7 Things Every Homeowner Should Know How to Do

Congratulations on becoming a homeowner! Part of the joy and pain of home ownership is maintenance and repairs. Just remember you can save money and develop a sense of pride if you learn how to take care of at least some of these tasks yourself. With that in mind, check out these seven things we think every homeowner, regardless of where you live: Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Alaska, Indiana, should know how to do. The links provide more detailed instructions for each repair or maintenance job.

  1. Replace a fuse:

    Electrical circuits in older homes are often protected by fuses. If you own an older home, keep a supply of replacement fuses on hand in the event you forget that using a hair dryer while heating up your coffee in the microwave is likely to blow a fuse. A blown fuse will have a blackened appearance that sets it apart from the working fuses. Just unscrew the blown fuse, look to see if it’s a 15A or 20A fuse, and screw in the correct replacement.

  2. Vacuum:

    Vacuuming once a week is a great way to take care of your carpets, as well as combat dust mites and potential flea infestations. This obviously isn’t the most complicated task in the world, but there are a few things you should keep in mind in order to be sure you’re thoroughly and effectively vacuuming your carpets and floors. Use the vacuum’s proper settings for either carpets or floors. When vacuuming floors, follow the direction of the wood and use extensions to get at corners and areas where a floor meets a wall. Empty the bag when its two-thirds of the way full.

  3. Shut off the water:

    At some point, in order to make a repair or install a new fixture, you’re going to want to shut off the water supply for a specific fixture or in some cases, the entire house. Before repairing or replacing a specific fixture, look under the sink for a stop valve that when turned clockwise shuts off its water supply. If you need to shut off water for the entire house, locate the valve that brings cold water into your home. It’ll be inside if you live in a colder climates, outside if you live in a warmer climate.

  4. Fix a leaky faucet:

    Now that you know how to shut off your water, you’re ready to fix that annoying leaky faucet. Faucets often leak simply because they’re old, and the fixture needs to be replaced. Cover the jaws of your wrench with duct tape so you don’t scratch your fixtures when unscrewing them. Figure out what kind of faucet you have, compression, cartridge or sleeve, ceramic disk, or ball type, as that will determine what kind of repair you need to do. Replacing your facets rubber washer, seal, or seat washer usually stops the leak, but a replacement assembly will only set you back $20 to $25.

  5. Unclog a drain:

    You may be tempted to buy a jug of chemical cleaner to unclog a bathtub or sink drain, but a box of baking soda and gallon of distilled white vinegar will actually do a better job at keeping your drains smelling good and clog-free. If after a few baking soda and vinegar treatments you still have a clog, before you fall back on using Drano, try using a plunger, and then if necessary, a drain-and-trap auger, to get at a tougher, nastier clog.

  6. Inspect your washing machine:

    To prevent flooding from a burst water pipe, inspect your washing machine’s water supply lines once a year. If the metal ends of the lines are rusty, they should be replaced. Use a crescent wrench or a pair of pliers to tighten the drain lines so they’re snug. You should also make time to inspect your washing machine drain hose for leaks, cracks, and discoloration.

  7. Patch a hole in your drywall:

    We conclude this list with a slightly more complicated, but totally doable task. Completing it might give you the confidence to explore more advanced and demanding home repairs and maintenance! What is drywall? Well, chances are, unless you live in an older home, your interior walls are made of drywall. You can repair a hole in your wall with a small sheet of drywall, mesh tape, setting compound, and a wood back board (which will go behind the area of drywall you are repairing). Once you’ve made the repair, sand down the second or third application of setting compound and then paint over the area. Your wall will look as good as new.

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