There are some things in life that are truly horrifying, like waking up the morning after Halloween to find that your home has been egged and TPed. That is a true nightmare that you’ll never get over (or wash off). The same applies to many home repairs, especially those that tug on your fear of heights – or of sudden death via electrocution. But while they may horrify you, those scary home repairs can be made a little less so by taking a few precautions and following the tips below.
#1 Changing a Lightbulb on a Dizzyingly High Ceiling
If you are afraid of heights, that heading alone might give you a fright. This a chore that those of us who enjoy life at ground level always struggle with. But there is a simple solution to changing a high-elevation lightbulb, a tool known simply as a lightbulb changer.
This tool is exactly what it sounds like. With one of these all you have to do is extend the pole, cup the bulb with the attachment and then twist counter-clockwise until the bulb unscrews from the socket. To install the new bulb, just reverse the steps. No stepladder, or sweaty palms, required.
#2 Clearing That Unholy Mess of a Clog
While not exactly frightening, a clogged toilet will definitely trigger Fear’s sister, Disgust. And when you’re battling a particularly troublesome (and gruesome) clog, you want to get the job done quickly to keep your gag reflex at bay. For that, you want to use a nifty tool called a closet auger.
To use an auger, place the bent tip in the bowl, aiming upward so the auger will snake its way up the curved trap once you start cranking. Continue cranking until the auger is fully extended, then begin pulling up and retracting the cable simultaneously. Once the cable is retrieved, give the toilet a flush to clear the clog and watch the horrors recede like the face-melting spirits from the end of “Raiders of the Lost Ark”.
#3 Fixing That Fizzy Light Switch
There is nothing scarier than flipping a light switch and hearing the static-like buzz of a failing switch. Like the high-pitched plucking of a violin, its the sound that heralds impending doom. Only in this case the impending doom isn’t a masked murderer wielding a machete – it’s an electrical fire.
The first thing you need to do is turn off the switch. Second, you need to replace the switch as soon as possible. Don’t worry, this is one of the easiest electrical projects to do, and it only takes a half hour or so. As long as you remember to switch the power off, you’ll be able to make this repair safely by following this guide from About.com.
#4 Making Repairs on a Rickety Roof
Clambering up onto your roof can be dangerous – and outright horrifying. But that’s why the “personal fall arrest system” exists:
With this system, you can work on your roof without being in constant fear of an untimely visit from the Grim Reaper. The harness connects to anchor points installed on the roof, allowing you to clip in and roam about your roof with greater peace of mind.
#5 Turning the Lights Back On
The lights dim, a faint buzz is heard, then suddenly the lights go out. It may be a horror movie cliché, but it is a real-life scenario that homeowners have faced on many a stormy night. But there’s no reason to fear when the lights go out, you probably just need to reset the circuit breaker.
To do so, locate the circuit breaker panel. This can usually be found in a utility closet, the basement or the garage. Once found, open the panel and look for the breaker in the middle position, or marked by a red stripe, depending on the type of breaker.
After identifying the right breaker, flip the switch to the “ON” position to reset the circuit. You should have power back once this done. If not, you may need to A) disconnect a few appliances from the circuit, B) call up an electrician, or C) check your neighborhood for gremlins.
Follow this advice and you’ll be able to conquer your fears and survive Halloween just fine. For more home repair tips, check out our exceedingly comprehensive guide to DIY home improvement.