In this day and age it seems nobody knows how to fix up their own home. This is a shame really, since knowing how to get some DIY work around the house can save you a ton of money in the future. Instead of calling a handyman for every little thing that breaks in your house, why not learn some basic repairs yourself, and call the pros only when you really need them? With all that in mind, you can find the top repair tasks every homeowner should know.
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Test your Test GFCIs
Ground fault circuit interrupters are electrical outlets that will protect you in case there is a disturbance in the current. They can save appliances from burning out, and they minimise the chance of a fire breaking out because of a power surge.
Now, testing them is rather simple. Get a small lamp or appliance, plug it into the GFCI. You will notice that these have a test and a reset button. Plug in the lamp, and press the test button. The lamp will go off. Once you press the reset button, it should go on. If this did not happen, you need to call an electrician, since there is something faulty with your wiring or the outlet itself.
Maintain your refrigerator coils
A home is not a home without a good refrigerator. However, these don’t come cheap, so extending the lifespan and utility of one for as long as possible is very important. One of the easier ways you can extend your fridge´s functionality is by maintaining your refrigerator coils.
To do this, you first need to unplug the fridge, and find the actual coils. They are most likely somewhere in the back, or maybe underneath the fridge. We suggest you get a coil cleaning brush, or just vacuum the thing.
Set up weather-stripping
We all want to minimize our expenses, and one of the best ways to do this is through weather-stripping. Namely, most doors and windows have air leaks. Because they are not perfectly sealed, your heating systems (or air conditioning) will need to work extra hard to compensate. But, with good weather-stripping, you can handle this rather easily.
Now, there is a ton of materials and brands you can choose from. While choosing the right type is far outside the scope of this article, do keep in mind that there is most likely a good type that fits your home, even if the air leaks are very large and wide.
Unclog a drain
Whether it’s a toilet, or some kitchen sink drains, similar rules apply – don’t use hard-core chemicals, unless you really have to. These can ruin the look of your sink or bowl, and continual use can severely damage the pipes. We advise you get a small plunger and maybe a drain snake as well. You can use this to remove the clog, and then put some baking soda or vinegar to get rid of the nasty smells. Couple that with a three cups of hot (almost, but not fully boiling) water. This should remove most of the remaining debris, and minimize the chances of further clogs happening soon.
Now, if you have seriously blocked drains, don’t use a ton of chemicals, but rather, call the professionals. Using an entire bottle of drain cleaner will damage your pipes, as we’ve already mentioned. However, it will also let off fumes, especially if the chemicals have nowhere to go because of the clog, since they will just build up.
Change HVAC air filters
You should do a complete maintenance check of your HVAC system every fall and spring. However, that’s not enough. We also suggest you clean or change your filters every couple of months or so. Namely, a dirty filter will severely shorten the lifespan of your HVAC system.
This is a rather simple job. Just turn off the HVAC system, slide out the filter, and get the new one in its place.
Fix a running toilet
One of the more annoying things that you can actually fix rather easily is a running toilet. Namely, if it’s running nonstop, you need to handle the situation as soon as possible. Not only will the sound of a continually running toilet drive you crazy, it will also rack up your water bill severely.
So, as far as the fix is concerned, it’s mostly rather simple. Lift the top of your toilet tank, and check out the flush valve assembly (the moving parts that allow you to flush). Most of the time the flushing occurs by having this assembly hold a valve in place. When you flush, the assembly removes the valve, and releases the water.
And there you have to folks, a couple of things every homeowner should know. Do-it-yourself work is a great way to save up money in the long run. You will spend less money on maintenance work and on repairmen. More importantly, you will save time as well. Fixing a leaky toilet, unclogging a drain, inspecting your attic, cleaning your gutters, and all the other activities we mentioned above are easy to do, safe if you approach them properly, and will lower your bills substantially.