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The importance of do it yourself during an emergency

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The Covid-19 pandemic has caused widespread shutdowns. Homeowners and renters may find themselves with sudden maintenance issues. Can you handle it? 

The Covid-19 pandemic resulted in a ‘come as you are’ situation. You went into it with the health, skills, knowledge, finances and tools that you had. There wasn’t much time to prepare. 

Some people, for whatever reason, ‘prepared’ by buying toilet paper. I don’t know if I will ever understand that. 

Many people simply don’t have do it yourself skills. This isn’t something you can gain overnight. 

Examples

For example, suppose something as simple as a toilet flapper malfunctions. For many people, they would simply call a plumber. This is an example of a fairly simple repair if you can get a replacement flapper for any do it yourselfer. For other people, it would be a mystery. 

A more complex example would be the failure of a circuit breaker in the main box. You may or may not be able to get an electrician. Replacing a breaker is not a job for a beginner. They consequences of a mistake could be deadly. 

If you are in a chaotic situation and depend on small engines, something like a head gasket failure on a lawn tractor could be problematical. An advanced do it yourselfer should be able to replace the head gasket

Tools

A do it yourselfer will have a full range of tools and the knowledge of how to use them. This isn’t something you can purchase overnight. Rather a toolset is acquired over a lifetime.

Tools for the do it yourselfer
Tools for the do it yourselfer

A beginner set of tools

This would include basics such as screwdrivers, hammers, a small drill, wrenches, pliers and similar items for basic repairs. You also need to include consumables such as screws, tape, bolts, washers etc.

Many stores will sell tool kits. You don’t need the best quality such as something from Snap on. On the other hand, don’t get a really cheap set that will break when you need it most.

Advanced toolsets.

An advanced handyman / do it yourselfer will have an extensive set of tools meant to handle most situations. 

A beginner might have a set of wrenches. An advanced handyman will have a decently sized air compressor with impact wrenches as well as a torque wrenches and a breaker bar. 

A beginner should have at least a 3/8 inch cordless drill. An advanced handyman will have 3/8 inch drill but they will also have a 1/2″ drill/hammer drill.  In addition, they will probably have at least a small drill press and a couple of good sets of drills as well as the ability to sharpen drills. 

Practice

It takes time to be a ‘jack of all trades’. One thing that helps today is the availability of websites and Youtube videos. Be aware that there are videos and sites with poor or even dangerous ‘information‘. For example, I saw a video of someone showing how to ‘scrap televisions’.  He was using a hammer to break the glass. The problem is that there are toxic materials.. Seriously toxic materials in the television. In addition, the anode can hold tens of thousands of volts for a long period of time. 

Self assess

Having a good handyman skills could be a valuable asset during a societal upheaval. If you feel you would have the ability, then start small and build up from there. If you feel you aren’t cut out for doing things yourself, then find alternative ways to invest your time.

If you live in an apartment you might think “If anything goes wrong, my landlord will fix it”. What happens when there is a ‘shelter in place’ or ‘no travel order’. Your landlord may not be able to help you.

Too many young people today have not had the good fortune to work around the house with their parents. However, you can learn a lot from web sites and Youtube. Those aren’t just for cat pictures.

Your tools and supplies will build over time as you gain experience and become more comfortable. 

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COVID-19 Pandemic Information

See our Prepping and Survival Category for tips, tricks and hacks to help with the current Covid-19 outbreak.