Being a homeowner is exciting and amazing, but it also includes massive responsibilities. Aside from the financial responsibility of owning a home, ownership comes with the requirement of maintaining your home. Homeowners can acquire an array of skills that help maintain and preserve their home, while also making life a little easier. Knowing how to perform basic, essential maintenance tasks around the home can help preserve your home’s integrity, prevent future problems, and even save you money in the long-run. Below are 5 of the most basic maintenance skills every homeowner should have to protect and enjoy their home for years to come.
1. Unclogging Drains and Toilets
Problems with your toilet, pipes, sinks, and drains are inevitable as a homeowner. Things can easily become trapped and clog these areas of your home, which can create even bigger problems elsewhere. Having the ability to unclog drains and pipes yourself can save you time, money, and from getting involved with extensive fixes.
For clogged toilets, ensure you always have a plunger and auger at your disposal. Plungers can help clear airways in your pipes and an auger can help push pass larger items blocking the way. For sinks and other types of pipes, you’ll need to learn how to take apart pipes, as well as shut off your water supply. Large clogs may not be solved with chemicals or “snakes,” and removing one or more of the winding pipes under your sink can help get the job done. Just don’t forget your gloves and goggles.
2. Cleaning Gutters and Downspouts
Your home’s gutters and downspouts on its exterior are important, but often forgotten-about maintenance requirements. These parts work to keep foreign elements away from your roof and other parts of the house. They collect unwanted items and ensure that water and other things do not sit in one spot and create rot and other problems. But gutters and downspouts can easily become filled with leaves, dirt, sticks, water, and other environmental elements. It is important to regularly clean these items out, to help them do their job and prevent future problems with your house.
Gutters and downspouts should be cleaned out at least twice a year, but it is wise to perform this task more often. Safely use a ladder to reach gutters and make use of a hose and/or small tools to remove any excess materials that may create clogs in your drainage system. This task becomes even more essential when seasons change and leaves are falling or temperatures are dropping.
3. Dealing With the Circuit Breaker
The circuit breaker is an essential element in any home. It controls and navigates the power in your home, by specific room and item. Look at your circuit breaker as your home’s “power folder,” where it keeps track of all the things in your home that use power. It is extremely important that every homeowner knows where their circuit breaker is, as well as how to turn it on and off.
It is a common occurrence for people to lose power to one area of the home or to a few appliances/electronics in the home. This typically isn’t a real power outage and instead is a consequence of your circuit breaker doing its job. Homeowners should know where the breaker box is and know exactly which breaker controls what. When power is lost, breakers can sometimes be simply switched back on. Other times, a fuse in the breaker box may need to be replaced.
4. Changing Important Filters
Many people do not consider this task important until something goes wrong. No matter your home’s age, build, or location, its HVAC system is instrumental to the basic functions of your home, as well as detrimental to your health. Your home’s air filter, in particular, helps keep your ductwork and the air around you clean.
You should be changing the air filter(s) in your home at least every 3 to 6 months. If you have pets or indoor/outdoor allergies, the filter should be changed 1 to 3 months. An air filter is very easy to change, as long as you ensure you replace it with one of the correct dimensions. It’s also essential to pay attention to other filters in your home as well. Furnaces, appliances, and other items in the home can use filters. For easy organization, consider writing a list of your home’s filters, along with their sizes and dates they need to change.
5. Cutting Off the Water Supply and Gas
Owning a home is fun, but in the event of an emergency, you need to know what to do. Every homeowner should know where the main shut-offs to the house are from the minute you are moved in. This can include main power, water, and gas. In the event you ever smell gas in your home, the shut-off valve for gas is typically found outside of the home. It also usually requires a crescent-scaped wrench to operate.
In the more likely event of plumbing issues, shutting off water to your home will become detrimental. And many times, you will need to do it quickly. Since water is one of the leading causes of damage in homes, shutting off your water quickly and correctly is important. Though the location of the shut-off valve will differ per house, you can usually find it where the water enters your home. To turn the water supply off, simply turn the “wheel” or lever until it is closed. You may need to turn on faucets afterward to clear excess water from the pipes.
Having the right skills at the right time can help fix current issues, protect your home, and keep you safe. But maintaining your home and protecting it from future damage doesn’t have to be difficult. With the right organization and a little effort, you can live happily in your beautiful home for years to come. Start your homeowning adventure the right way by learning the basic maintenance skills you’ve seen today.
- The 5 Maintenance Skills All Homeowners Should Know – Realtor.com – https://www.realtor.com/videos/video-the-5-maintenance-skills-all-homeowners-should-know/314dd542-84a1-4cde-a50c-cb204af4c6f2
- 30 Things Every Homeowner Should Know How to Do – Bob Vila – https://www.bobvila.com/slideshow/30-things-every-homeowner-should-know-how-to-do-46782#how-to-unclog-toilet
- 10 Essential Skills Every New Homeowner Should Have – Huffington Post – https://www.huffpost.com/entry/10-essential-skills-every_b_10833424