For all you women out there (and perhaps a few men) who feel you can’t perform DIY home repair outside of changing a lightbulb, I want to encourage you: You CAN DO it.
I took a plumbing course at Parkland College in 2006 and have saved hundreds of dollars in potential (read: unnecessary) plumbing repairs ever since. It wasn’t easy being the only female (or 40+ year old) in that two-hour evening class. I surely earned the “Most Worn Out” award from cutting, reaming, and soldering pipe after a full day’s work! But I hung in there, learned a lot, and smiled all the way to my A grade. In the end, it was worth it, because that one class has made all the difference in my confidence about home repair.
Since taking the class, I have not only changed supply lines and valves on my home toilets myself, but I’ve also been able to confidently say “no thanks” to plumbers who’ve suggested that I replace entire faucet units when all that was needed to fix the leak was a new washer or packing. Yes, I said plumbers; this has happened more than once over the decade. Such triumphs encouraged me to buy a really good home repair book. I have since fixed non-plumbing-related areas of my home, too, including replacing the springs and cables on my garage door, buying and installing new insulation, and laying flooring.
Now, that’s pretty good savings from a one-semester, affordable class with a schedule that was flexible enough for a young working mother of two.
Look, ladies, if I could do this—someone who doesn’t do physical labor, nature, or bugs all that well—you certainly can. Sign up for Plumbing (CIT 114) or other Building Construction and Repair certificate courses at Parkland, and you won’t be disappointed. If you can’t take a Parkland class, then at least buy yourself (and read) a good home repair guide. You’ll be surprised at just how handy you really are.
Hmm…now that my kids are officially grown-ups, I think it’s time to get more Parkland construction classes under my belt. Perhaps I’ll take Construction Materials (CIT 111) or Rough Carpentry (CIT 115) next.
I bet my husband’s nervous just reading this. He should be. 😉
[Ruthie Counter is a full-time staff writer and part-time communication instructor at Parkland College.]