The average homeowner can save themselves thousands of dollars each year by learning how to perform basic home maintenance. Fixing minor repairs will also help you become more self-reliant. There is power in knowing you don't have to depend on service providers (or shell out a couple hundred bucks) each time you need a repair. Here are a few basic repair tasks that you can master in minutes.
Drains are important to the overall function of your home. Most people only think about the kitchen sink, but bathroom drains in the sink and shower also need attention on a regular basis. Drains are catchalls for food particles, hair, and other debris. These items can build up and create drainage problems. They can also hinder the effectiveness of your waste removal system, especially if you recycle gray water with an aerobic sprinkler system.
You only need a few basic tools to check and clean drains. A good flashlight will help you look down the drain once you have removed the debris on top. A small screwdriver can be useful in dislodging hair or food. Make an effort to actually remove the debris instead of letting it simply wash down the drain, because Drano won’t come to your rescue.
Draining a Hot Water Heater
This task is very simple, yet it is one of the most neglected chores by homeowners. It should be a part of your yearly maintenance checkup. Over time, sediment can collect in the bottom of a water heater. This buildup of debris can then shorten the life of the water heater by preventing it from functioning properly.
The first step is to shut off the power to your water heater. Most water heaters are on their own circuit breaker. Turn the breaker off. Next, give the water in the tank time to cool down. You should wait a couple of hours at the least. The last step is shut off the water to the heater and attach a hose to the drain valve at its bottom. Most standard garden hoses will serve this purpose. You can then route the water outside. Once you have finished, make sure the tank is filled with water before you turn the power back on.
This is also a great time to check the thermostat settings on your water heater. Cutting back the temperature just a little can result in some savings on your electric bill.
Change HVAC Filters
This is a task that you should be doing regularly throughout the year. A dirty filter compromises the efficiency of your heating and cooling system. Over time, poor filter maintenance can also affect ducts and culminate in costly repairs.
Changing an HVAC filter is one of the easiest home maintenance projects. The filter will typically be located behind a small, vented metal door located on the front of the unit. The door is usually held by a couple of snaps at the top. Lift up on the bottom of the door to release the snaps, remove the door, and locate the filter inside the unit. It can be easily lifted out without any tools. Simply replace the old filter with a new one, close the unit, and enjoy your peace of mind. Most people tend to make this a monthly routine.
These are just three simple things you can do. There are hundreds of others. If you haven't done so already, now is the time to assemble a few basic tools. Some screwdrivers, wrenches, and a hammer will be a good start. Add more as the years come and go. You'll find that greater self-reliance and confidence will increase your willingness to tackle other minor repair projects.
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