All Posts In [Homeowner Help]

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The second installment in our Homeowner Help series comes from the moment when you’re running crazy late to an event, go to lock the side door, and (ARGH!) the key snaps off in the lock that’s been jamming lately. Now what? Well first, know that you’re definitely going to be more than a few minutes behind schedule. Now you have an excuse, right? Secondly, don’t panic, because after reading our step-by-step, you’ll know just how to tackle this problem.

How to Remove a Broken Key From a Lock

What to know: If you can see a bit of the key, follow these steps. If not, bite the bullet and call a locksmith.

unclog toilet

1. Spray a lightweight oil like WD-40 or Liquid Wrench into the keyhole.

2. Using tweezers or needle-nose pliers, grab the top of the key (not the teeth) and try to pull it out.

3. If you can’t get a good grip with pliers, cut a wire hanger and bend one end into a small hook. Insert it into the lock under the key’s teeth. Wiggle it around to help you coax out the key.

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Originally appeared in the May 2013 issue of HGTV Magazine.
Illustration by Brown Bird Design

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No matter if you’re a first-time homeowner who is basically clueless or a seasoned mortage-holder who is, well, still clueless, there are things you can learn to do around the house without calling a repairman (or your parents).

Here begins your journey to becoming the Mr. or Mrs. Fix-It of your home. Check back routinely for more from our Homeowner Help series, and you’ll walk away with a set of skills everyone should have.

How to Switch Out a Showerhead

What to know: Bring your old showerhead to the hardware store to make sure your replacement will fit the arm that’s already in the shower.

showerhead illustration

1. Clamp an adjustable wrench around the nut at the base of your showerhead. Turn counterclockwise until you’ve loosened it, then unscrew it with your hands to remove it. With a damp rag, wipe away any residue around the pipe.

2. Wrap plumber’s tape—a thin, flexible white kind used on pipes—around the threads of the shower arm a couple of times. It’ll help create a tight seal and prevent leaks.

3. Put your new showerhead on the end of the shower arm, and tighten by turning its accompanying nut clockwise with your fingers. Then turn on the shower to check for leaks. If you see any, tighten the nut again until the dripping stops.

Originally appeared in the May 2013 issue of HGTV Magazine.
Illustration by Brown Bird Design

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