Owning a home is a huge responsibility both financially and physically. Homeowners need to properly maintain their home to ensure that it remains in good shape. In addition, proper maintenance also can help prevent accidents and home disasters, too.
While some repairs and maintenance needs require a professional, there are many important homeowner survival skills. Here are 20 survival skills that every homeowner should know:
- How to change a light bulb. Sure, this seems basic. Changing a light bulb is a common skill that every homeowner needs to possess. In addition, homeowners also should know how to remove a broken bulb (use a potato cut in half).
- How to change the HVAC air filter. This is easy, but the homeowner needs to know where the air filter is located and they also need to know the proper size of the filter for their system. Air filters typically need to be changed every three months, but some filters require more frequent replacement.
- How to use a fire extinguisher. Use the PASS guideline: Pull, Aim, Squeeze and Sweep. Keep a fire extinguisher in the kitchen and any areas prone to fire hazards.
- The proper way to extinguish fires of different origins. Grease fires and electrical fires can’t be extinguished the same way.
- How to change the battery in the smoke alarm. That incessant high pitch beep is the alert that the batteries in the smoke alarm need to be changed. Homeowners should be proactive, though, and swap out those batteries before the beeping begins.
- Turn off the water in the home. A water leak can spring randomly. Know how to turn off the main water valve to the home.
- Turn off the electricity. There could be a time when turning off the electricity is necessary; know how to turn off power to the home or specific rooms.
- Fix a faucet drip. Bob Vila’s site notes that fixing a dripping faucet should be a DIY know how for every homeowner.
- Plunger the toilet. This is yet another must-have DIY skill that all homeowners need to possess, per Bob Vila’s site.
- Clean the gutters. Yes, homeowners can hire someone, but, again, this is another skill that Bob Vila’s site notes that homeowners should know how to do.
- Mow the lawn. Whether homeowners use a riding mower for a large lawn or a push mower, learn how to mow the lawn.
- Plant a garden. Learning how to plant a garden means that homeowners can grow their own produce. Planting seeds and tending to growing plants isn’t difficult, but it could take a bit of research.
- Use a stud finder. Wall studs need to be located when hanging pictures or when doing certain home improvement projects. Know how to find wall studs, and invest in a stud finder to make locating them even easier.
- Remove hard water and other deposits from fixtures and bathtubs. Stains and residue from hard water can ruin the look of a faucet or the bathtub. Learn how to remove pesky residue, build-up and stains.
- Fix a clogged sink. Bob Vila’s site also recommends that homeowners learn how to unclog a sink or drain. In bathtubs, it’s not uncommon for hair to clog the drain. Sinks also can clog over time, especially if children drop a toothpaste cap or other item down the drain. Learn how to properly unclog a drain and when to call the plumber, too.
- Identify pipe or other water leaks. Sometimes issues can arise in plumbing that aren’t always obvious. Know the signs that there could be a leak behind the walls related to plumbing. For example, there might be wetness on drywall or even water spurting from a different area on a bathtub faucet. These could be signs that a plumber is needed.
- Properly paint a room. Applying a coat of paint sometimes requires more work than just a brush and a can of color. Primer might be necessary. In addition, some paint colors require multiple coats. Learn how to properly paint walls.
- Clean upholstery. Some stains require professional cleaning, but homeowners also can clean some upholstery spills themselves. Learn which products to use and how to treat the stain without harming fabric.
- Hang curtains and blinds. Window treatments can add personality to a room. Learn how to properly install blinds and hang curtains (including how to find the correct size).
- Hang shelves and pictures. Learn how to hang shelves and pictures so that they are correctly leveled and placed on a wall.
There are many other skills that homeowners need to know that can simplify their daily lives and even help them during an emergency. Bob Vila’s site includes 100 skills that homeowners should know; review it and try to learn each skill.