Good reads: Learn to fix it yourself

Allecia Vermillion

A good home-repair book can pay for itself 10 times over the very first time you fix a running toilet yourself instead of calling a plumber. 

Check out these popular books for tips on fixing, maintaining and understanding just about any part of your home.

“Dare to Repair: A Do-it-Herself Guide to Fixing (Almost) Anything in the Home”

By Julie Sussman & Stephanie Glakas-Tenet

Collins Living, $14.95

This female-friendly book gives advice that’s humorous but not patronizing. Projects include simple repairs such as unclogging drains and more extreme projects like installing drywall. The authors, both wives of CIA men, say having frequently absent husbands helped them hone their repair skills.

“How Your House Works: A Visual Guide to Understanding & Maintaining Your Home”

By Charlie Wing

R.S. Means Company, $21.95

Full-color diagrams, troubleshooting tips and straightforward language make this 2007 book a popular gift for first-time homeowners. Oversized illustrations show you how appliances and fixtures in your home operate, and the book identifies common problems to save you from calling a professional.

“Home Comforts: The Art and Science of Keeping House”

By Cheryl Mendelson

Scribner, $19.95

Rather than leaky faucets and faulty garbage disposals, this book tackles the finer points of domestic maintenance. Learn how to clean wood floors properly and treat stains in modern synthetic fabrics. Following all the advice in this book is nearly impossible, but all homeowners will find helpful tips.

“The Complete Illustrated Guide to Everything Sold in Hardware Stores and Garden Centers”

By Steve Ettlinger

Running Press, $19.95

Understanding repair instructions is difficult enough without wondering about spud wrenches, joint compound and other daunting terminology. This book is a handy reference guide and includes tips for buying and using the myriad home-repair tools and equipment available in hardware stores.

“When Duct Tape Just Isn’t Enough: Quick Fixes for Everyday Disasters”

By C.J. Petersen

Hearst, $12.95

Popular Mechanics, the granddaddy of technical writing, breaks down common home repairs for the non-mechanically inclined. This spiral-bound guide includes a range of repairs, from minor irks to the truly disastrous. Topics include plumbing, appliance and electrical woes, along with more specific issues like computer difficulties or how to keep deer away from the garden.