Armed with a screwdriver and a smartphone, are you happy to tackle home repairs?
It's tempting to put minor home repairs on the backburner, especially if you're more comfortable with a PC than a power drill. I tend to dump repair jobs in the too hard basket for a long time, until I'm in a Getting Things Done mood and then I knock them all over at once. That's when Google can come to the rescue.
These days it seems there's an online How To guide or video tutorial for pretty much any repair job you'd care to tackle. It's not just amateur YouTube stars getting in on the action, traditional businesses are also embracing the high-tech handyman trend. I was prepared to pay someone to replace the gas struts holding up the boot of my car, but while Googling part numbers I came across a great video tutorial from Super Cheap Auto which showed how easy it is to change them yourself.
Inspired by my success and the money I'd saved, I went on to tackle a stiff sliding door, a misaligned draft stopper, a faulty dishwasher latch and a broken cupboard hinge. Next I've got my eye on a few misbehaving door handles.
Each job had been in the too hard basket for longer than I care to admit. A Google search turned up video tutorials for some jobs, while for others Google offered an easy way to track down the spare parts I needed. It's much easier to walk into a hardware store to ask for parts and advice once you have a better understanding of the problem.
Ten years ago I would have conceded defeat on some of these jobs and called in a repairer, but with a smartphone in my pocket it's simple to Google the problem and see whether it's something I can fix myself.
The trick to being a successful Google Handyman is to know your limitations and appreciate which jobs you should leave to the specialists. I've been burned in the past, having to call in a plumber to sort out the mess when a DIY dishwasher installation went wrong. In my defence, the problem was that the kitchen plumbing wasn't standard-gauge and even the plumber found it more challenging than it first appeared.
These days I tend to be a bit more conservative with my repair jobs, knowing that the money I save on small DIY repairs can go towards paying professionals for repair jobs which I'm not qualified to tackle myself. I'll take on a dripping tap but I'm not foolish enough to mess with electricity or gas.
Do you like to roll up your sleeves and dive into home repairs? Has a Google search ever got you out of trouble, or perhaps in over your head?
Read more posts from Adam Turner's Gadgets on the Go blog.