Contractors say these common annoying problems around your house are actually easy to fix — here's how

Before you pick up the phone to call another plumber, keep reading.

Contractors say these common annoying problems around your house are actually easy to fix — here's h...
ByAlexandra Elizabeth
Originally Published: 
We may receive a portion of sales if you purchase a product through a link in this article.

Keeping up with home maintenance can feel daunting, especially if you’re concerned that fixing your issues could be difficult or expensive. But, as it turns out, contractors say that there are tons of annoying problems around the house that are actually super easy to solve. And luckily for you, a number of contractors have weighed in below to tell you exactly how to handle those home repairs and easy swaps that will help your space look its best on the cheap. Consider this your free consult.


Problem: You’re trying to prevent gutters from clogging in the first place

Solution: These guards that keep them covered

Capozzolo recommends these gutter guards for anyone trying to prevent clogs before they happen. They’re made for standard five-inch gutters and come in varying lengths. Water can still flow freely through the brush-like wires, but they prevent leaves and other debris from clogging. Simply slide them through from one end to the other to install.


Problem: You’re ignoring tiny cracks just because they’re small

Solution: This spray that seals up mini cracks

There are times when tiny cracks need even less help for a quick fix, and grout sealer does the trick nicely, Musa explains. This particular version is quick drying and water repellant. Musa explains you can use an eye-dropper to grab the product straight from the bottle for small cracks and adds it works well “even on tricky inclined surfaces like windowsills or shower walls.”


Problem: Your cracked tile is an eyesore

Solution: A DIY kit that fills in those chips

Grab yourself this tile repair kit that comes with several different paint shades for color matching, and you can fill up cracks with ease on a budget. According to Mario Musa, founder of Tile Sealing, first, you’ll want to wash the surface and clear out any debris. “Epoxy fillers come in two different parts, a resin and hardener, that both have to be mixed before being applied directly into the crack with a putty knife. Once it dries it's ready for use again!” he explains.


Problem: You’re always losing crumbs through gaps in your appliances

Solution: These stove gap covers that make cleaning stress free

Neil Dempsey, home renovator and CEO of Four19properties, knows that cleaning your stove is a frustrating chore, especially if lots of debris has fallen through any gaps on the side. However, a stove gap cover can make things much more bearable. “These covers will bridge the gaps between the stove and the counter, preventing anything from falling on the floor and making cleaning tasks less frantic,” he said. “They are also heat resistant, so it is safe to use them next to burners.” Simply cut them to size with scissors if necessary.

  • Available colors: 3


Problem: You can’t seem to unclog your hard-to-reach gutters

Solution: This pressure-washing wand that gets it done with ease

If you struggle to keep your gutters clean, try this gutter-cleaning wand. “A gutter cleaning kit should do the trick for most blockages,” Capozzolo says. “It also helps to prevent future clogs, as it can get into hard-to-reach places.” This one attaches to your hose to give your gutters a pressure cleaning and extends up to 70 inches long. The nozzle rotates for extra control and flexibility, too.


Problem: Your shower drain is slow and clogged

Solution: This mushroom-shaped plug that catches hair

Scott Rubzin, home designer and remodeler and founder of Tiffany Property Investments LLC, explains that clogged drains are annoying, and having to clean them all the time is even worse. To solve it, he suggests this drain protector. “The best quality of this product is that it catches every hair that falls,” Rubzin says. “It will help people clean their washrooms and prevent hair or other material from entering the drain.” Just place the protector in your drain: water flows freely through the perforations in the center, while hair wraps around the core. Instead of cleaning your drain all the time, you only need to remove debris once it fills up.

  • Available colors: 6


Problem: Electronic wires are making your house look cluttered

Solution: This cord-hiding system with tons of options

If organization and tidiness are an issue for you, Green has you covered. “Visible cables are another common annoyance in a home, particularly behind your TV or computer. Simple cable covers are very cheap and really clean up the look of your living room or office,” he says. This cord concealer kit comes with everything you need to hide them, including long strips and several fitting joints in both elbow and T-fitting configurations so you can customize coverage for your exact needs.

  • Available colors: 5


Problem: Your drafty doors and windows are giving you the chills

Solution: These convenient rubber stoppers that keep cold air out

Capozzolo points to drafty windows as both a nuisance and a drain on your wallet during winter months, and these draft stoppers, which you can use on doors or windows, are an easy solution. “They are designed to block air from entering or leaving the room, helping to reduce energy bills in the process,” he says. Just cut them to the proper size and stick them into place.


Problem: You’ve got some pest issues you’re looking to solve

Solution: These door stoppers that keep bugs out

Licensed Pet Control Professional Zachary Smith at Pest Dude, advises, “If you're sharing your space with creepy crawlies, keep them out by installing door sweeps. These effective barriers keep pests out by blocking their crawl or flight path, creating a comfortable, pest-free living environment.” These particular stoppers install with a hook and loop fastener and are made from a dense foam that’s also helpful with soundproofing.


Problem: Light is getting into areas it shouldn’t

Solution: This insulation tape that seals up gaps

Adding weather stripping, like this foam insulation tape, can block gaps in doors and windows, says Glenn Wiseman, residential air system design technician and sales manager at Top Hat Home Comfort Services. “Both light and air can escape through pesky cracks around your doors or windows,” Wiseman says. “Add weather stripping along the perimeter to help prevent the sun from shining where it shouldn't or, more importantly, prevent your HVAC system from running overtime to compensate.” This tape is dust-proof, flame retardant, and can stand up to both hot and cold weather.


Problem: There are unsightly scratches on your hardwood floor

Solution: These markers that make staining so easy

Chris Alexakis, interior designer and founder of CabinetSelect, explains that damaged hardwood floors can detract from the look of your house, but fixing them isn’t a lost cause. “To fix this problem, you'll need to sand down the floors and re-stain them,” he says. As a quick fix before you call in flooring experts, these furniture repair markers come in six different natural wood shades to match your floors. Just swipe them on the scratch to conceal it.


Problem: Shelling out big bucks to fix a slow drain

Solution: Yanking the clog out yourself with a drain snake

Kevin Fountain, a professional plumber at Fountain Plumbing, admits that sometimes you really will need an expert to come and fix a slow sink. But oftentimes, what you could you use instead for a cheap and effective fix is a clog remover to snake your drain yourself. “It's really nasty to see what's all in your drain — toothpaste, hair, even a BandAid — but five minutes is all you need to save yourself a $100 service call,” he says. This set comes in a pack of three and measures 24 inches long.


Problem: Your toilet won’t stop running

Solution: A replacement flapper you can easily install

Creevy explains that a running toilet is often caused by a worn-out flapper valve, which should instantly stop the running water when replaced with a new flapper valve. This universal model fits most toilets, including Kohler, TOTO, and more. Reviewers note how easy it is to install.


Problem: You’ve got a shower head you just can’t fix

Solution: Replace it with a brand new head with lots of functions

Max Frederick, lead home and construction expert at Letti & Co, is another expert who extols the virtues of changing out a washer to fix a leak. “If this doesn’t fix the problem, then you may need to replace the valve or shower head depending on the severity of the issue,” he cautions. And if you’re in the market for a replacement, this high-pressure shower head will do the trick. It has a whopping eight different settings, including soft mist, massage, pointed jet, and fan functions, plus antimicrobial nozzles.


Problem: You’re overpaying on energy bills thanks to drafty windows

Solution: This caulk that seals things up

According to Jeremy Yamaguchi, the CEO of Lawn Love, there’s a simple solution to heaters and air conditioners that are working overtime, and it’s a caulk sealant. “If you want to fix window drafts in your home but don't have the money for expensive insulation, then caulking is a great and affordable way to go,” he says. Plus, it’s dependable. “It’s durable enough to withstand changes in temperature and weather extremes should they happen after the caulk is applied,” he adds.


Problem: You suspect your drain has a clog

Solution: This dissolver that takes care of it in minutes

A clogged drain can be so annoying, but luckily fixing it can be a cinch. This drain dissolver helps break up clogs in as few as 15 minutes. All you have to do is pour it down the drain. It won’t corrode pipes, either, since it doesn’t contain bleach. Creevy notes that boiling water can also be used to flush out your pipes after using a dissolver.


Problem: Your furniture is covered in pet hair

Solution: This roller that traps fur with ease

"If you own pets, there’s nothing more annoying than cat or dog hair that gets fused into your, well, everything,” Aaron Green, owner of Essential Home & Garden, says. “There are rollers with adhesive strips that are very effective at removing hair, but another super easy fix is to use duct tape. Just rip off a piece, wrap it around your hand with the sticky side facing out, and roll your hand on the hair-covered furniture, blankets, or clothes,” he advises. If you’re looking to ditch adhesive altogether, though, try this reusable pet hair remover. It uses static to trap hair, which can be ejected from the internal cavity with a push of a button.


Problem: Your outdated alarms could be risking your safety

Solution: This detector that measures both smoke and CO2

Bill Samuel, a residential real estate developer at Blue Ladder Development and an Illinois licensed general contractor, highly recommends a wireless interconnected smoke and CO2 detector. “If you live in a home built more than 25 years ago you most likely don't have an interconnected smoke/CO2 set up,” Samuel says. “These are actually so easy to install that many homeowners can do it themselves and save a considerable amount of money by not having to pay an electrician for labor.” This one comes with a helpful, clear LCD display.


Problem: Your door keeps squeaking when you open it

Solution: This spray that quiets hinges quickly

Keeping your home in tip-top shape can be easy, especially where squeaky doors are concerned. Ollie Creevy, managing director of Solar Panel Grants, notes that it doesn’t take much to fix a whining hinge. “Apply a small amount of oil, such as WD-40, to the hinge to reduce friction and eliminate the squeak,” he says. This two-pack of WD-40 comes in a convenient spray formula, making it super easy to use.


Problem: That dripping faucet is so annoying

Solution: This washer kit that lets you DIY a fix

If you have a leaky faucet, chances are replacing an O-ring or washer can fix it, Creevy says. “This is a simple DIY task that can be done with a wrench and pliers,” he adds. This washer kit comes with hundreds of pieces, including O-rings that range in size from 3 millimeters to 27 millimeters, making them ideal for showers, faucets, water heaters, and more.


Problem: Your doorknob is way too loose

Solution: Replacing it with a sleek brand new one

If you’re having trouble with your door’s hardware, Creevy says, “Tighten the screws or replace the doorknob to fix a loose handle.” And this square door knob is a great, modern option that will solve your problem and look chic at the same time. It comes in a few different color options and fits both left- and right-aligned doors.

  • Available colors: 4


Problem: Your wardrobe’s sliding doors keep coming off their tracks

Solution: This thoughtfully designed screwdriver that makes fixes simple

According to Alexakis, just a few simple tools can fix a sliding door coming off its tracks. First and foremost, you’ll need a screwdriver. This high-end steel model comes with an easy-to-grip handle with Phillips, slotted, and torx bits. Here’s what to do next: “First, measure the width of the door and cut a piece of wood to fit,” Alexakis says. “Then, screw the piece of wood onto the top of the door and use it as a guide when putting the door back in its track.”


Problem: Stubborn stains are making your carpets look dingy

Solution: A carpet cleaner that lifts odors as well as stains

Alex Capozzolo, the co-founder of SD House Guys, points to stained carpets as a mess you can take care of yourself with the right products. “Investing in a quality carpet cleaner can be the answer. Most come with instructions on how to use them and many offer spot cleaning capabilities for those tougher messes,” he says. If you’re looking for a cheaper fix, try this stain & odor eliminator that works well even on pet messes. It works on all carpet types and is chlorine free, too.


Problem: You’re tired of a damp basement

Solution: This dehumidifier that dries it out on a budget

“If your basement feels a bit too damp, it could be due to excess moisture in the air,” Capozzolo explains. “A dehumidifier can help reduce humidity levels and prevent mold from growing. It is an inexpensive way to help keep your basement dry and safe.” This affordable model offers low-energy use and a compact 17-ounce capacity that works in spaces up to 225 square feet.


Problem: Your outdated faucet is leaking

Solution: Replacing it with a modern update with useful features

Like Creevy, Shaun Martin, owner and CEO of We Buy Houses, recommends getting a new washer to fix leaky sinks. “You can usually purchase a new washer from your local hardware store and replace it yourself at home,” he explains. But if you’re looking to start from scratch, why not try a brand-new faucet? This sleek upgrade features a 360-degree swiveling faucet head with a 23-inch flexible extending hose to help you reach all the corners of your sink. It has both spray and stream functions, too.

  • Available colors: 7


Problem: Your AC isn’t as cool as it should be

Solution: A set of quality replacement filters

Martin explains that an air conditioner that isn’t cooling may require professional service, but it might also be an issue with the filter. “If it's the filter, try cleaning or replacing it yourself,” he says. And if you’re shopping for a replacement, this six-pack of filters will do the job. They filter out dirt and dust so your AC can run more efficiently. They measure 20 inches by 20 inches and should fit many ACs.


Problem: You aren’t watering your plants enough

Solution: These affordable plant-watering cones that do it for you

Green notes that forgetting to water your plants can leave you with a graveyard of unsightly, withered greenery. “A super easy solution for the forgetful is an automatic waterer. One type is a small, round container with a thin spout that you stick in the soil by your plant and can hold a few days of water,” he says, adding that it’s both affordable and takes the burden off your memory. This version is made from ceramic terracotta. You stick a glass bottle full of water into the hollow point of the cone, then insert the pointed cone into the soil. The density of the clay slowly lets the water leak out into the soil as needed, and you won’t need to change it until the full bottle runs out.


Problem: Clutter is taking over your home

Solution: These divider bins that tidy up junk drawers

Kurt Walker, a home remodeler and residential and commercial contractor for Mill City Home Buyers, says, “Nobody likes a messy house, so an excellent way to say goodbye to clutter is by installing dividing drawers in rooms. Moreover, you can label these drawers with a certain category.” These drawer-dividing bins can help you get organized without any installation necessary. Each bin comes with three compartments so you can sort like items and keep messy drawers clean.

  • Available colors: 9


Problem: Clutter is overwhelming your space

Solution: Extra shelving that stores more and looks good doing it

If you don’t have enough storage in your home, it’s easy for it to look cluttered and smaller than it is, says George Beatty, home builder and founder of Problem Property Pals. “To fix this, try adding hanging shelves,” Beatty says. “This will free up a lot of space as you can place magazines, small plants and decoration pieces that would otherwise occupy room space.” These floating shelves come in a pack of two and feature chic gold bar accents perfect for hanging towels and more.

  • Available colors: 6


Problem: You want more storage, but shelves aren’t your thing

Solution: This freestanding cube organizer

Still need more space? “There is also the option of storage bins which can work well for storing children’s toys and even gadgets,” Beatty says. This storage organizer features six cubes, perfect for fabric bins. It can be aligned vertically, horizontally, or even in an asymmetrical staircase formation. Each cube can support 15 pounds of weight.

  • Available colors: 5


Problem: Your wallpaper is starting to crack

Solution: Covering it up with chic wall art

Ben Wagner, real estate investor and house flipper at Leave The Key, explains that wallpaper can get damaged and cracked, be it due to weather conditions or just wear and tear over time. “Fixing [it] can be very expensive, but if you come up with innovative ways, you can save the cost,” he says. “You can renew them by being creative. Wall art can cover large spaces of walls.” This vintage-style wall decor is an excellent option. Each wrapped canvas panel measures 14-by-14 inches and adds a pop of color to cover up any wallpaper damage.

  • Available colors: 5


Problem: Your old, damaged wallpaper needs a refresh

Solution: This peel-and-stick paper you can change any time you want

Given Wagner’s warnings about costly wall repair, this peel-and-stick paper is another great option since it’s so affordable at just $18 a roll. If it gets damaged over time, you can just replace it with something totally new. Simply clean your desired wall, peel off the backing paper, and stick it on. It comes in several lush floral designs to choose from.

  • Available colors: 6


Problem: Your door keeps sticking

Solution: This beeswax trick you can do at home

Leonard Ang, the CEO of iPropertyManagement, knows a lot about sticky doors, especially if you live somewhere humid. “This is an easy fix that requires no tools and only a few supplies. All you need is some beeswax,” he explains. “Simply knead the wax into a rope, run it along the edge of the door where it sticks, and then open and close the door several times to let it settle in. Over time, this should successfully stop your door from sticking and help save you from headaches....” Snag this beeswax polish for just $11 and say goodbye to sticky doors for good.


Problem: You’re worried about water damage in your home

Solution: These leak detectors that catch problems early

Water damage is unfortunately both a common and expensive issue your home may face, Courtney Klosterman, home insights expert at Hippo, tells Bustle. But don’t lose hope. “A quick walk around every three months will help you catch the earliest signs of plumbing issues. Set up smart devices with leak detectors in areas where water is likely to pool, such as under bathroom or kitchen sinks, and in the basement,” she says. This leak detector has an IP66 waterproof rating and six probes that will trigger an alarm if they get submerged in water.


Problem: You want ventilation that also keeps bugs at bay

Solution: This magnetic screen door cover that’s so convenient

Smith also recommends other methods of keeping bugs out, like this magnetic screen door. Made from a polyester mesh that delivers excellent airflow, the door features a curtain-like construction that seals shut with magnets. It comes with everything you need for installation, including Velcro strips and push pins. Enjoy fresh air without the pests.