Home improvement made easy: seven skills every homeowner should learn and why

Owning a home has its perks, but it also comes with maintenance responsibilities. It can be a burden to maintain your home, particularly if you are not primed to handle the most common household matters. We put together a list of seven skills every homeowner should learn to prepare for future household maintenance issues. Don’t be intimidated; you don’t have to be handy to use these skills around your home every day:

  1. Shutting off your water. Know where your water valve is located to shut off the water in your home. Water is one of the leading causes of damage in homes, so being able to turn off your water quickly is critical.
  2. Turning off your gas. Gas leaks are also a common problem in homes. If you think there could be a gas leak in your home, always call your gas company first. It’s also good to know where your shutoff valve is in case you need to turn the gas off yourself — they are often located outside and will require an adjustable pipe or crescent-type wrench to turn off.
  3. Changing your air filter. Air filters dictate the air quality in your home. If you don’t change them regularly, you’ll find your home to be dusty and the air quality poor. It’s best to change your filters every 30 days. There are many less expensive filters available for replacing every 30 days.
  4. Operating your circuit box. If you know how to work your circuit box, then you will be able to turn the power on and off to different parts of your house. Familiarize yourself with your circuit box and learn how to reset your power and identify which switches correlate to various rooms in your home.
  5. Cleaning your gutters. If you don’t clean your gutters, water can flow onto the trim and siding of your house. In time, this can lead to rotting and eventual replacement. Clear out your gutters once a year — or twice if you have overhanging trees.
  6. Fixing a running toilet. A running toilet is a nuisance, but also a waste of water and money — your water bill will be pricey if you let your toilet run. The most common sources for a running toilet usually concern the flapper, chain or float. Luckily, once you identify the problem, the fix is quick and easy.
  7. Caulking. Caulk is a waterproof filler and sealant. Caulking is a simple task that can fix a variety of issues — it can seal off the unwanted air, water and unwanted pests like ants. Make sure to choose the correct caulk for the situation — for long-lasting seals, choose silicone caulk over acrylic caulk. Always make sure your surface is clean and dry and make sure to use even pressure when applying with a caulking gun.