25 Things Every Homeowner Should Know How To Do Around the House

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You’ll be shocked at how much you can do with a little direction and some elbow grease. Here’s what we’ll cover in this how-to guide designed to save you a ton of time, money, and headaches around the house. 

Whether you just moved in or you just need a refresher, this will take you from clueless to confident so you can handle everyday maintenance and repairs without any professional help.

1. Patch Holes In the Wall:

Holes are eyesores. Here’s how to fix them in a flash: Fill small holes with a quick-dry spackle using a putty knife. Let the spackle dry for an hour or two, then reapply if needed. For larger holes, cut a clean square around the hole with a utility knife. Cover the hole with drywall tape. Then cover the hole and tape with a spackle. Let the spackle dry, then reapply if needed. If you’re going to be painting, be sure to sand the surrounding area first.

2. Find a Wall Stud:

You can pick up a stud finder for just a few bucks at any home improvement store. But if you want to do it the old-school way, all you need is a tape measure, a hammer, and a few nails. Begin by looking for nail heads by your baseboards. These are typically a telltale sign of a vertical stud. Tap a new nail a few inches above the existing nail(s) to confirm. Then in most homes, measure 16 inches side to side to locate the remainder of your wall studs.

3. Shut Off the Water:

Sinks, fridges, and toilets have their own water supplies that can be shut off by turning a valve (or two). The sink’s valves are beneath it. The fridge’s valve is behind it. As is the toilet’s valve. If you need to shut off all of the water to your home, go to your main water valve. It’s usually in the utility room, basement, or garage, and it’s marked by a water meter. Turn the valve until tight to shut off the entire water supply.

4. Unclog a Drain:

Just about any drain can be unclogged with the right sized plunger. But if you only have a toilet plunger and you’re working on a sink or tub, baking soda and vinegar are the next-best option. Pour a cup of baking soda into the drain, followed by a cup of vinegar. Let the chemicals seep in and do their thing. Once the bubbling stops, run hot water to finish the job.

5. Fix Leaky Faucets:

As time goes by, those little drops start to sound like nails on a chalkboard. Stop the leaking by changing the cartridge inside your faucet. Here’s how: Shut off the water supply valves under the sink. Then turn the faucet on to drain any excess water. Disassemble the faucet’s handle to access and replace the cartridge. And clean the surrounding area with vinegar before installing the new cartridge.

6. Get Your Garbage Disposal Working Again:

If it won’t turn on, slip under the sink and hunt down the small red button at the bottom of the disposal. Press the button to reset the system. Just like that, the disposal will reboot. It should work like a charm when you turn it back on.

7. Fix a Humming Garbage Disposal:

That humming noise is a sign of a jam. Most disposals come with a small Allen wrench-like tool for this very reason. The wrench is typically mounted to the bottom of the disposal or stuck to the instructions in the drawer you tossed them in. Once you find it, head under the sink and use that wrench to manually spin the blades and clear the jam.

8. Deodorize a Stinky Garbage Disposal:

A lemon or lime could be all you need to freshen up your disposal (who knew?). Pick one, cut it into wedges, and run those wedges through the disposal. If the smell lingers, treat the disposal as you would a clogged drain: Let a concoction of baking soda and vinegar seep down the drain, then flush with piping hot water.

9. Paint Like a Pro:

Failing to prepare is preparing to fail. Invest in drop cloths (or newspaper), a brush, and a roller before you begin decking the walls. Painter’s tape for taping off woodwork comes in handy too. Cover the floor and furniture with cloth or newspaper and be sure all pets, humans, and phones are out of the way. Begin by painting the edges and corners of the wall with the brush. Finish the job by using a roller on the remainder of the wall.

10. Fix the Garage Door:

If that giant door won’t go up and down, look for the little sensors sitting on each side of it near the floor. Clean them with a Q-tip or cotton swab and a drop of water or Windex. If the garage continues to give you a hard time, pull the red emergency cord to manually open and close the door. That’s what the cord’s there for.

11. Change Your Indoor Air Filter:

Head to your furnace or HVAC system and flip the shut-off switch. Measure the size of the filter you’re replacing and get your hands on a new one. From there, slide the old filter out and slide the new filter in. Most experts recommend you replace your air filter at least every 90 days. Perhaps even more frequently if you have pets or medical conditions.

12. Find & Reset the Circuit Breaker:

If you’re experiencing technical difficulties with your lights, outlets, or appliances, hunt down the gray circuit breaker box in your basement, garage, or utility room. Inside, you’ll find a legend syncing up the switches and the outlets. Flip the right switch to reset that breaker.

13. Remove & Replace Outlet Covers:

As with any electric, practice safety first. Head to your circuit breaker and shut off the proper power source before poking around the outlet. Use a screwdriver to remove the screws at the top and bottom of the existing plate or cover, then screw the new plate on in its place.

14. Replace a Shower Head:

You’ll probably need a wrench for this one. The shower head is attached to the pipe extending from the wall. Remove the head by twisting it counterclockwise off of the pipe. Then twist the new one on and tighten with a wrench.

15. Fix a Leaky Shower Head:

If your shower head leaks, twist it off of the pipe and put some plumber’s tape around the pipe’s threads. That should do the trick.

16. Remove Hard Water Stains:

Turn to the familiar vinegar and baking soda to remove hard water stains from any sink, tub, or toilet. Keep in mind, hard water attacks your hair, skin, and health. So if you’re seeing (or feeling) signs of it, a water filter is a wise investment to ensure you clean up and drink up without the chemicals.

17. Remove Rust From Pots & Pans:

Soak rusty pots and pans in vinegar, then coat them with baking soda. Let the baking soda sit for a bit. When you scrub the baking soda off, the rust should come off with it.

18. Clean Up Carpet Stains:

Your best bet is to buy one of the million spot cleaners on the market. Remember, blot (don’t rub).

19. Replace the Toilet Seat:

Whether you’re upgrading to a heated seat, a nightlight, or a more comfortable (or quiet) throne, all you need is a screwdriver to pop off the old seat and install a new one.

20. Fix a Running Toilet:

If jiggling the handle won’t stop that rushing sound of water, take the lid off of the tank and straighten the chain inside. At the end of the chain is what’s called a “flapper.” If straightening the chain doesn’t silent the toilet, the flapper is likely damaged. Replace it to get some peace and quiet.

21. Replace Doorknobs, Locks, & Handles:

This one’s almost too easy: Use a screwdriver to remove the existing knobs, locks, or handles and screw on the new ones with the same screws (and driver).

22. Fix Sticky Drawers & Locks:

Humidity, dirt, grime, and age could all be to blame. If some light cleaning doesn’t do the trick, coat the surface with silicone spray. It’ll be smooth sliding from there. If you’re hesitant to use silicone spray on wood, paraffin wax is a fine alternative.

23. Replace the Smoke Detector's Battery:

Is there anything worse than a chirping smoke detector waking you (and the neighbors) at 3am? Luckily, all you need to do is replace the battery. And that’s a piece of cake. Grab a ladder. Hand-twist the cover off. Change the battery. And restore the peace. Most smoke detectors use one 9V battery or two AAs. Even if your detector isn’t chirping, you should do this yearly.

24. Reset a Ring Doorbell:

Like any digital device, common issues can be solved with a quick reset. First, pop the cover (faceplate) off by removing the screw at the bottom of the unit. Then hold down the black button on the front or side of the system for 20 seconds. When you release the button, the system will blink to indicate it’s resetting. When the blinking stops, the reset is complete.

25. Transfer Ownership of a Ring Doorbell:

This is done in the Ring app by “removing” the device in the device settings menu. When inheriting an existing Ring system, this is a required step. If the previous owner didn’t remove or transfer the device for you, you’ll need to contact Ring’s support team. Uninstalling or resetting the Ring will not transfer ownership.

Go Transform Your Home On Your Own:

Who knew a screwdriver, vinegar, and baking soda could fix just about everything in your home? There’s just one more thing worth mentioning: Upgrade your home (and your health) with an advanced water filter. Our fridge and under-sink filtration systems protect you and your family from hard water and dangerous chemicals, metals, and toxins. Now that you know how to shut off the water, you can easily install any of our breakthrough filtration systems on your own. Cheers!

* This blog offers home improvement information and is designed for educational purposes only.

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