Overcoming a Handyman Handicap One Faucet at a Time

When the water from the faucet in our upstairs bathroom went from flowing freely to flowing slowly, at first it was just an annoyance. But when it slowed so much that it could barely rinse a toothbrush, I got worried.

My mind filled with fears of having to replace every last bit of plumbing in our house. I envisioned our plumber’s kids graduating from college courtesy of our life savings.

Such are the mad thoughts to one who is home maintenance challenged.

But then a few semi-rational thoughts made their way into my mind. None of the other faucets were running slowly, so it couldn’t be a whole-house plumbing problem, right?

Grabbing a wrench, and a computer

After ruling out the possibility that one of our kids tampered with the knobs underneath the sink, I turned to the Internet. Still fearing what I might discover, I forced my trembling fingers to type, “fixing one slow faucet.” With several results mentioning “aerator,” a term I thought only applied to poking holes in your yard for reasons that are still a mystery to me, I discovered that unscrewing the tip of the faucet and soaking the parts in vinegar may solve the problem. And to my amazement, it did!

At first, I felt like the worst player on a little league team who sticks his glove in the air out of self-defense and miraculously catches the game-winning fly ball.

But then I felt proud of myself for figuring out the problem and saving the $125 our plumber would have charged. Now I’m motivated to learn how to do more around the house myself, and I’m intent on teaching our kids how to fix stuff, too.

You can do it — they can help

There’s plenty of helpful advice available online, including from Home Depot, Lowe’s, the Family Handyman, and This Old House.

But you can just type questions into the Internet as well, which is what I did to fix our faucet.

Raising handy kids

In order to help our kids grow up to be handy around the house, I’m involving them in the projects I’m learning how to do. And I’ve taken them to some free how-to workshops offered by the two leading DIY stores.

Home Depot offers free workshops for kids on certain Saturdays.

What advice do you have about becoming handier around the house?

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6 Responses to Overcoming a Handyman Handicap One Faucet at a Time

  1. The DadMan November 10, 2016 at 11:31 PM #

    Hey Matt, Invest in basic tools over the years as well. And with each purchase be sure the kids are included and helping you select the tool that next could fill the toolbox! In fact, have the kids buy a tool for you each Christmas as a stocking stuffer as that way they have an interest in it use too…

    • Matt Bell November 15, 2016 at 9:42 PM #

      Great ideas, Mark!

  2. Mitchell Maloney November 2, 2016 at 4:02 PM #

    Even though I’m pretty old now at almost 63, I still panic when things go wrong around the house. I will try to do what I can but the fear of failure sometimes leads me to call an “expert”. So, I congratulate you on solving your faucet problem. Getting a whole house water softener and iron filter (we are on a well for our water) has eliminated the same problem you had with our plumbing. Costly fix but infinitely better tasting water.

    • Matt Bell November 3, 2016 at 10:19 PM #

      I hear you on the fear factor, Mitchell. I’m still taking very small steps forward in my quest to handle more of the stuff that needs fixing around our house. But I’ve found that little successes breed confidence to take on more. At very least, I hope to instill more competence and confidence in our kids in these areas.

  3. Paul D November 1, 2016 at 8:05 PM #

    YouTube has helped me accomplish many tasks on my car that I thought were beyond me.

    • Matt Bell November 2, 2016 at 6:13 AM #

      So true, Paul. With YouTube and other resources, It’s never been easier to find free, clear guidance on fixing things on our cars or in our homes. I’m not sure I’m ready to tackle electrical problems in our home or replace the brakes on my car, but I’ve found that learning to fix things I never knew I could fix gives the confidence to take on bigger and bigger projects.

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