12 Home Maintenance and Repair Hacks

Nothing compares to the sense of freedom and pride you feel owning your first home – you make the rules and the design decisions. But homeownership also comes with a lot of responsibility, too. You no longer have the luxury of calling the landlord or maintenance staff when something goes out – that responsibility (and expense) falls on your shoulders.

One way you can handle the inevitable home maintenance and repairs needs without breaking the bank is learning some essential skills. Here’s our list of “how to” hacks every new homeowner should know:

How to Change Air Filters – Keep your A/C unit running efficiently (and minimize dust) by regularly swapping out dingy air filters for new ones. As a rule of thumb, you should change filters every three to six months, unless you have pets or allergies. If that’s the case, it’s recommended to swap air filters every 30 to 90 days. Check out automatic delivery services like Amazon or FilterEasy to send you new air filters at a predetermined frequency.


How to Shut Off Water – Do you know how to quickly shut off water in the event of a pipe burst? Knowing how can help prevent flooding that could cost you thousands in repairs. Ask a plumber or other knowledgeable source to show you where the main water valve is in your home and know how to turn of water to individual appliances like your washing machine and toilets.


How to Fix a Running Toilet – Have your water bills suddenly escalated? Check your toilets. Running toilets can waste hundreds of gallons of water each month, costing you quite a bit more on your monthly water bill. A running toilet is usually a sign of a problem with the flapper, chain or float. Check out this “how-to” article that explains how to diagnose and repair your toilet problems.


How to Unclog Drains – Not only is a clogged sink, shower or bath drain a hassle, but it can also result in water overflowing onto your cabinets and floors. Drains can be unclogged using a chemical drain cleaner like Drano, or by inserting a drain snake into the drain to remove what’s blocking it. To help prevent drains from clogging in the first place, regularly remove stray hair from drains.


How to Change Water Heater Temperature – You can control the maximum temp of your water by adjusting the temperature on the water heater. The default setting is generally 140 degrees Fahrenheit, but in most cases, there’s no need to have it set above 120. A lower temperature setting won’t just prevent you or your little ones from being burned by scalding water; it can also slow mineral buildup and corrosion in the heater and pipes and may even save you a little on your annual energy bill.


How to Turn Off Gas – You need to take action if you smell gas. The first step is to call the gas company, and then locate the shut-off valve (usually located at the meter) and turn gas off until the problem can be inspected and rectified. FYI, you’ll probably need an adjustable wrench to operate the shut-off valve.


How to Reset the Circuit Breaker – Circuit breakers can occasionally shut off if it becomes overloaded, also known as “tripping” the breaker. Locate the breaker panel (often found in the utility room or garage) and look for the breaker that’s sitting in the “off” position (flipped the opposite direction). Flip it back to “on” and everything should be back in working order


How to Find a Wall Stud – Are you planning to hang a heavy object, like a TV, shelves or a mirror? It’s important to locate a stud behind the drywall to give you a stable and secure mounting point. You can pick up a $10 stud finder at your local hardware store to help you locate the boards, which are almost always spaced 16 or 24 inches apart.


How to Clean Your Gutters – Gutters help prevent water damage to the wood trim or siding of your house, but if the gutters are clogged, you risk expensive damage caused by water runoff. Experts recommend that you check your gutters twice a year and remove any debris you find. Once the debris has been removed, rinse gutters and downspouts using a high-pressure water hose.


How to Repair Drywall – Do your walls have dings, dents or holes? Knowing how to repair drywall can save you a bundle. All you need is a little putty, a spackling knife and paint to make your walls look good as new again. Even if you have larger holes, you can repair them using a patch of scrap drywall or a pre-cut patch.


How to Apply Caulk – Prevent water damage and keep your energy bill from running sky high by caulking around windows and doors where air or water might flow between your home and the outdoors. Start by using a utility knife to remove old caulk and carefully clean the surface. Apply new caulk with a caulking gun to a dry surface and smooth the line with your wet finger when you’re done.


How to Maintain Appliances – Review the manuals for all appliances to learn about routine maintenance, such as cleaning your oven and changing the water filter on your refrigerator’s water dispenser/ice maker. Didn’t save a paper copy? Google your make and model, you’ll likely find a copy online.


Hope these tips come in handy!!



Christine Cleek


Broker, Owner

Rising Star Real Estate






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