Owning a home means you’re going to have a lot of questions. Unfortunately, your house doesn’t come with an owner’s manual that explains what every switch and wire is for. As the homeowner, it’s up to you to troubleshoot any issues you may be experiencing. You will thank yourself later if you learn these seven skills.
Learning to unclog drains yourself can save you money on plumbers. There are two common methods to unclogging drains: chemical cleaners or drain snakes. Both are effective. When using a chemical cleaner be sure to follow directions and precautions on the label, also keep these products out of reach of children and pets. The drain snake is a tool that you insert into the drain and allows you to find the clog and break it up or pull it out. To minimize clogs keep hair, food and grease out of the drain.
Change HVAC Filters
Did you know changing HVAC filters can reduce the amount of dust in your home? It will also keep your system running smoothly, cutting costs on your energy bill. Homes with pets and those with allergies should change filters every 30 to 90 days. Homes without pets or allergies can go three to six months before putting a fresh filter in.
Test and Replace Batteries in Smoke Detectors
Smoke detectors should be tested monthly, and the batteries should be replaced every year. Testing the batteries is simple — just press the “test” button until it chirps. If the alarm doesn’t chirp then replace the batteries right away. Smoke deters typically have a lifespan of 10 years.
Clean Dryer Vents
A clogged dryer vent not only makes your dryer run less efficiently, but is also a fire hazard. To clean the vent, just remove it from the back of the dryer and vacuum up the lint and debris with a wet/dry vac, or you can get a cleaning kit that comes with a brush and a long flexible rod. Dryer vents should be cleaned at least once a year.
Cut the Water Supply
If you live in a cooler climate, the main water valve is usually located in the basement, near the front of the house. In a warmer climate, the main water valve is attached to an exterior wall or in an underground box. There are two types of main shut off valves: a gate valve and a ball valve. A gate valve should be all the way open or completely closed. The ball valve is more common in newer construction. This valve has a lever that can be turned 90 degrees to turn it on and off.
Locate A Stud
Pro tip: Start in a corner, where there is always a stud. Most studs are located 16 inches apart. So once you have found one, you can find the rest by measuring 16, 32, 48 inches and so on. Eliminate guesswork by using an electronic stud finder.
Stop An Overflowing Toilet
To prevent or stop a toilet from overflowing you need to stop the refill action where the water from the tank fills the bowl. To do this take off the top of the tank, grab the float, and pull it up to close the valve. Be sure to turn the water off by using the valve located on the wall, behind the bottom of the toilet.
With a little patience and some internet searches, it is possible to take on many of your home’s maintenance tasks yourself. In the long run, doing these things on your own will save you time, money and some frustration.