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Don’t Throw it Out, Green it Up!

The paper towel mentality has gone too far. The zipper in your jacket got stuck and into the trash it goes. Your desk fan is slowing down and it finds a new home on the curb. If something wears out or breaks, you throw it out and buy new. After all, the new one only costs $10 or $20 and repairs cost more. As much as you can’t stand to admit, every time you throw something out, you are throwing away your hard-earned money. Ask yourself if a simple DIY repair is a better choice. You save money, reduce waste and learn something new.

Small Repairs

If your oscillating fan stops oscillating, unplug it, take it apart and give it a good cleaning, as WD40.com recommends. Spray some WD-40 on the motor shaft and spin it with your fingers. Spray lubricant on any visible gears and you have given your fan a new lease on life. Lubricant will help almost all shafts or gears last longer.

WD-40 can cure the sticky zipper on your jacket, restore waterproofing on winter boots and improve the operation of switches. Spray a small amount of lubricant into the radio controls of your car stereo to clean the contact points.

You can repair a leaking faucet with an o-ring. You can purchase almost any size o-ring through Apple O-Ring. Cartridge replacements are also easy. Replacing the faucet itself, even with an inexpensive model, will cost a good $50. A leaking blender is often curable with a new o-ring as well, according to GoBlendIt.com.

If your beautiful table lamp no longer works, you can replace the bulb and switch the housing or the cord by hand. You only need a screwdriver and wire strippers. 1000bulb.com reccomends unplugging the lamp and following the instructions included around the cord tag, or via online repair steps. Kits for lamp repairs are available at most building supply or hobby stores. The $10 to $15 you spend is much less than the cost of a new lamp.

Large Repairs

While you would not just throw out your dryer or dishwasher, calling a repair service does cost money. For the sake of your safety, many repairs do require professional service. However, there are small repairs that you can perform and save the cost of a service call.

A broken dryer belt is a DIY repair. You will need your manual or an online diagram. You can download repair manuals for many appliances. An hour or so of your time and $10 to $20 for a belt (as HowMuchIsIt.org estimates) is a worthwhile investment over the cost of service.

If your dishwasher is leaking, there are three things you should check before spending money on a professional. As PartSelect.com suggests, locate the water supply hose, and check to see if it is loose or broken. You can tighten or replace this yourself. When was the last time you cleaned the drain filter? If food particles are blocking the drain, the water can end up on your floor. Check the gasket around the dishwasher door. This is also good project to take on DIY-style.

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