What Every Homeowner Should Know How To Do

Owning a home is a significant milestone, but with it comes a myriad of responsibilities. From maintenance tasks to unexpected repairs, being prepared can save you time, money, and stress. Here are ten essential skills every homeowner should master to keep their home in tip-top shape.

1. Unclog a Drain

Clogged drains are a common household issue. Knowing how to unclog them can prevent major plumbing problems. Use a plunger or a plumber’s snake for tougher clogs. Regular maintenance with a baking soda and vinegar mixture can also help keep drains clear.

2. Reset a Tripped Circuit Breaker

Electrical circuits can trip due to overloads or faults. Familiarize yourself with your home’s electrical panel and learn how to reset a tripped breaker. Always ensure your hands are dry and you are standing on a dry surface before touching the panel.

3. Change HVAC Filters

HVAC filters need regular changing to ensure your heating and cooling systems work efficiently. Depending on the type, this should be done every 1-3 months. Clean filters to improve the air quality and extend the life of your HVAC system.

4. Patch Small Drywall Holes

Small holes in drywall are inevitable, but easy to fix. All you need is some spackle, a putty knife, and sandpaper. Apply the spackle, smooth it out, let it dry, then sand it down before painting over it.

5. Locate and Shut Off the Main Water Valve

Knowing how to shut off your home’s main water valve is crucial in emergencies like burst pipes. Locate the valve (often in the basement or near the perimeter of your home) and ensure you know how to turn it off quickly.

6. Maintain Gutters and Downspouts

Clogged gutters can lead to water damage. Regularly clean out leaves and debris from gutters and downspouts to ensure proper drainage. Consider installing gutter guards to reduce the frequency of cleaning.

7. Test and Replace Smoke and CO Detector Batteries

Safety first! Test smoke and carbon monoxide detectors monthly and replace their batteries at least once a year. A good rule of thumb is to change them during daylight saving time adjustments.

8. Fix a Running Toilet

A running toilet can waste a significant amount of water. Often, the fix is simple and involves adjusting the flapper, float, or fill valve. Kits are available at most hardware stores, and many come with easy-to-follow instructions.

9. Caulk Around Windows and Doors

Drafts around windows and doors can increase your energy bills. Applying caulk to seal gaps is an easy DIY task that can improve your home’s insulation. Choose the right type of caulk for the job (e.g., silicone for bathrooms, latex for windows).

10. Prune Trees and Shrubs

Regular pruning keeps your plants healthy and your property looking neat. Prune dead or overgrown branches and shape shrubs to encourage growth. Proper pruning techniques can also prevent damage to your home from falling branches during storms.

Final Thoughts

Mastering these basic skills can significantly enhance your homeownership experience. Not only will you save money on repairs and maintenance, but you’ll also gain a sense of pride and confidence in your ability to manage your home effectively. Whether you’re a new homeowner or have been one for years, it’s never too late to learn these valuable skills.