Whether you have a brand new home or an older one, things break or stop working…it’s inevitable. Homes require upkeep! Drains will get clogged, your air filters will get dirty, and the electricity may get glitchy. Instead of having to call out a professional with each and every little problem, here are some important home maintenance tips so you can save some time and money.
- Unclogging Drains. Drains are going to get clogged, it’s really just a matter of when. If you or a family member has long hair, those shower/tub drains will clog more often than other drains. Instead of calling a plumber and paying him to spend 5 minutes pulling out hair, do it yourself. There are a few different ways to do this.
- Use a chemical. Your local home improvement store (Home Depot, Lowes, etc) has drain opening chemicals you can use. Make sure to follow the instructions on the back of the bottle. Putting this in your drain can help break down the debris.
- Unclog using baking soda and vinegar. See extensive instructions here. To do this, you’ll pour a pot of boiling water down the drain and then follow it with about 1/2 cup of baking soda. After letting this sit for a few minutes, you’ll then pour in a mixture of 1 cup of vinegar and 1 cup of hot water. Cover the drain with a drain plug and let it sit for 5-10 minutes. Once you’ve let it sit, you’ll then pour one more pot of bowling water down your drain.
- Pull out the hair. (Just a warning, it’s a nasty smell, so if you have a weak gag reflex, you may want to wear a nose plug.) To just simply remove the hair from the drain, you’ll want to take out the drain stopper in your tub. Once you do this, grab a pair of long-nosed pliers or even a wire hanger (straighten out the hanger and create a little hook at the end). Once you have your tool, put it down the drain and simply pull the hair out. You’ll want a trash back of some sort close to put the nasty hair into.
- Changing air filters. This is an important part of home maintenance to do regularly to keep good air quality in your home. If your home is getting extra dusty or musty, you probably need to change your air filter. According to Trulia, changing your air filter every 3-6 months is recommended for those without pets or allergies. Those with pets or allergies should change their air filters every 30-90 days. Make sure you know the size of air filter you’ll need before you buy. Once you get your new air filter, open up the vent, remove the old one, and replace it with a new one, putting the same side facing in the vent as the old filter. It’s pretty easy, I promise.
- Turning power on and off in different areas of your home. Sometimes there are power outages in different areas of the house. Before calling an electrician, see if there’s a reset button on an outlet in the room. (It’s usually a small red button in the middle of the outlet.) Sometimes simply pushing the button will restore power. Other times you may have to check the breaker box to see if it was tripped. Familiarizing yourself with your breaker box ahead of time is extremely helpful. Know which switch controls which room.
- Finding a wall stud. Whether you’re trying to hang a work of art or mount a TV, you want to know where the studs are in your home, especially if you’re hanging something heavy. Inside your walls are wooden studs, set 16 or 24 inches apart (depending on your home). These provide good support for whatever you’re trying to hang. If your nails are in between these studs, the only support is drywall, which may or may not hold. So making sure you nail/screw into the stud, is an important detail. To do this, there are stud finders at your home improvement stores for $10 or so that do the work for you. Easy right?!
- Taking care of your appliances. Part of home maintenance is taking care of your appliances so they last longer. Make sure to replace your refrigerator water filter every so often (if it has a water dispenser), read your appliance manual to know what filter to get and how to change it. For your clothes dryer, clean up your lint trap. Every few loads you’ll want to empty it of all the lint so it can continue to work properly. Clean your oven. If there’s a day where you’ll be out running errands for a few hours, on your way out the door turn on the self-clean feature on your oven. I know, something that actually self cleans! Take advantage of this (although it tends to stink, hence doing it while you’re out running errands is ideal). If you take care of your appliances, they will take care of you!
Although there are several more things I could include on home maintenance, this is a good start. The more you do for up-keep, the longer your home will last. Keep the quality of your home high so that when it’s time to move, there aren’t any big fixes that need to be done or any large cleaning projects.
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