Monday, May 08, 2000

Toolbox for 2000: A Guide to 21st Century Home Repair
(ARA) - Home technology is going space age so fast it's scary. TV's hang from the wall and can be paused while you surf the web from the couch. Ovens can cook with light and refrigerators come with computers that will order your groceries. Pretty soon we won't have to lift a finger.

But no matter how hi-tech life becomes, we're still going to be faced with the age-old problems around the home. Even in the next millennium, pipes will leak, gutters will need fixing and there will always be yard work. But by being prepared with a handful of timeless tools and some centuries old know-how, you can save yourself one 21st century headache and maybe even enjoy a little DIY.

Know Your Limits - Get Help

Most homeowners make the mistake of thinking if they can handle a few fix ups around the home they can pretty much figure everything else out too. But if it's high-tech, chances are it's high-maintenance.

Before you go poking around in the wiring of many of the gadgets we're being persuaded to install in our homes, think again. Some jobs need a specialist. Get one to tackle the techie problems and save money when you handle the more routine repairs yourself.

Once you decide which repairs to do yourself, get some expert advice to save you time on the job. Here's where you can make technology work for you - by checking out some of the dozens of Web sites that show you the professional's shortcuts to just about any repair job you could name, the job will be done in half the time. Among the recommended sites are

Tools to Save Cash and Effort

The right tool is important, but you don't need to spend a fortune on the latest flashy model. Get your hands on one or two trusty traditionals and you'll be set. A pair of VISE-GRIP locking pliers should be top of your list. They've been around for years and one pair will last a lifetime. Pick up a seven inch and a large jaw twelve-inch and you'll have every stubborn bolt and plumbing fixture in the home covered. Other essentials should include the obvious tape measure, a handful of screwdrivers - Phillips and straight head - a good craft knife - and when all else fails, strong multi-purpose glue.

It is worth spending a couple of extra bucks, however, to take advantage of tools that will take the pain out of home repair. Tool design has come a long way in the last ten years with better materials and clever signs. Lightweight handsaws like the new JACK XPERT hand saw line combine a handle designed to minimize wrist strain with super light materials that take the pain out of repeated use. And even drill bits now are designed to save time and effort. Try out the UNIPLUS multi-material drill bit - it can tackle a whole bunch of materials including wood, metal, tile and marble without the need to keep changing bits. A little careful selection will go a long way.

Keep It in Perspective - Do It Yourself

The best way to take advantage of the future and all of its technological advances is to keep it in perspective. Sure, get the toys and gadgets that make life fun, but remember when you're tempted by that automated lawn mower or some other hi-tech home help, there's a also lot to be said for do-it-yourself.

Courtesy of Article Resource Association,, e-mail:

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