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Posted: 6:00 a.m. Tuesday, Aug. 27, 2013

How a YouTube video saved me $132

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Joel Larsgaard / ClarkHoward.com
The insides of my water heater with the YouTube video in the background!

By Joel Larsgaard

ClarkHoward.com


My hot water heater went kaput this past weekend – or so I thought. The pilot light went out and wouldn’t come back on. Being the novice home repair man that I am I figured I might be in need of a whole new tank. There might have been a noticeable sweat line on my forehead just thinking about the costs that come along with that. Before jumping off the deep end I decided to turn to the trusty ol’ internets first to gather a little insight.

A quick Google search revealed that the main culprit is often a little $8 part called the thermocouple, sounds like it’s from the Jetsons, right? I called a plumber to see what they thought. They agreed with Google’s logic and told me they could replace it today for just $140. Once again, I got to thinking.

I hit up YouTube and did a search for replacing the thermocouple on your hot water heater. I found a few great videos. Then I went into the basement and found out that my particular hot water heater has a sealed compartment. So I performed another query and stumbled upon this video. It details exactly how to replace this thermo-gadget in my specific scenario. A half hour later, with just a few more twists and turns than the handyman in the vid, I had my new part installed.

And it worked! The YouTube video saved me big money. I can now shower again in peace. And with $132 still in my pocket. The age of the internet truly is grand. Next time your water heater or something else in your house has a little problem, consider consulting YouTube before you call someone out for a repair visit and incur an expensive repair bill.

The same thing has worked from time to time on my car. There are a lot of message boards that could give you some wisdom before you venture into your local mechanic’s shop. Even if it turns out to be something you can’t fix yourself, at least you’ll have some insider advantage of what could be happening. This knowledge could be the key to avoiding being charged for things you don’t need.

Here are a few other things that I’ve done myself in order to save some BIG money:

DIY pest control – saves me big $ every year

Attic Insulation- for under $200

Toilets – for FREE!

Have YouTube videos ever helped you out of a home repair jam? Do you think you would be willing to tackle a project like this yourself based on a little bit of internet research?

Check out more money saving tips from Joel on his blog SaveOutsidetheBox.com or follow him on Twitter.

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