Saving with 6abc: Try these DIY tips before paying a pro

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You may not need a handyman with the next household project. (WPVI)

"There's no way that doing things yourself could ever replace an experienced professional to come in and handle the big items," says Beth Allen of DIY HipChicks, "But there are a lot of little things that we can do in five minutes, that will save us money and time from having to wait for the repair man, come write a check, take time off of work."

Allen says you can often fix your own jammed garbage disposal with a simple Allen wrench or $3 disposal wrench.

First, try to clear the stuck item using tongs. Allen explains, "If you find you have a clog or jam, don't stick your fingers in. Use tongs and try to pull out the clog. If you can't get it from the top, there's a hole in the bottom of it. You take a Allen wrench, or a dispenser wrench, you put it in and you simply rotate the blades."

Disposals also have a reset button underneath that you can try to push if the disposal won't turn on. If that doesn't work, you'll want to check your circuit breakers -- but don't just look at them.

Allen says, "When you go to the circuit breaker box when they trip, they flip, and bounce back part way sometimes. So visually, it looks like all the buttons are in a row, take a moment and just push them all till you feel them all in a locked position."

Another tip if your small appliances don't work, check all the Ground Fault Interrupt (GFI) switches in your house -- even ones that aren't near the non-working outlet.

Allen says, "What people don't understand is that, that bedroom outlet that operates your lamp, could be tied into this, after the series of electrical sockets."

Finally, a $3 tool called a Zip-It Stick can help you clear clogged drains without calling a plumber. And you can keep them clear by pouring baking soda and vinegar down the drain, covering it for 20 minutes and then pouring in boiling water.

For more DIY tips from Allen, click here.


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