How the Internet Turned Me into a Home Repair God
There were O-rings to the left of me, dish trays and mounting brackets to the right. I was sitting in the middle of my kitchen floor, surrounded by spray arms, sump gaskets, and valve flaps. It looked like my dishwasher had spontaneously exploded.
It was at this moment my lovely wife entered the kitchen.
“Oh my god,” she said. “What have you done now?”
“Not to worry,” I mansplained. “I have the Internet on my side.”
The problem I was solving: Dishes had been coming out dirtier than when they went in. I was looking at a $100 repair bill, minimum. So I decided to take matters into my own hands.
Now, I am not the most mechanically inclined guy you’ll ever meet, as my wife will attest. But I wasn’t worried, because I had a 10-minute YouTube video from The Handyguys podcast playing on my laptop, showing me how to take Humpty Dishwasher apart and put it back together again. And about 30 minutes later, the job was done.
Granted, I was only cleaning the thing out, not rebuilding the motor. But over the past few years I’ve managed to successfully install electric lights, hang doors, cut a hole in the wall to remove a dead rodent (even more disgusting than it sounds) and then patch it back up, install a sink, mount a projector to my ceiling, and more — all with the help of free Internet how-to videos. I have yet to electrocute myself, burn down the house, or drown.
See also Tynan’s Top Ten Rules of Home Repair
Better yet: These Internet how-tos have saved me hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars in repairs, as well as helping me avoid the viewing of untold numbers of plumber butts.
Getting your fix
When it comes to home-repair tutorials, YouTube really is king. It seems like every Joe or Josephine with a power tool has posted some kind of how-to video. The problem is sorting through them all. A search for “fix leaky faucet” turns up nearly 50,000 videos.
I often will run through a dozen or more videos before I find one that addresses the problem I want to solve (and that isn’t so poorly lit that I can’t see anything). But there are scads of other options.
One of my favorites is Jeff Patterson’s Home Repair Tutor. The relentlessly cheerful Patterson offers videos on a wide range of home repair topics, including basic questions like how to keep your bathroom sink from stinking, which you’d be too embarrassed to ask the cranky old dudes at the hardware store. Each tutorial also includes lengthy (and equally cheerful) text explanations and copious illustrations. The only problem? There’s no easy way to search the site for the fix you need.