Making the mortgage payment is far from the only thing that a homeowner needs to worry about.
Following are seven skills every homeowner should have, and a few tips if you need to acquire them.
Climb a Ladder
Whether you’re changing a light bulb, painting a ceiling, or cleaning your gutters, the ability to climb a ladder safely will help keep you and your home in tip top shape. The first thing to look at is your ladder setup. Make sure all the ladder’s feet are firmly planted on a non-slippery surface. If you are using an extension ladder, place it at a comfortable angle—not too steep, not too flat. Extend your ladder at least three feet above the roof line so you can safely get on and off. Always maintain at least three points of contact and never climb a ladder when you are home alone.
Maintain Lawn Care Equipment
With proper care, lawnmowers, trimmers, and hand tools can last a long time, but that takes some effort on the owner’s part. Change the oil in gas powered engines annually and winterize them at the end of the season by either draining the fuel or adding a fuel stabilizer. Keeping mower blades as sharp as possible will make your job easier and your lawn look better. Hand tools should be cleaned after each use and stored in a covered location to prevent premature wear.
Calculate Square Footage
Flooring, roofing, siding, and paint are just a few of the building materials that are sold by the square foot. For square and rectangular spaces, simply multiply the length by the width of the space to find your square footage. Triangular shapes (like your roof line’s gable end) can be calculated by multiplying half the width by the center height of the triangle.
Untrip a Circuit Breaker
If too much load is placed on a circuit, the breaker “trips," cutting power to the circuit. This often happens when you are using items such as hair dryers, power tools, or portable heaters. To regain power, locate your panel box, open the cover, look for a breaker that is switched from the “ON" position to the “OFF" position or halfway between the two. Turn the breaker to the “OFF" position, then back to the “ON" position. Consider splitting your power load among several circuits to avoid tripping the breaker again.
Having just these seven skills will save you time, money, and a boatload of aggravation. Learn them and put them to use in your home.
Find a Stud
Wall studs are typically placed every 16 or 24 inches apart. Use them to hang any heavy items like flat screen TVs and mirrors. The easiest way to find them is to use a stud finder. Simply place it against the wall and slowly slide it horizontally until the device signals you are over a stud. Mark out two studs, note their spacing, and you can use a tape measure to find more as necessary.
Shut Off the Main Water Supply
Water can cause thousands of dollars of damage in a hurry. Learn where the main water supply line enters your house and how to operate the valve that controls it before there’s water spraying all over your home. Be ready to stop an unexpected leak anywhere in the house by shutting off the main.
Unclog a Toilet
An ordinary plunger should fix 90 percent of your clogged toilet problems. Place the plunger around the hole in the base of your toilet making sure that it makes contact the whole way around to create a seal. Depress the ball-like base of the plunger and quickly remove it from the hole. Your problem should be solved.
If a plunger won’t do the trick, the blockage may be in your drain lines rather than the toilet itself. In this case, a toilet snake can help you remove whatever it is that’s stopping the flow. If a hand-snake won’t get the job done, you can rent a power snake, which is similar to what the folks at Roto-Rooter use to help you clear your pipes.