Mr. Ken, Mr. Fix It – part two

Posted on May 5, 2021



In my last blog I talked about how I got started in the Do-It-Yourself world. As I mentioned, after a while I realized that I needed to find ways to expand my knowledge so I could safely tackle more complex projects such as home wiring and auto repair. I was fortunate to have a good technical school nearby that offered some excellent adult evening classes and I took advantage of them. I took classes in home plumbing, electrical, automotive repair and general home maintenance. I loved them all but my favorite was home electrical. Every week we learned about home wiring / maintenance by doing actual projects. I then applied my new knowledge to several projects in the basement such as adding new outlets for a dehumidifier, my workbench and a cable box and installing switched lights in the crawlspace and furnace room. A lot of home wiring is not that complicated once you learn about it!

With the advent of the internet and especially YouTube, learning how to do things around the house has gotten even easier! If a picture is worth a thousand words then an instructional YouTube video is worth a million! I’m continually amazed by the number of trade professionals that want to share their knowledge with the public. Car mechanics, electricians, plumbers, heating and cooling, appliance repair and on and on. One example of a YouTube success is my snow blower maintenance. I used to think that a snow blower was complicated to service but after watching a few videos I was surprised to learn how easy it was! Instead of spending $250+ for the “pros” to do some routine snow blower maintenance I did it for $20 and also learned how to fix it if it breaks in the future!

Another way I learn about how to fix things around the house is to read the service manuals and talk to the service techs. A lot of technicians don’t mind if you ask them questions about what they’re working on and I’ve learned a lot that way. When we had a new high efficiency gas boiler installed I was intimidated by this high tech device. There’s lots and lots of settings and I figured that only a trained technician was able to work on it. But after reading the service manual I realized it really wasn’t that complicated, especially for the routine annual maintenance! I just ordered a couple of parts and put them in myself. Please note, I’ll still use my heating company to do more involved maintenance but I feel very comfortable doing the simple stuff myself and saving a ton of money in the process.

So that’s how I go about learning about my DIY projects. Sometimes after watching a few videos I realize that there’s more to a project than I feel comfortable with so that’s when I pick up the phone and call the experts.

In my next blog I will talk about a very specialized DIY project that I tackled several years ago and enjoyed more than any other DIY project I’ve done!

I’d love to hear about your DIY projects, especially those that you did after watching how it’s done on YouTube.