15 Secrets of Successful Homeowners: A Quick “How To” on Basic Maintenance

15 Secrets of Successful HomeownersThe maintenance and financial demands of owning a home can come as a surprise to first time home owners. If you previously rented your dwelling, whenever you had a problem, the landlord or superintendent would take care of it. When you purchase a home, you may find yourself dealing with some unfamiliar situations. Here are a few tips to make the learning process a little easier.

1. Locate the water shut-off valve.

The shut-off valve is often located on a wall of the house facing the street. It is estimated that 90 percent of a homeowner’s problems have to do with water. Inspect the home for water leaks, and if you find a problem, repair it promptly before it becomes a bigger issue.

2. Do you have water leaking?

Often, replacing the washers will do the trick to stop the leak. Begin by turning off the water supply valve under the sink. Be careful that you do not break the valves. Depending on the fixture that you have, it will dictate how you would repair the leak. Unscrew the lines going from the faucet to the valve and check the condition of the hose’s rubber washer. If they are damaged, replace them. Then re-attach using teflon tape on the threads and retighten. Inspect application for correctness and open the valve. Check for dripping.

3. Clogged drain?

First, try a chemical drain opener. If this is unsuccessful, get under the sink and take off the trap. Often, that’s where things lodge. If the blockage is deeper, you will need a hand snake. (This can be rented from Home Depot.) Slowly push the snake down the drain, carefully twisting, pulling, and pushing when you hit the blockage. If this doesn’t do the trick, you will need a professional.

4. Gutter Systems.

Maintaining a home’s gutter system is an important line of defense against water damage. Be sure downspouts drain at least 5 feet from the foundation. Clean all debris along roofline gutters.

5. Always call local utilities to mark lines before you dig!

You can avoid everything from the inconvenience of a broken water line to being electrocuted by a buried power line. Before your digging begins, call your local Blue Stake. The service is free for them to mark where all of your lines are located.

6. Your key won’t turn in the lock?

Go to your local hardware store and buy graphite to apply in the keyhole to loosen the tumblers. If that doesn’t work, an extremely small amount of WD-40 can be helpful. (This attracts dirt, so use sparingly.) If that doesn’t work, you may need to replace the mechanism.

7. Do you know the best way to remove what’s left of a broken light bulb?

Cut a raw potato in half and, with the power off or the lamp unplugged, press the cut end onto the broken glass and twist.

8. Sooner or later, everyone finds themselves locked out of an interior door that doesn’t use a key.

There should be a small hole on the door knob that’s made just for this situation. Slip a small flathead screwdriver into the hole. Compress the spring inside or slip the screwdriver head into the slot on the spring and turn. Voila!

9. Sometime, you may also find that a doorknob falls off in your hand!

Don’t panic. What you need to do is turn the spindle, which is the four-sided bar the knob connects to. If the knob is off but the spindle is still sticking out, use pliers to turn it. If the spindle has also come off, find a substitute such as a large flathead screwdriver. Fit it tightly into the spindle hole and turn.

10. When there is a power failure, do you know how to open your electric garage door?

There is a red cord dangling from the ceiling mounted opener. Pull it and it will disengage the chain drive, so you can manually lift the door up.

11. When you need to work on something electrical, you won’t want to be hindered by a poorly labeled breaker box.

On the metal next to each switch, label with a fine indelible marker. Have someone assist you by telling you via cell phone what goes off when you flip a switch.

12. What should you do if you see a downed power line?

Always assume any downed line is electrified. Call 911.

13. Do you know how to use a fire extinguisher?

Most people have never tried. You will need to know in advance as the typical extinguisher has as little as eight seconds of life. Fire extinguishers should always be stored near exits so you can back out as you spray the flames. Try to remember the word “PASS” which stands for: Pull the pin. Aim at the base of the flames. Squeeze the trigger. Sweep the spray from side to side. Remember, fire extinguishers should only be used for fires the size of a small trash can, or for escape.

14. If you need to remove a large tree it’s best to call a professional.

Every year over 100,000 people are hospitalized due to injuries sustained from chainsaws, hatchets, axes, and falling trees.

15. What should you do if you smell gas?

If you detect the smell of leaking gas, evacuate immediately. Call 911. Gas flowing in a closed room can create a combustible atmosphere in as little as 10 seconds! Do not do anything that could create a spark, such as turning on a light or using a flashlight or phone, just get everyone out.

As a homeowner, you are likely to encounter many of these situations. Armed with a little knowledge, it is possible to take care of many issues on your own, saving you money in the long run.

Bob Jenkins AuthorWritten By:

Budget My Build
P.O. Box 72987
Phoenix, AZ 85050
Office: (602) 579-9660
Email: bob@budgetmybuild.co

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