Homeownership and to-do lists tend to go hand in hand. Thankfully, most of the issues you come up against require simple solutions on your part. Here’s how to stay abreast of those common household issues that arise on a routine basis.
Replacing air filters
Topping the list of home to-dos is maintaining your HVAC system. While dabbling with the inner workings should be left to a professional, the most crucial aspect of proper maintenance falls into the hands of the homeowner, and thankfully, it’s an easy task. Simply making routine filter changes is a must, as dirty filters impede the efficiency of the unit, meaning your home isn’t getting the quality air flow it needs. Not only that, it can cause the unit to work harder, raise your utility costs, and shorten the life of the unit.
Actually, replacing the filter is easy. Shut off the unit, open the cover, and remove the old one. Check the side of the filter for the required size, and ensure you have an exact match to replace it. If necessary, you can order custom filters and have them delivered straight to your home. Install the new one in the same direction the old one faced, and secure the cover back into place. If you are hesitant, you can watch an instructional video from Today’s Homeowner.
(Don’t) go with the flow
Air flow is a wonderful thing in your home, but water flow can be a whole different beast. If a pipe springs a leak, time is of the essence. Leaks don’t improve on their own, and they can lead to mold, damaged drywall, and even flooding. You can stop a leak by installing a water shut-off valve, and it takes mere minutes to accomplish. Begin by shutting off the water coming into your home at the water main. Drain water from the lines, then cut the pipe at the leak and deburr the pipe. Install the valve, and then slowly turn your water back on.
Contend with cantankerous toilets
Do you have a toilet that runs all the time? Oftentimes, jiggling the handle helps, but that’s not really fixing the issue, and you’re still using more water than necessary each time you flush. This Old House offers a couple tricks for fixing a running toilet. Shut off the water to the tank, lift the lid, and check the height of the float. If you are unfamiliar with the parts, you can examine this diagram. You might be able to adjust the chain to make it stop, or add a bit of bend to the arm. If that doesn’t help, inspect the flapper. It might be worn and ready to be replaced. You can remove it and take it shopping with you to ensure you purchase the right replacement.
Mirror, mirror, on the wall…
Cloudy mirrors are practically useless, but thankfully, there is an easy fix. Restore your looking glass to clarity with a couple tablespoons of ammonia, a half cup of rubbing alcohol, and a quarter teaspoon of liquid detergent. Blend the ingredients, pour them into a spray bottle, and then apply to the mirror. Using some old newspaper, wipe clean in circular motions. Address any residue in the edges and corners by scrubbing with an old toothbrush.
Tidy up your trim
Trim molding that gapes or is cracked isn’t attractive, but you can give the eyesore a quick facelift with some caulk. Start by wiping down the surface of the trim you’re repairing, then snip off the applicator tip of the caulk tube. Load the tube into a caulking gun, and apply a bead to the molding. Clear excess with a damp fingertip, and allow it to cure. Paint the caulk to match the wall or trim as needed.
Household task lists are seemingly never ending. On the upside, most of what occurs can be resolved with simple solutions. Being a homeowner is a lot of responsibility, but with a bit of perseverance and a few tools, you can easily keep things up to snuff.
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