Updated: Jan 21, 2021
There are so many amazing things that come from owning a home, but one word that usually scares people is "maintenance." You've rented for a while and now you have made the huge step to becoming a homeowner, but when you were a renter, you could always call a maintenance person. Now they may not have arrived in a timely manner & they may have put a lot of bandaids on problems, but you never had to fix anything. There is no reason to be afraid of basic home maintenance though. We have posted before with some tips about preventative care for your home, but let's talk about some simple things you should know how to do.
1. Know where your shut-off valves are. Shut-off valves are knobs or handles that turn off your connection to utilities. They are in different places in your house depending on what you want to shut off. For example, if your toilet is overflowing, there is a knob on the wall behind your toilet that you can turn to shut off the water. If you have water coming up through your floor though, you want to find your main water line shut off that provides water to your whole house. Gas is the same way; generally you have a shut off valve at each appliance that runs on gas as well as a main gas shut off. It is important that you locate these on your home & know how they work. If you ever end up in a situation where you have a water leak or smell gas, being able to shut your connections off can save a ton of money. If you don't know where these are and can't lcoate them, send us a message and we will connect you with a professional who can help you.
2. You do not need to be an electrician to have a basic understanding of the electrical in your home. Knowing where your electric box is & making sure it is labled correctly is a great first step. That way if you ever need to cut power to your home in a certain area, or shut power off entirely, you can. Understanding how your GFI outlets work is also super useful. In a lot of homes, GFI outlets are in areas where your outlets may come into contact with water. They will trip if exposed to water (and sometimes they trip for other reasons). Usually one of the outlets in the circuit has a little button on it that you press to reset them (making all the outlets work again). Knowing how this is set up in your home can be helpful. It is also a good idea to learn how to change popped breakers if you are comfortable doing so. Often times, when you make a service call to a professional, you can ask them to show you how to do the simple things, so that you don't have to call someone out every single time that something happens.
3. Learning how to hang things properly is very useful too. Command strips may have worked in apartments, but now that you own your home, there will be a lot of things you will want to hang long term. Buying a level (or a laser-level) and a stud finder can be really helpful. If you aren't familiar with a stud finder, this is tool that tells you where you have space behind your wall and where you have posts behind your wall. This can help you find the best places to hang things!
4. Air filters are another REALLY important thing to know how to change. Often times air filters are nasty and desperately need to be changed, usually because the owner forgot to change it or did not know how. Your air filter helps make your air conditioner last longer & is really important in how efficiently your AC will run. If you do not know where your filter is, many times they are behind a vented cover on your ceiling or in your AC itself. If you can't find it or don't know how to change it, the next time you schedule an AC tune-up, have the technician show you how to change it.
5. Knowing how to handle simple plumbing issues can go a long way too. Toilets are something that generally are very overwhelming, but are actually easier to fix then they seem. A running toilet can cost you a fortune- and we are not joking. We have seen clients who have a $700 water bill because they ignored a running toilet. Usually simple things like leaking faucets, running toilets, and recaulking your shower are easy to learn to do with a little youtube research. You can also visit your local hardware store (I usually go to Ace when I need help) and they can guide you as well.
If you ever need a recommendation of a professional, send us a message or give us a call & we would be happy to recommend people who we use on our own homes.
If you would like to start receiving our quarterly maintenance checklist & air filter change reminders, subscribe below: