This week’s post will be short, because a number of home repair projects came up this week. For example, one day after work I replaced a broken sprinkler head. Then the next day I noticed a different sprinkler zone wasn’t working all together. I refuse to pay someone to fix our sprinklers, due in equal parts to stubbornness and frugality. So I naturally DIY’d the fixes, and then called an irrigation company for a quote on doing the same repairs.
Replacing a broken sprinkler head
Replacing a sprinkler head is any easy DIY job, and one that I have done it at least once a summer for the past few years. Here is a guide that I more or less follow, although I haven’t seen the value in using a shop vac to suck the mud out of the line; the flush out tool works well enough.
The sprinkler head and riser cost $10 and the flush out tool cost $5 (this time a 3/4″ sprinkler busted, all of the previous broken sprinklers were 1/2″). As far as home repairs go, that is very inexpensive.
Troubleshooting a zone that won’t activate
This was my first time messing with the sprinkler valves, so I used this video to rule out any electrical issues. After turning off the water and unscrewing the solenoid, I could see there was some debris that needed to be cleared out. This fix was simple and free. And if/when the solenoid needs to be replaced in the future, it costs less than $10. Until then, the old one will work just fine.
Quote from an irrigation company
I called the closest irrigation company with good reviews and asked for a quote. They said it would cost $50 for the technician to come inspect the sprinkler and solenoid, and any repairs would be on top of that. Clearly I don’t want to pay $50 to see exactly how much the repairs would cost, but I would assume at least another $50, plus parts. I am confident that DIYing this fix saved at least $100. Not bad, but also obviously not life changing.
The real value in learning to DIY home repairs is threefold
- The same problems inevitably keep popping up. I have had to replace a handful of sprinklers at this point, each time saving money.
- The skills you learn solving one problem easily translate to solving other problems. Doing the majority of our light plumbing and electrical work over the past few years made this project quite fast and easy. I have probably saved well over a thousand dollars in repair costs over the last few years by learning to tackle a wide variety of projects myself.
- It makes you more independent and flexible. Our biggest challenge hiring someone to fix things around the house is that we have to be present during the repairs, which usually occur during normal business hours. This is a problem since my wife and I both work. By DIYing, we can perform the repairs at our convenience.
I highly recommend at least trying to DIY all small household projects
The worst case is if you try a project and can’t figure it out–or absolutely hate it–you can still pay someone to do it for you. Added bonus: you’ll actually appreciate what you’re paying them for. For example, I am happy to pay someone to re-grout our walk-in shower.