly what he did to find the problem, because you will have to follow the same steps to fix the problem yourself, including replacing the part if necessary. Write down the name of the part, and the terms he used to describe the problem. Believe or not, the way you ask for help in places like Home Depot or Lowe, might be the difference between success or failure in your task. Besides, you might get some free help from the store associates too, on how to fix it. Remember, they deal with these technicians 24/7!

-Once you have everything you need, keep the kids away from the area where the repair will be done, be safe!

-Once the repair is finished, keep all your tools, receipts (in case something didn't work), and manuals in a place where you will always find them, without a problem.

-For AC's always keep a clean and good quality air filter, replace it according to the instructions on the product label. Also, in order to avoid clogs, poor a mix of bleach and water inside of the pipe, located in the inside unit. You will have to remove the cap first, poor it slowly, replace the cap, and repeat this at least every three months. This is something one of the technicians told me.

-For a clogged toilette, the snake is the best solution. However, if you do not have a snake (although I strongly recommend you to get one), you can use a mix of baking, soda and vinegar. You need to leave it for a few hours there. The chemical reaction from this mix, is a thick foam which pushes the clog through the pipe.

-When is about washer and dryer, be aware that they accumulate dust, and also that you would need to clean the inside of your washer often, to avoid nasty odors. There are some cleaners you can use to this effect too. Their price fluctuate between 7 and 15 dollars. Always keep the laundry area, clear of flammable items such as paper, chemicals, and used fabric softener dryer sheets. Lack of ventilation, could cause a fire.

-If it is a minor repair, you should be able to follow the instructions in the manual and get the parts yourself. However, if it is electrical you might want to get a technician anyway. And this goes for your stove too.

-When it is about to dishwashers though, the best way to avoid a repair is keeping it clean. Don't let food residues accumulate after you use it, The best thing is to rinse the dishes before you place them in the dishwasher, and rinse your dishwasher out empty, with hot water, at least once a month.

-Another appliance to break quiet often is the garbage disposal. Make sure you know how to operate it according to the manual, and ALWAYS disconnect it before you stick your hand in there. I could tell you some horror stories about this. Never stick seeds of any kind in it, especially olive seeds. The seeds get stuck in between the ring and eventually it could break the mechanism down. Some people even throw egg shells and chicken skin in it. I have found out that this stresses out the mechanism, and honestly is just easier to throw it inside of a plastic bag and seal it before throwing it in the garbage can, in order to avoid odors. But if you would ever had a clog, first try to find if there is anything obstructing around the ring, like seeds, coins, etc. Once you clear it out, then poor some bleach, or dish detergent, making sure to press the red button, before you start it again. Again, MAKE SURE IS OFF, while you are working on it.

Being handy on these days, is not just a skill, it is also a PRIORITY!


This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)