Do you dread the moment you spot a leak or hear a strange noise coming from an appliance? Or do you relish the challenge of fixing it for yourself? Whichever camp you sit in, learning to diagnose household problems on your own is a really valuable skill. It cuts down on costs because you might be able to fix it yourself, and it helps you get to know the inner workings of your property too. Here’s how to diagnose any common household problem without picking up the phone.
Look for the source
Whether it’s a leak, a blockage, or a noisy gutter, finding the source can help you find the cause of the problem. You might have to spend some time with your ear pressed to pipes, or with a torch shining underneath bathroom cabinets, but it’s worth it. Hiring a professional to do the work might be a smart idea, but why not have a go at identifying the problem yourself?
Check your original manuals/documents
Your new shower is installed and you put the box and instructions away, never to be looked at again. Until it’s not working properly, that is… If you’ve still got it, check the original instructions for help. (If you’ve thrown it out, you can often find a PDF version online if you search the model number) It could show you what that mysterious button does, or even help you solve your specific problem if it’s common enough.
Google can be your friend (if you search wisely)
If you’re not sure why a pipe dripping, or if the drains should be making that strange noise, Google’s 30 trillion indexed pages can help you find the answer.,Like everything on the internet, you have to be careful which perspectives you pay attention to. Some might be completely uninformed, others just downright dangerous! Look around a few forums for common answers and prioritize sites with professional or experienced contributors. “I poked it with a screwdriver and then it worked” is obviously not reassuring advice to follow…
If you’re staring at the search bar, you’re not alone. London property maintenance firm Aspect analysed Google search data from the past year to discover the issues causing most concern (and confusion) for UK residents. Some of the weirdest questions included; ‘Why do my electrics smell of fish?’ and ‘Why are my taps vibrating?’ – and some of the most commonly-asked queries related to roof maintenance.
Consider big and small possibilities
Household problems can be as surprising as they are frustrating. A leak can look like a tiny drip and turn out to be a lot more serious, just like a blocked drain can look very dramatic but be simple to sort out. When you start troubleshooting, try not to assume how big the problem will be. If you come up against a more serious problem than you realised, you’ll know you did everything you could before you called a professional. If it turns out to be a quick, simple job, you’ll be very pleased you investigated for yourself and avoided a call-out fee!
Good old-fashioned trial and error!
Diagnosing anything can involve lots of testing and waiting for results. For example, identifying condensation or dampness on your walls could have a few different causes. To find the right one, you’ll need to check how the walls respond to better ventilation, changing the temperature, altering your habits, and even checking the quality of your insulation. Some professionals are biased and will suggest fixes that are easier for them, or more expensive for you! If you investigate for yourself, you’ll be solely focused on the best solution at the most affordable price. Even if you can’t fix it for yourself, you’ll be armed with information before a professional even walks through the door!