Home ownership can be a dream come true, especially if you’re a first-time buyer. But owning a home comes with certain responsibilities you may not have had during your time as a renter. From cleaning dryer vents regularly to knowing what’s OK to put down a garbage disposal, there are certain things every homeowner should know. Use these home repair tips and tricks to help you live more comfortably and avoid costly repairs down the line.
Seal gaps to increase energy efficiency
To keep your home comfortable and your utility bills manageable, make sure you secure your building envelope. This means closing any cracks or gaps that let cool air escape during the summer and warm air escape during the winter.
If you notice any cracks or gaps around your windows or doors, seal them with weather-stripping or caulking. You should also caulk any cracks at the seam between your baseboards and walls.
Finally, keep an eye on tubs and showers. Small gaps and cracks can do serious water damage over time. Make sure your grout and caulk aren’t soft or cracking. A little bit of home repair in this realm can go a long way.
Clean out dryer ducts
This is different than cleaning out your lint trap. When excess lint builds up in your dryer ducts, it can increase the risk of fire and poor air quality.
Lint is just one of several things that can clog up your ducts. Stuck exhaust hood flappers (the ones outside your house) and nesting pests can also cause problems. If you notice strange odors or longer drying times, vacuum your ducts using a wet/dry vacuum, or see if you can force out clogs using a flexible rod available at most home improvement stores. If you don’t have success, call in a professional to get the job done right.
Don’t damage your disposal
While they may seem like powerful shredding machines, garbage disposals can actually be quite sensitive. Bones, eggshells, coffee grounds, fruit pits, seeds, and non-food items can all damage the impellers.
Fibrous foods such as celery, artichokes, asparagus, chard, kale, potato peelings, lettuce, and onion skins can also entangle the impellers, causing the unit to jam. Liquid grease can be a problem, since it forms clogs once it solidifies. Pasta and rice can also form clogs, since they tend to expand once exposed to water. Avoid putting any of these items down your disposal to increase longevity and prevent breakdowns.
Prioritize home maintenance to avoid home repairs
Regular repairs are a natural part of home ownership. If your roof starts leaking or your A/C breaks down, you won’t be able to call your landlord.
Make sure to regularly change your HVAC filters and inspect your roof shingles. Clean out your gutters and keep leaves and other debris away from your home to reduce the risk of pest infestation. If you aren’t sure what types of maintenance you should perform, check out our article, “Top Home Maintenance Tips From Service Contractors.”
Make a homeowner’s journal
With so many things to do as a homeowner, it can be easy to lose track of what you’ve done and what you need to do. That’s why it’s important to keep a record of everything you’ve done to maintain your home.
Buy a folder or three-ring binder to hold repair receipts, insurance papers, appliance manuals, and any other paperwork about to your home. This can help you keep track of important expenses and can provide valuable information for buyers if you ever decide to sell your house.
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