Written by: Eugene Williams
Buying a home is the single costliest purchase most people will ever make. Homeowners spend decades paying off a five- or six-figure mortgage, but that’s only part of the financial burden. Once you’ve purchased a home, you’re responsible for its upkeep and staying on top of wear and tear, which can cause long-term damage and do considerable financial damage as well.
According to a 2018 survey conducted by GoBankingRates, American households spend about $1,200 a month to maintain their houses. About $168 of that monthly total is spent on repairs and maintenance. That’s a lot of money to spend on maintenance; however, the more you can learn to do yourself, the more you can expect to save.
Because of where it’s usually installed, molding is subject to the expansion and contraction of roof framing, which puts it at serious risk of cracking. Use spackle to fill in any cracks and let it dry. Sand it down using 220 sandpaper so there’s no residual spackling outside the crack. Once it dries, it’s ready to be painted (or primed first, then painted).
Slice off the torn cardboard edges around the damage using a utility knife and remove broken bits of plaster. Prepare a piece of self-adhesive drywall patch mesh with scissors and press it over the hole. Apply joint compound over the mesh with a flat blade, making sure it’s filling the mesh but leaving no bubbles. Let it dry for 24 hours and sand the first layer down smooth, then apply another layer. Let the compound dry, then sand and add a third layer and feather the edges.
Caulking a Bathtub
Caulk can turn grimy and moldy pretty quickly, and sometimes it’s necessary to apply a new layer. Pull off the old layer using a utility knife, clean and dry the area thoroughly, then put a strip of painter’s tape down where the new caulk will be applied. Pipe the caulking in, spread it with a putty knife, and remove the tape.
Repair a Running Toilet
Unless you’re prepared for a plumber’s bill, it’s worthwhile to learn how to fix a running toilet. First, ensure the chain from the flush mechanism is untangled and that it’s not causing an imperfect seal between tank and toilet bowl. Then, check the rubber flapper that holds water in the tank, which may need to be replaced if it’s corroded. If that’s not the problem, try lowering the float in the tank by loosening its screws and placing it in a lower position.
If you’re not trained in HVAC repair and maintenance, your options are fairly limited when it comes to the furnace and air conditioning. If your unit appears to be operating sluggishly, it could be something as simple as a clogged filter, which is generally a pretty easy fix. You can avoid such a problem by cleaning or replacing the filter on a regular (monthly) basis. If this is your problem, take care to find the right size filter for your unit (check the measurements along the side of your current filter). Some units require a custom filter; if you need to find one, look for an online resource that will direct you to the right size/type.
However, if you suspect that something’s wrong with your unit, do not tinker with it. Your HVAC system features a lot of complex components, and one wrong turn of a screw could result in the replacement of the whole thing — which will easily set you back around $5,000 for a mid-range unit. Instead, call a pro to check things out.
Clogged and dirty gutters can cause structural damage to your roof and, over time, lead to foundation damage. You’ll need a ladder to get up there and dig out the leaves and debris from your gutters (don’t forget to use gloves). Afterward, use an ordinary garden hose to run water through each gutter and ensure it’s draining properly.
Some home repairs are too sensitive or dangerous to be approached as a DIY task, but there are many jobs that can be done fairly easily. In many cases, failing to perform such tasks can lead to further, more costly problems later on, so know what you can handle before you begin.