Many of us consider home to be our sanctuary, a place that provides comfort, security, and familiarity. But what happens when the fixtures start to falter, or the paint begins to peel? The home repairs merit badge aims to foster an understanding of the fundamentals of home maintenance and repair among our young learners.
This badge doesn’t merely signify a teenager’s ability to wield a hammer or a wrench; it showcases their readiness to take responsibility, their adaptability, and their problem-solving skills in real-world scenarios.
The badge program allows participants to step beyond their usual comfort zones, exploring a realm typically reserved for professionals. However, our aim is not to transform these young enthusiasts into expert handypersons overnight. Instead, we strive to instill a sense of curiosity, encourage a practical approach toward common household problems, and cultivate the confidence to tackle minor repair works independently.
From understanding the basics of home structures to learning about essential tools, plumbing, electricity, and more, the journey toward earning this merit badge is an exciting voyage of discovery and learning. So, tighten your tool belts and get ready to delve into the practical world of home repairs!
Home Repairs Merit Badge Requirements
|1. Do the following:|
a. Explain to your counselor the most likely hazards you may encounter while working on home repairs and what you should do to anticipate, mitigate and prevent, and respond to these hazards. Describe the appropriate safety gear and clothing that should be used when working on home repairs.
b. Discuss general precautions related to home repairs. Name at least 10 safe practices that every home repairer should exercise.
|2. Under the supervision of your merit badge counselor, do FOUR of the following:|
a. Maintain or recondition a yard tool and show that you know how to clean up and properly store this equipment.
b. Weather-strip a window or door.
c. Caulk cracks or joints open to the weather.
d. Waterproof a basement.
e. Repair a break in a concrete or asphalt surface.
f. Repair the screen in a window or door.
g. Replace a pane of glass.
h. Solder a broken wire or metal object
|3. Under the supervision of your merit badge counselor, do THREE of the following:|
a. Install or build equipment for storing tools.
b. Build a workbench.
c. Repair a piece of furniture.
d. Paint or varnish a piece of furniture, a door, or trim on a house.
e. Repair a sagging door or gate.
f. Repair a loose step or railing.
g. Repair a fence.
|4. Under the supervision of your merit badge counselor, do TWO of the following:|
a. Locate a main electrical switch box and know how to replace a fuse or reset a circuit breaker.
b. Replace an electrical cord or repair a plug or lamp socket.
c. Install a single-pole light switch.
d. Replace an electrical wall outlet.
|5. Under the supervision of your merit badge counselor, do TWO of the following:|
a. Clear a clogged drain or trap.
b. Repair a leaky water faucet.
c. Repair a flush toilet.
d. Repair a leaky hose or connector.
e. Clean or replace a sprinkler head.
|6. Under the supervision of your merit badge counselor, do THREE of the following:|
a. Paint a wall or ceiling.
b. Repair or replace damaged tile, linoleum, or vinyl flooring.
c. Install drapery or curtain rods and then hang drapes or curtains.
d. Replace window blind cords.
e. Repair or replace a window sash cord.
f. Reinforce a picture frame.
g. Mend an object made of china, glass, or pottery
The Answer for Requirement Number 1a
While working on home repairs, various hazards may be encountered. Here’s a breakdown of the most likely hazards, along with preventive measures, mitigation strategies, and response actions.
|Hazards||Anticipate & Prevent||Mitigate||Respond|
|Falls||Always ensure ladders and other climbing equipment are stable. Keep work areas clean.||Use safety harnesses for high elevation tasks.||Seek immediate medical attention if injured.|
|Electrical Shocks||Use the correct tools for the job. Store tools safely.||Regularly inspect tools for damage.||Cut off power source, call for medical help.|
|Cuts & Scrapes||Use correct tools for the job. Store tools safely.||Wear gloves and safety clothing.||Cleanse wound, apply antiseptic, and bandage. If serious, seek medical help.|
|Inhalation of Dust/Chemicals||Use low-VOC paint, dust collection systems.||Use low VOC paint, dust collection systems.||Move to fresh air. If breathing problems persist, seek medical help.|
|Eye Injuries||Wear safety glasses when cutting, drilling, or sanding.||Avoid tasks beyond skill level.||Rinse eye with clean water, avoid rubbing, seek medical help.|
|Fires||Keep flammable materials away from heat sources. Be cautious when soldering or welding.||Keep a fire extinguisher handy.||Use fire extinguisher, evacuate if needed, and call fire department.|
As for safety gear and clothing, they may vary depending on the specific task at hand, but typically include:
- Safety glasses/goggles: To protect eyes from debris and dust.
- Work gloves: To protect hands from sharp objects and rough materials.
- Safety shoes/boots: To prevent foot injuries from falling objects or stepping on sharp items.
- Hard hat: To protect the head when working under or around overhead hazards.
- Respirator/Masks: To prevent inhalation of harmful dust or fumes.
- Ear protection: To safeguard hearing in noisy work environments.
- Long-sleeved shirts and pants: To protect skin from minor cuts, scrapes, and harmful substances.
- Safety harness: To prevent falls when working at heights.
Always remember, safety comes first when undertaking any home repair task.
The Answer for Requirement Number 1b
Safe practices are fundamental to home repairs. They not only prevent accidents but also ensure the quality and durability of the repair works. Here’s a list of ten essential safety practices every home repairer should follow:
|1. Plan Ahead||Understand the scope of the work, gather necessary tools, and ensure you have enough time to complete the task without rushing.|
|2. Use Proper Tools||Always use the right tools for the job. Improvising can lead to accidents and poor-quality work.|
|3. Wear Appropriate Safety Gear||Depending on the task, this may include safety glasses, gloves, hard hats, masks, or other protective clothing.|
|4. Maintain a Clean Workspace||Regularly clean your workspace to avoid slips, trips, or misplaced tools.|
|5. Handle Power Tools with Care||Follow manufacturer guidelines for use, care, and storage of power tools. Ensure they are turned off and unplugged when not in use.|
|6. Respect Electricity||Turn off power when working on electrical components. Never handle electrical devices with wet hands or while standing in water.|
|7. Practice Ladder Safety||Ensure the ladder is stable before climbing. Do not overreach, and never stand on the top two rungs.|
|8. Store Tools Safely||After use, clean and store tools properly. Sharp tools should be covered or sheathed to avoid injury.|
|9. Stay Alert||Avoid working when tired or under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Distractions can lead to accidents.|
|10. Know Your Limits||If a repair task is beyond your knowledge or skill, do not hesitate to seek professional help. It’s safer and often more cost-effective.|
The Answer for Requirement Number 2a,b,c,d
Performing home repairs involves a broad range of activities. Here’s a guide on how to carry out the tasks mentioned, always under the supervision of your merit badge counselor:
a. Maintain or recondition a yard tool
- Clean: Remove dirt and rust using a wire brush. Wipe down with a cloth.
- Repair: Tighten any loose parts. Sharpen edges if necessary, using a file or sharpening stone.
- Protect: Apply a light coat of oil to prevent rust.
- Store: Store in a dry place. Hang tools to prevent damage to edges.
b. Weather-strip a window or door
- Measure: Measure the door or window’s perimeter.
- Purchase: Buy the appropriate amount of weather-stripping material.
- Apply: Cut the weather stripping to size and adhere it around the door or window frame.
c. Caulk cracks or joints open to the weather
- Prepare: Clean and dry the area to be caulked. Remove old, loose caulking.
- Caulk: Cut the tip of the caulk tube, load into a caulk gun, and apply steadily along the crack or joint.
- Smooth: Use a tool or finger (wearing a rubber glove) to smooth the caulk.
d. Waterproof a basement
- Inspect: Look for cracks in the walls or floor.
- Repair: Seal any cracks with a waterproofing mix.
- Apply Waterproofing: Apply a waterproofing sealer to the basement walls and floor.
|Maintain a Yard Tool||Clean – Remove dirt and rust, Repair – Tighten loose parts, Protect – Apply a light oil coat, Store – Keep in a dry place|
|Weather-strip a Window or Door||Measure – Determine door or window perimeter, Purchase – Buy appropriate weather-stripping, Apply – Adhere it to the frame|
|Caulk Cracks or Joints||Prepare – Clean and dry the area, Caulk – Apply steadily along the crack, Smooth – Use a tool or gloved finger|
|Waterproof a Basement||Inspect – Look for cracks, Repair – Seal cracks with a waterproof mix, Apply Waterproofing – Seal walls and floor|
The Answer for Requirement Number 2e,f,g,h
e. Repair a break in a concrete or asphalt surface
- Clean: Remove loose debris from the crack. Clean the surrounding area.
- Fill: Apply a concrete/asphalt filler or sealant into the crack, following the manufacturer’s instructions.
- Smooth: Level the filled area with a trowel and let it cure as per the product guidelines.
f. Repair the screen in a window or door
- Remove: Take off the damaged screen from the window or door.
- Measure & Cut: Measure the frame, and cut a new piece of screen material slightly larger than the frame.
- Install: Lay the new screen over the frame, press the screen into the frame’s groove with a splining tool, and trim the excess.
g. Replace a pane of glass
- Remove: Carefully take out the broken glass and old putty from the frame.
- Measure: Measure the opening for the new pane.
- Insert: Place the new pane into the opening and secure it with glazing points. Apply glazing compound around the edges and smooth it.
h. Solder a broken wire or metal object
- Clean: Remove any corrosion or dirt from the parts to be soldered.
- Heat: Heat the parts with a soldering iron.
- Apply Solder: Touch the solder to the parts, not the iron, until the solder flows onto the parts. Remove the iron and let the soldered parts cool.
|Repair Concrete or Asphalt||Clean – Remove loose debris, Fill – Apply concrete/asphalt filler, Smooth – Level with a trowel|
|Repair Screen||Remove – Take off damaged screen, Measure & Cut – Size new screen larger than frame, Install – Press screen into groove, trim excess|
|Replace Glass Pane||Remove – Take out broken glass, Measure – Size the opening, Insert – Place new pane, secure with glazing points, apply compound|
|Solder Wire/Metal||Clean – Remove dirt/corrosion, Heat – Use a soldering iron on parts, Apply Solder – Let solder flow onto parts, cool|
Also Read: Painting Merit Badge
The Answer for Requirement Number 3
Under the supervision of your merit badge counselor, you can accomplish these tasks:
a. Install or build equipment for storing tools
- Design: Determine the size and type of storage needed based on the tools you have.
- Assemble: Assemble the storage unit as per the design or instructions.
- Install: Secure the storage unit to a wall, if applicable, ensuring it’s level and stable.
b. Build a workbench
- Plan: Decide on the size and layout of the workbench.
- Cut: Cut the materials to the correct size according to your plan.
- Assemble: Join the pieces using screws or nails, starting with the frame, then the top, and finally the shelf (if applicable).
c. Repair a piece of furniture
- Inspect: Identify the damage or issue with the furniture.
- Fix: This could involve tightening screws, re-gluing joints, or replacing broken parts.
- Finish: Sand and finish the repaired area to match the rest of the piece.
d. Paint or varnish a piece of furniture, a door, or trim on a house
- Prepare: Clean the surface, sand it smoothly, and wipe away dust.
- Apply: Use a brush or roller to apply paint or varnish, using even strokes. Let dry.
- Finish: Apply a second coat if needed. Let dry.
e. Repair a sagging door or gate
- Diagnose: Determine the cause of the sagging.
- Fix: This could involve tightening hinges, replacing screws, or installing a turnbuckle for a gate.
- Check: Open and close to ensure it’s functioning correctly.
f. Repair a loose step or railing
- Inspect: Identify the loose part and why it’s loose.
- Fix: Tighten screws or replace parts as needed.
- Test: Apply weight to ensure it’s secure.
g. Repair a fence
- Identify: Find the damaged part of the fence.
- Repair: Replace or repair posts, panels, or pickets as needed.
- Check: Ensure the repair is stable and blends with the rest of the fence.
|Install/Build Tool Storage||Design – Based on tools, Assemble – As per instructions, Install – Secure to wall|
|Build a Workbench||Plan – Determine size/layout, Cut – Size materials, Assemble – Frame, top, shelf|
|Repair Furniture||Inspect – Identify issue, Fix – Tighten, glue, replace parts, Finish – Sand and match finish|
|Paint/Varnish||Prepare – Clean and sand, Apply – Use brush or roller, Finish – Apply second coat if needed|
|Repair Sagging Door/Gate||Diagnose – Determine cause, Fix – Tighten hinges or install turnbuckle, Check – Ensure correct function|
|Repair Loose Step/Railing||Inspect – Identify loose part, Fix – Tighten or replace, Test – Check stability|
|Repair Fence||Identify – Find damaged part, Repair – Replace or repair necessary parts, Check – Ensure stability and aesthetics|
Always perform these tasks under proper supervision and with appropriate safety gear.
The Answer for Requirement Number 4
Under the supervision of your merit badge counselor, the following electrical tasks can be accomplished safely:
a. Locate a main electrical switch box and know how to replace a fuse or reset a circuit breaker
- Locate: The main electrical switch box is usually located in a utility area, like the basement or garage.
- Replace/Reset: If a fuse is blown, unscrew it and replace with a new one of the same rating. For a tripped circuit breaker, flip it back to the ‘on’ position.
b. Replace an electrical cord or repair a plug or lamp socket
- Replace Cord: Unplug the appliance, remove the old cord (usually requires unscrewing), attach the new one, and screw it back in place.
- Repair Plug/Socket: Replace a damaged plug by cutting off the old one, strip the wires, attach them to the new plug, and screw it together.
c. Install a single-pole light switch
- Prepare: Turn off the power at the main switch box.
- Connect: Follow the wiring diagram that comes with the switch to connect the wires.
- Install: Screw the switch into the box, and attach the cover plate.
d. Replace an electrical wall outlet
- Prepare: Turn off the power at the main switch box.
- Remove: Unscrew the cover plate, then unscrew the outlet from the box. Note how the wires are connected.
- Install: Connect the wires to the new outlet as noted earlier, screw the outlet into the box, and replace the cover plate.
|Locate Main Switch Box & Replace Fuse/Reset Breaker||Locate – Usually in utility area, Replace/Reset – Unscrew blown fuse and replace, or flip tripped breaker to ‘on’|
|Prepare – Turn off the power, Connect – Follow wiring diagram, Install – Screw into the box, attach the cover||Replace Cord – Unplug, remove old, attach new, Repair Plug – Cut off old, strip wires, attach new|
|Install Single-Pole Light Switch||Prepare – Turn off the power, Remove – Note wire connections, unscrew outlet, Install – Connect wires to the new outlet, screw in, replace the cover|
|Replace the Electrical Cord/Repair Plug or Socket||Prepare – Turn off the power, Remove – Note wire connections, unscrew outlet, Install – Connect wires to new outlet, screw in, replace the cover|
Always remember that working with electricity can be dangerous. Ensure that power is off before starting these tasks, wear rubber gloves, and always work under the supervision of a knowledgeable adult.
The Answer for Requirement Number 5
Under the supervision of your merit badge counselor, the following tasks can be accomplished:
a. Clear a clogged drain or trap
- Remove: Unscrew the trap under the sink or the drain cover in the shower.
- Clear: Use a plumber’s snake or a straightened wire coat hanger to clear the clog.
- Replace: Screw the trap or cover back into place.
b. Repair a leaky water faucet
- Turn off: Shut off the water supply.
- Disassemble: Remove the handle and packing nut, revealing the stem. Remove that as well.
- Replace: Replace the washer at the bottom of the stem.
- Reassemble: Put the stem and handle back together, and turn the water back on.
c. Repair a flush toilet
- Diagnose: Identify the problem – it could be the flapper, fill valve, or overflow tube.
- Replace: Turn off the water, flush to empty the tank, and replace the faulty part.
- Check: Turn the water back on and flush to ensure it works correctly.
d. Repair a leaky hose or connector
- Identify: Find the source of the leak.
- Repair: Depending on the source, you may need to replace the washer in the connector or patch a hole in the hose.
e. Clean or replace a sprinkler head
- Identify: Determine if the head is clogged or broken.
- Clean/Replace: If clogged, remove the head and rinse it out. If broken, unscrew the old head and screw in a new one.
|Clear Clogged Drain/Trap||Remove – Unscrew trap or cover, Clear – Use snake or wire hanger, Replace – Screw back in|
|Repair Leaky Faucet||Turn off – Shut off water, Disassemble – Remove handle, nut, stem, Replace – Put in new washer, Reassemble – Put everything back, turn on water|
|Repair Flush Toilet||Diagnose – Identify the issue, Replace – Turn off water, replace part, Check – Turn water on, test flush|
|Repair Leaky Hose/Connector||Identify – Find source of leak, Repair – Replace washer or patch hole|
|Clean/Replace Sprinkler Head||Identify – Determine if clogged or broken, Clean/Replace – Rinse out or replace head|
The Answer for Requirement Number 6
Under the supervision of your merit badge counselor, these tasks can be accomplished:
a. Paint a wall or ceiling
- Prepare: Clean and smooth the surface, apply a layer of primer.
- Paint: Use a roller or brush to evenly apply paint, starting at the top and working down. Let it dry.
- Finish: Apply a second coat if necessary, and clean up.
b. Repair or replace damaged tile, linoleum, or vinyl flooring
- Remove: Carefully take out the damaged piece without damaging the surrounding area.
- Prepare: Clean and dry the space for the new piece.
- Install: Apply adhesive, place the new piece, and press down firmly.
c. Install drapery or curtain rods and then hang drapes or curtains
- Install Rods: Measure the desired height and mark, drill holes, screw in brackets, and place the rod.
- Hang Drapes: Slide the drapes or curtains onto the rod, then place the rod on the brackets.
d. Replace window blind cords
- Remove Old Cord: Cut and remove the old cord.
- Install New Cord: Thread the new cord through the appropriate holes and tie a knot at the end.
e. Repair or replace a window sash cord
- Remove Old Cord: Take off the trim, remove the sash, and cut the old cord.
- Attach New Cord: Tie the new cord to the weight, thread it over the pulley, and attach it to the sash.
f. Reinforce a picture frame
- Repair: Apply wood glue to any loose joints and clamp until dry.
- Reinforce: Drive small nails or staples at the joints for added strength.
g. Mend an object made of china, glass, or pottery
- Clean: Clean the broken pieces with mild soap and water, and dry thoroughly.
- Glue: Apply a strong adhesive to the broken edges, hold pieces together until the glue sets.
- Finish: Wipe off any excess glue, let dry fully before use.
|Paint Wall/Ceiling||Prepare – Clean and prime, Paint – Apply evenly, let dry, Finish – Apply second coat if needed|
|Repair/Replace Tile, Linoleum, Vinyl||Remove – Take out damaged piece, Prepare – Clean/dry space, Install – Apply adhesive, place new piece|
|Install Drapery/Curtain Rods||Install Rods – Measure, drill, screw in brackets, Hang Drapes – Slide onto rod, place rod on brackets|
|Replace Window Blind Cords||Remove Old Cord – Cut and remove, Install New Cord – Thread through and knot at end|
|Repair/Replace Window Sash Cord||Remove Old Cord – Remove trim and sash, cut old cord, Attach New Cord – Tie to weight, thread over pulley, attach to sash|
|Reinforce Picture Frame||Repair – Apply wood glue to joints, clamp until dry, Reinforce – Add nails or staples at joints|
|Mend China, Glass, Pottery||Clean – Wash and dry broken pieces, Glue – Apply adhesive, hold together, Finish – Wipe off excess glue, let dry|
Always remember to wear the appropriate safety gear, and ensure your work area is clean and well-ventilated when using adhesives or paints. Always work under proper supervision.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
The Home Repairs Merit Badge teaches scouts practical skills they can use throughout their lives. These skills can be used to maintain their homes, save money, and even be applied to certain careers.
Home repairs can involve various risks, from simple accidents like slipping on a wet floor to serious hazards like an electric shock. Understanding safety procedures helps to prevent these risks.
The badge requires scouts to demonstrate their ability to perform a variety of home repair tasks, such as fixing a leaky faucet, repairing a broken window, replacing an electrical switch or outlet, and many more. The specific tasks can vary depending on the requirements outlined by BSA.
For these projects, scouts need to identify a home repair or improvement task, plan how to carry it out, and then complete it. This might involve getting approval from a homeowner, gathering tools and materials, and then doing the actual repair or improvement.
Scouts are expected to learn about and safely use various tools commonly needed in-home repairs. These can range from simple hand tools like hammers and screwdrivers to power tools like drills and saws, and even specialty tools like pipe cutters or wire strippers.