Basic Home Repairs that everyone should know about. Owning a home is both fulfilling and challenging. The truth is that most homeowners like to maintain their homes. However, it is not possible to always keep your home in a pristine condition.
How to fix basic plumbing, HVAC, driveway, roof leaks, decks, drywall, painting, appliances, essentials & more. Free Checklist below!
- HVAC thermostat set realistically
- Duct sealant
- Filter change
- Plug any seams or holes in vents
- Unlock vents and clean
- Get a yearly checkup
- Check roof for leaks and moisture
- Inspect roof for improperly installed flashing
- Get rid of any animals in your attic
- Trim back trees from rubbing on your house
- Make sure nothing is blocking your roof ventilation
- Weatherstripping on drafty doors
- Tighten loose door closers
- Check door hinges
- Secure your front door
- Floors – polish annually
- Garbage disposal – rinse with cold water
- Use ice to sharpen blades
- Dishwasher – replace hoses every 5 years
- Microwave- clean vent/screen
- Replace lightbulb yearly
- Refrigerator – change water filter
- Vacuum behind it.
- Clean evaporator coils, pump
- Ceiling fans – winter time run clockwise
- Summer time run counterclockwise.
- Windows – clean regularly so they shut properly
- South facing windows – tint to reduce excessive heat, keep house cool in summer
- Toilets – locate shutoff valve beside toilet by base
- Identify any leaks
- Tighten water line connections – but not too tight
- Drywall – dont hang heavy mirrors on the drywall using drywall anchors. Secure heavy items to the actual studs behind the drywall.
- Paint – don’t paint in the rain or when it is excessively humid
- Seal coat asphalt driveways yearly (DIY spread)
Whether you own the house or you have just rented it, you’ll have to contend with some repairs. Sometimes, you’ll be faced with complex repairs that can only be fixed by professionals. The common problems will, however, be basic. Moreover, they are easy to fix, and taking care of them is bound to make you feel useful around the house.
Nevertheless, some may call for urgency, such as a leaky tap. Others will be worth putting on hold for several days. No matter how small the repairs are, they need to be addressed. HUD recommends that you check the following year round. (Source)
So, what are the basic home repairs that everyone should know about?
Aluminum ducts are used in making heating, ventilation and air condition ducts. As air is pushed through your HVAC vents and it leaks out of the thousands of small gaps in the main trunk and branch ducts. Most of these are where the pipes are joined together. A tight fit can still be very leaky.
Duct sealant tape – Use the duct sealant tape and put it around the joints and any seam in the metal. This will eliminate 80% of the air leaks – so your AC will blow cool in the Summer and the heat will keep you warm when it is cold outside.
A/C filters need to be changed from time to time. Luckily, this is an easy repair that you can take care of without a problem. Want to keep enjoying the refreshingly cool temperatures in your home?
- Check your filters every month. If they are really clogged then replace.
- Have pets- check every 2 weeks.
Plug air holes in vents
When you realize that your home air conditioner isn’t cooling the house effectively. You should check if the air holes in the vents are properly plugged. If not, then you need to do so. HVAC stores sell all types of plugs, meaning that you can easily access them whenever the need arises.
Unblock vents and clean
The vents ensure that your home gets a fresh air supply. If this isn’t happening, then your vents are either dirty or blocked. You should switch off the system, open the vents and clean them using a hose vacuum if possible. Other options include vacuuming the ducts as well as using soap and water when cleaning in case of grime.
Make sure your new homeowners know what home maintenance is necessary with our 2020 Checklist.
Getting a yearly checkup for your home is something you should do. This will uncover any underlying repairs that you may not be aware of and prevent problems before they start.
House too cold or hot? Add insulation
Seal your holes
Air holes are all around your house. Look for holes on your exterior and interior of your foundation – where moisture and air can enter and damage your house.
Energy audit – If your house is really cold then you should consider getting an energy audit.
Attic – add insulation
- Blown- probably the easiest way to quickly and efficiently add insulation to your attic. Rent an insulation blower at your local hardware store. Get the correct amount of insulation you need – and a friend to help you unload it. Spray the insulation in your attic while wearing a good respirator and goggles and head light. It is really hard to see up there once the insulation is flying.
- rolled– you can add bats of insulation but you will need access to all of your trusses. Most houses have a small walkway down the middle so you can access each end. You are likely to fall through your drywall or at least crack it in an existing house...so we don’t recommend this option since it is dangerous and takes longer.
- foil – you can use double sided foil and staple it up on the trusses. This has mixed results and I would not recommend it. We tried it in our house and it actually heated up our bedroom more in the summer time. I took it down and added blown insulation and love the results.
Old wiring (small jobs) – you can likely redo small wiring jobs if it is not behind your drywall. However, if it is hidden then you will need to call a pro unless you are a licensed electrician.
Pro tip: get 3 or more quotes from Craigslist from licensed electricians. Ask how much they charge per hour and how many hours they will take to do the job. This will give you a better estimate and will likely save you $$$ instead of them charging by the job.
Big electrical jobs should be left to the pros. You have to make sure the wires are ran correctly, the wires are connected correctly. If you don’t you could blow the electrical panel (flip the breaker) or even start a fire if it is really messed up. Know your limits and do the safe thing!
More on electrical:
As a homeowner, you should expect to deal with various plumbing issues such as clogging of the faucet, leaking taps, and ineffective drainage.
Additional Plumbing Tips
As a homeowner, you should expect to deal with various roofing issues such as clogging of the faucet, leaking taps, and ineffective drainages.
Leaks and Moisture
Wind, rain, hail, snow, ice, and debris … can all lead to a leaky roof which will lead to a leaky ceiling if the water gets to the drywall. Then you have real trouble.
Improperly Installed Flashing
Flashing is usually metal aluminum rolled or precut that is placed around pipes, fans or chimneys. It seals these areas. Do a roof inspection on a regular basis to make sure that your roof looks as it should and there are not any signs of leaks. Roofing sealant or tar should then be placed over the flashing to make sure it is waterproof.
Small animal like raccoons, squirrels and mice can make your attic their home. When this happens it is usually best to call a pro since you are dealing with a wild animal.
True story. When I was installing the reflective insulation in my attic I saw came in contact with a large nest and accidentally fell off the board I was laying on. I cracked our drywall in a few places. I spent the next 3 days fixing the drywall since the popcorn ceiling had to be matched.
Lesson learned. Be careful when crawling in your attic – you never know what you will find.
Punctures and Penetrations
Wind and hail damage can cause punctures in roofing material. If they are then take pictures of the area immediately before you remove any of the damage. You will likely need this evidence if you make an insurance claim.
Watch for your trees that may rub against the roof shingles and wear them down. Also branches can also fall on your roof and potentially puncture it. Trim back branches within 4 feet of your house at least once per year.
Make sure your roof is properly ventilated. Most roofs have ridge vents installed at the top. These naturally eliminate excessive hot air since it rises.
Weatherstripping – This is perhaps the easiest way to air seal your leaky door. Buy rubber or foam weatherstripping and apply it to the 3 sides of the door jam.
Pro tip: don’t apply it to the metal door sweep on the bottom. It will collect dirt and be a mess to clean up. Use a door sweep like this one for the bottom of your door. It helps create a better seal which saves you more $$$.
Tightening closer for exterior glass storm doors. Storm doors are great for adding a second door option to your front door. So you can have a screen or glass insert. Be sure to tighten the closer enough so the door closes behind you when you leave. Use a Philips screwdriver to tighten the screw at the end of the closer.
Door hinges. If your door is uneven or is not closing properly do the following:
- Check the spacing and gaps
- Lubricate with lithium grease – not WD-40 as it is a de-greaser
- Tighten loose hinges so they are properly aligned.
Door not closing properly. Check the door handle and the strike-plate. If it is misaligned then you should remove the strike-plate and properly align it, then screw it back on. This should solve the problem. The latch may need to be replaced if the latch is not going into the strike-plate.
Securing front door. Properly securing your front door is part of proper home maintenance. It usually only has to be done once but is not something you should overlook. Check out our extensive post on front door security.
More on your front door:
Wood floors. Floors don’t require a lot of maintenance. Sweep them regularly and polish them as necessary. There are plenty of different polishes you can use for your floors…
But you should polish them at least Annually to help give them a deep down shine and remove any buildup in-between the board cracks.
Squeaky floors? Check out our How to fix squeaky floors from above? (Best advice from Pros!) post to learn all the tricks to get it done right.
Appliances & essentials
- Use common sense. don’t put super hard food waste like bones down your disposal.
- Rinse with cold water. this will help keep it cleaner longer.
- Use ice to sharpen. The ice sharpens the blades as it cuts it up. This is a cool tip. Literally!
- Use a citrus cleaner to clean it and make it smell good.
- 7 Genius Garbage Disposal Hacks (unclog, sharpen, clean & stay SAFE)
Clean the hoses at least every 5 years. Every 2-3 is better if possible.
- Clean the vent/screen on the bottom. A lot of grease builds up here. You need to make sure that it is clean so you micorwave lasts longer.
- Lightbulb. A small lightbulb is on the bottom of your microwave. Replace it once it burns out.
- Change the water filter regularly so the water is always clean.
- Vacuum it. Unplug the fridge and pull it out from the wall and vacuum up any dust and debris by the evaporator. The cleaner the evaporator, the colder your fridge will be an less it will have to work.
- Tight seal. Make sure the door has a tight seal and closes all the way. This is often overlooked.
- Winter time – run clockwise. There is a small switch on the fan that changes the direction. Make sure it is turning in the right direction for the season.
- Summer time – run Counterclockwise.
- Clean regularly – so they don’t build up dirt in the cil. This will prevent it from closing correctly and make the window have an air gap that will end up costing you $$$.
- Tint if windows are south facing. If your windows are facing south then, chances are, they will probably be letting a lot of heat in the summer time. This can often account for 5-8+ increase in degree just because of the heat transfer. Be reflecting the heat before it enters your home you dramatically reduce the heat energy and let your A/C work a little less and save $$$.
How to turn off
A tap may malfunction in such a way that you are not able to turn it off. What to do: instead of leaving the water running, just turn it off at your home’s main water supply. This is a temporary solution as you still need to use the water. The ultimate solution lies in either opening the tap or checking whether the spindle needs replacing. Other times, it could be won out washes and as soon as you replace them, the problem is solved.
Diagnose a leak
If you haven’t dealt with a leak at your home, it’s going to pop up sooner or later. It is unlikely that it will go unnoticed for a long time. In one way or another, you’ll know that something is amiss in a certain section of the plumbing system. With plumber putty, you can fix the leak once you find it.
How to tighten water lines
The water lines at your home will get lose over time. You might be able to fix this with your bare hands. If not then use pliers or a wrench to tighten the fastener.
One of the most annoying basic home repairs is Drywall. This includes plasterboard, gypsum board or wallboard. Whatever it is, you may face you will have some kind of mind blowing drywall fix in your future.
Cut out the drywall
Once in a while, lights or electrical boxes will prompt you to cut out drywall at your home. To do it properly, use a drywall cutting knife.
Sand the drywall
Drywalls are subject to damages. Your drywall can accidentally get hit by a hard furniture item. This will need to be repaired. Sanding the drywall should do the trick.
Measure and replace the drywall
If your drywall is either damaged or falling from the ceiling, you have to do something about it. You can either use nails or screws to reinforce it. Additionally, you can accurately cut out the affected patch and replace it with a new one. Note that you need to use a tape measure for accuracy when replacing the drywall.
Add a repair kit
Adding a home repair kit is a brilliant idea. This means that you can tackle the most common problems that need a specialized tool. This includes loose screws and nails that might need replacement. Screwdrivers and hammer are great tools for a homeowner.
For small holes in your drywall, there is no need to panic. This can be repaired successfully by using drywall mud. It is especially good for filling cracks in drywall surfaces.
Drywall mud (blue lid – in above pic) for seaming multiple pieces of drywall together. It is for much larger applications than just filling a few small or medium sized holes.
Your eloquently painted walls may peel due to various reasons. This is one of the easiest repairs that you’ll ever come across. Painting doesn’t have a steep learning curve. With average skills and the right paint, you are good to go.
Superb home painting tips include getting the primer right, avoiding lap maps as well as not leaving the paint can open as the paint dries up pretty quickly. Also, it’s wise to invest in a paint pen.
To figure out if the paint on your wall is latex, use alcohol and a cotton ball. Residue on the cotton ball signifies that your paint is latex.
Don’t paint on direct sun
Painting on direct sunlight is a bad idea. Why? The paint dries faster, leaving lap marks and brush marks. Besides, the sun interferes with the adhesion of paint, causing a host of other visible problems. This tremendously compromises the result.
Do not paint in the rain
Painting the interior of your home on a rainy day should be done with caution as the walls shouldn’t be wet. As for the exterior, you’d better do it when it is not raining as well. It is also a bad idea to stop painting because of the rain and then continue later as you may not get uniform results.
Make sure the humidity is relatively low
A humid atmosphere delays the paint from drying. For this reason, carry out any paint repairs on less humid days.
Driveways are built to last. However, various elements, such as bad weather and poor maintenance are ruinous to your driveway. Nonetheless, it is not difficult to repair your driveway.
During winter, you may find yourself grappling with snow on your driveway. Shoveling it out of your way is a good solution that also keeps you fit.
Another basic problem that you might experience on your driveway is sprouting of weeds. You can eliminate weeds with a home-based solution. So long as your driveway isn’t made of concrete, a salt solution can be used to eradicate the weed.
Seal coat (asphalt)
Driveways that are made with asphalt are sometimes damaged by the sun, water or wind. Voids and cracks can also form in such scenarios. With the right seal coat product, you can repair the damage and protect your asphalt driveway from further damage.
- Clean the driveway
- Let dry
- Fill the cracks with filler. Dry.
- Use quality sealer.
More driveway tips:
You don’t have to call the professionals for basic home repairs. If you are going to do so, then you should first try the ideas listed in this article. You’ll probably end up taking care of the Basic Home Repairs by yourself.