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How to Make Essential Apartment Repairs By Yourself

By Rebecca Ngu | July 19, 2016 4:16pm
 Many common apartment problems have easy fixes that any New Yorker could do themselves. We talked to apartment and hardware experts to figure out exactly how to tackle and solve these daily, domestic nuisances.
Many common apartment problems have easy fixes that any New Yorker could do themselves. We talked to apartment and hardware experts to figure out exactly how to tackle and solve these daily, domestic nuisances.
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NEW YORK CITY — Things fall apart, including the domestic devices that keep our lives running smoothly. While New Yorkers moving at their manic pace may be tempted to live with the disrepair or immediately fork over hundreds of dollars to a handyman, it's a good idea to try and fix the problems yourself. Solving common domestic inconveniences, such as a clogged drain or a running toilet, is easier than imagined, we promise. 

That's why DNAinfo New York created how-to guides for fixing common apartment nuisances, as well as a quick tips section, based on research and interviews from apartment and hardware experts. We talked to Maxwell Ryan, CEO of Apartment Therapy, Kamani Sicard, a local handyman, and Nathaniel Garber, owner of the family-run, West Village Garber Hardware standing since 1884.

Remember to be careful and read and follow all safety instructions. Most importantly, stop procrastinating!

"Try to solve problems right when they occur," Ryan said. "It's the easiest moment to get a handle on it." 

Here are the fixes every New Yorker should know:

► Unclogging All Kinds of Drains

► Changing a Light Switch to Light Dimmer

Fixing Low Water Pressure in Your Faucet

Hanging Heavy Objects on Walls

Fixing a Running Toilet

General Tips from CEO of Apartment Therapy

►Invest in a Wi-Fi thermostat

A Wi-Fi thermostat saves a lot of cumulative time and effort by enabling you to remotely control, program, and automate your apartment's heating and cooling from your phone. The most popular version is called The Nest at about $250, but there are cheaper ones closer to $100 as well. 

► Clean windows with newspaper

While this may not seem intuitive, Ryan swore that newspapers are effective window-cleaners. Once you've washed the window down with water and cleaning solution, try wiping the glass panes with newspaper, which not only absorbs the moisture but has a certain "sharp rigidity" to it that can scrape off any grease or grime accrued on the window's surface. A paper towel or cloth doesn't have the same hard edges for scraping.

► Pour leftover paint into a small jar for future scrapes

When you're doing a paint job, before you pack it all back up, pour some of the leftover paint into a little jar —  a peanut butter or masonry jar will do — and store it away with a small brush. Next time when your walls suffer a scratch, you can take out the paint jar and quickly touch it up without having to repaint the entire wall again.

Keep glue handy to fix loose or broken objects

It's amazing what a little glue can do. For example, chairs can come loose and sometimes fall apart after wear and tear. If a chair leg has fallen out, Ryan suggested just applying some wood glue in the target area and putting the pieces back together. "A little glue helps a lot," Ryan said. He also invests in other heavy-duty glues, such as Gorilla Glue and Krazy glue, to fix just about every broken thing in his house, from furniture to plates.