There are certainly home repair tasks that only a professional should perform; tasks such as setting a foundation and removing venomous pests are examples of such tasks. However, there are a variety of tasks that homeowners can – and should – perform themselves. Whether the task is preventative or reactive in nature, a carefully-performed do-it-yourself effort can save homeowners hundreds or thousands of dollars.
Clean Gutters Every Spring and Every Fall
It is important for a home’s gutters to remain clean and unobstructed; dirty, clogged gutters lead to water damage to the roof as well as contaminated water leaking to the areas below the gutter system. Gutter cleaning should be performed in dry conditions, preferably before the arrival of a significant storm. Use ladders instead of trying to clean gutters from the roof. The best tools to extract debris from the gutters are gloved hands. Attach a tarp to the ladder so waste from the gutter gets collected neatly instead of dumped on the ground below the gutter. When all of the visible debris is removed, rinse the pipes with a garden hose; water blockage indicates that there is more debris that needs to be removed.
Check and Clean the Dryer Vent Every Summer
After unplugging the dryer from the wall, move the dryer away from the wall and disconnect the dryer duct (this will require a screwdriver). Use a vacuum with hose extensions to remove lint and other accumulation from the dryer vent.
Josh Foy of Vent Gator Dryer Vent Cleaning Services explains, “The dryer vent will need to be cleaned from both the inside where the dryer is attached and from the external opening for the dryer vent. After vacuuming the vent – or if vacuuming the vent is not a practical option – brush the vent with an extendable brush. Move the dryer back into place and reconnect it, testing it with a 20-minute fluff cycle.”
Perform Routine Maintenance on the HVAC System
External HVAC units should be cleared of debris at least once a week; this simple tasks dramatically improves the HVAC’s efficiency and operational lifespan. HVAC filters should be changed once a month, especially in residences with pets. Treat the condense drain line with bleach on a monthly basis to neutralize mold, mildew, and other moisture-related grime. At the beginning of fall, replace the humidifier pad.
Flush the Hot Water Heater Every Fall
Routine flushes on hot water heaters remove accumulated sediments, increasing the hot water heater’s efficiency and operational lifespan. The first step is to turn off the hot water thermostat. Owners of electric hot water heaters should also turn off the breaker switch that powers the hot water heater. Owners of gas hot water heaters should cut off the gas flow to the hot water heater. Turn off the flow of cold water to the hot water heater, then turn the hot water on in another part of the house, such as an unobstructed bathtub. Open the pressure relief valve, attach a waterproof hose to the drainage spigot, and drain the hot water heater by turning on the drainage spigot. Let cold water flow into the hot water heater until the exiting water is clear and free of sediment. Once the water is clear, secure and reactivate the hot water heater by undoing the steps in reverse order, starting with closing the drainage valve and finishing with reactivating the hot water thermostat.
Replace Toilets As Needed
Before buying a new toilet, take measurements on the existing toilet to ensure that the new toilet will be a correct fit. When buying the new toilet, look for brass bolts which are resistant to water damage and traditional wear and tear. Also, buy a second set of washers and nuts to lock the new bolts in place, which will make setting the toilet easier. When the hold-down bolts of the old toilet are too corroded or damaged to remove conventionally, use a hacksaw to remove them. Install the new bolts, and attach the new toilet to them. Once the new toilet is installed, secure the wax ring by sitting backwards on the toilet. Do not cut the new bolts until the toilet is properly secured.
Replace Garbage Disposals As Needed
The first step to replacing a garbage disposal is to check for leaks and other serious plumbing issues that could intensify as a result of a do-it-yourself project. When buying a new garbage disposal, buy a discharge tube whose length complements the new disposal unit. If the new flange fits the old garbage disposal, keep the old flange when it’s in good shape. After removing the old garbage disposal, remove the dishwasher knockout with a screwdriver and a hammer; otherwise, the new garbage disposal will dispose of the dishwasher knockout. Attach the cord and plug to the new disposal. Remove the snap ring, secure the sink by using a weight or a partner, and install the new flange. Hang the new disposal, using pliers to secure the garbage disposal in place. Seal the sink to the sink flange with silicone.
Deodorize a Washing Machine As Needed
The simplest way to treat an odorous washing machine is by running an empty hot water wash with bleach to flush the washing machine. Alternately, modern washing machines have self-cleaning cycles which may resolve the issue. When that does not resolve the problem, check the washing machine’s inlet screen for signs of mold or other accumulations.