Home Maintenance

8 Easy Fixes for Common Home Maintenance Problems

Maintaining a house can often feel like a very complicated task. Depending on how old and how well-built the house is, you can find yourself constantly chasing after small problems. Fortunately, there are several tasks on that big to-do list that are actually a lot easier than you’d imagine, with simple DIY repairs that anyone can manage.

Loose Drawer Handle

You pull the handle on the drawer and it wobbles, and one day you are going to end up yanking it off for good. Assuming you’ve tried screwing the thing back in, your problem is probably that the wood is stripped. Thankfully, this is simple to solve.

Easy Fix: Use some wood glue and toothpicks to fill the hole, cut off the protruding toothpicks, and then screw the handle back in.

Broken AC

There’s nothing worse than realizing you have a broken air conditioner during a sweltering summer’s day. Several things could be wrong with your system, but it could be something very simple, such as a frozen coil caused by a dirty filter.

Easy Fix: Replace your AC filter and see if that works. If it doesn’t, you will probably have to call an AC repair professional. Use this nationwide search tool by Home Advisor to find companies in your area who can get your system back in working order.

Drywall Holes

Drywall is a delicate thing, and holes and cracks are annoyingly common. In particular, holes from doorknobs slamming into the wall are a classic issue.

Easy Fix: Fixing drywall is easy, but there are different techniques for each type of hole you’ll encounter. For a doorknob hole, a patch kit is the easiest option. This guide by Lowe’s has instructions for every drywall repair situation.

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Summer Home Maintenance Projects

summer home maintenance

Summer is THE season for grilling, outdoor activities, icy cold drinks, and…home maintenance. Wait, what? You read that correctly! Take advantage of the long, warm days to do home projects that aren’t viable during the cold, wet months. Besides beautifying your home and adding value and curb appeal, you’ll want to ensure your home’s integrity through the rest of the year. For instance, if you ignore that small leak in your roof or that overflowing gutter, by winter it could become a much bigger—and way more expensive—issue to repair. Summer is also a great time to add a cool and fun new feature to your home (fire pit, anyone?). We’ve got a super list of possible projects—some you can do yourself, while some are best left to professionals.

Outdoors

Roof Repair or Replacement

If you’ve got a leaky roof or missing shingles, or a roof past its lifespan, don’t wait for next summer to repair or replace it. It’s literally the roof over your head! The average lifespan of a roof is 20 to 30 years, although slate, copper, and tile roofs can last more than 50 years. Make the decision to repair or replace, and hire a well-recommended roofing company to do the job.

Power Wash

Your walkways, driveway, and home exterior could likely use a high-power cleaning. Rent a power washer and DIY; be sure to get professional tips on how to do this without causing damage. If you’re not sure, hire a pro.

Replace Siding

How do you know it’s time to replace your home’s siding? When paint is flaking and peeling after only a few years, when there are loose or missing boards, or when any mildew, mold, or rot are clearly visible. Angie’s List has an even more detailed list of telltale signs. This is definitely a big budget project, but it’s not something you want to neglect.

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Tips and Tricks for Organizing Your Garden Shed

Many of us like gardening, but don’t enjoy opening up the long-unused garden shed after a wet Pacific Northwest winter. Looking at the cobwebs and damp leaves that have settled in, there is always that goal: “This year, I’m going to organize this place!” And then you dive in to the gardening tasks, you enjoy the blooms and the growth from spring through fall, and by the time you realize it’s almost winter again, the shed is still in disarray. Not this year! We’ve got a great list of tips and tricks to help you whip your garden shed into shape. Come this time next year, you’ll open up your post-winter shed, see and find everything you need, and love gardening even more. Green thumbs at the ready…set…go!

Small Tools

Your hand tools deserve better than being tossed into a sack and set in a corner. Storing them dirty and thrown about will cause them to rust and lose their edges quicker. If you invest in high-quality hand tools, you’ll want them to last many years. A trough or big clay pot filled with sand will keep your tools clean and sharp; wipe them with a rag before sticking them in the sand. If you are going to store them in a toolbox, wipe them down and line them up so the edges aren’t banging into one another. Add charcoal briquettes in a cloth bag—these will absorb any moisture. Of course we can’t forget the classic pegboard storage solution—so many ways to do it!

Serious DYI-ers will not recoil from this weekend project: build a potting bench! It includes a pegboard for your hand tools, as well as places for pots, soil, etc. Not a handy sort? Just order one online.

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Stress-Free Guide: Planning and Surviving Your Major House Renovation

If you’re planning to give your home a major facelift, you’re in for a very interesting time in your life. Renovations can be super fun, but also more than stressful, especially when they involve a big part of your home and last for a long time. However, renovations do not have to end in tears and nervous breakdowns! Here’s how to pull off a smooth and breezy reno.

Collect as many tips as you can

Make sure to do your homework before doing any renovation work. Talk to your homeowner friends and family, consult with neighbors and surf the internet for tips. You’re guaranteed to collect a good number of tips that will come in handy during your reno. These tips and information can greatly affect your renovation and even your end product. It’s always good to know what works and what doesn’t pay off.

Plan your budget

One of the first things to do before you grab a sledgehammer and start tearing down walls is coming up with a good budgeting plan. Check the internet for material prices, ask quotes from your contractors and see whether you need to pay for permits. Also, don’t forget the price of hotels in case you need to get away from the noise of renovation. Once you come up with a good budget, add 10% for emergency situations and you’re good to go. No matter how hard you try to make everything perfect, there are situations that you simply can’t predict. When you’re set on a budget, stick to it like crazy. It’s easy to get carried away with renovations and end up blowing your entire life savings.

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Cleaning the Cleaning Appliances

What’s not to love about your cleaning appliances? They don’t need payment, they don’t need to be fed, they don’t complain, and they do their job when it’s convenient for you. The least we can do is give them a bit of love. Besides, keeping these guys clean helps them run better and last longer, and even save energy.

Dishwasher

For a quick degreasing and odor removal, place a cup of white vinegar in a dishwasher-safe container on the upper rack of your empty dishwasher. Run the machine using the hottest water cycle available. If it still smells musty after this, sprinkle a cup of baking soda over the bottom of the dishwasher, then run for a second cycle. If you’d prefer to use a dishwasher cleaner, Good Housekeeping has a list of recommended ones that handle food and grease, as well as hard water minerals.

Washing Machine

Using a similar method as above, set your empty washing machine at its hottest temperature cycle, and run it with 1-2 cups of white vinegar. This helps to descale and remove mineral deposits, especially if you do this once a month as part of a maintenance schedule. For a store-bought solution, many brands such as Affresh and OxiClean offer washing machine cleaners in tablet or liquid form.

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Keep Your Home Safe When Leaving for the Holidays

If you are heading out of town for the holidays, for a long weekend or for a week, it’s a prudent idea to have a checklist of To-Do’s to ensure your home’s safety. Unfortunately this most wonderful time of year also brings about a rise in theft and burglaries. According to CNN Money burglaries peak during December because would-be thieves know people are on vacation, or are out shopping or visiting all day. Here’s our thorough guide to keeping your home safe and looking “occupied”.

Use these sectioned checklists:

Electronic

  • Put timers on several lights around the house, including your holiday lights and front/back porch lights. Have the timers go on and off at varying times, so an obviously unoccupied, dark home doesn’t suddenly all light up at 4:30pm. Winter hours mean dark mornings–set timers to also turn on 6:00-9:00am.
  • Double-check indoor/outdoor holiday lights and wiring. Don’t leave any fire hazards.
  • Unplug your automatic garage door opener so thieves can’t open it with a universal remote.
  • If you’ve got a security system, a video doorbell, or motion detector lights, check to make sure it’s working properly.

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Making the Summer-to-Fall Transition: Prepare Your Home Before Winter Sets in

Take care of Fall home maintenance

The end of summer is all about change. Leaves are starting to fall, the weather’s just beginning to cool (okay, at least it’s less hot). The kids are back in school, and everyone settles into familiar and busy daily routines. Soon, you won’t have as much time for those little household jobs that’ll pay off later ­– or cost you some money if they’re neglected – so do yourself a favor: put down the TV remote, pull on your sweatpants and t-shirt, and get ‘em done now.

Clean Inside and Out

The end of summer is a good time to clean and organize your house, room by room. As your family begins to transition to fall clothing, start putting away the summer wardrobes. Store them safely in secure plastic containers, especially if they’ll be spending the winter in the attic or basement. Put away the doo-dads you picked up on vacation or your kids brought home from summer camp. If things have really gotten out of hand, you might consider having a professional home organizer help you tackle the clutter. 

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DIY Projects That Pack a Punch

 

Looking for your next big home improvement project? If you’re a fan of DIY projects, you know that sometimes it can be hard to come up with a project idea. Try these DIY home improvements and repairs to scratch the DIY itch and create something you can use for years and years to come.

Get Cookin’!

If you’re the chef in the family, perhaps the kitchen could use an upgrade. Make the food prep area more efficient and functional with rollouts to organize cabinet storage. Rollouts make wasted space accessible, which equates to an upgrade which is easy, inexpensive and satisfying. You install them by attaching to the existing shelving, simply mounting each rollout with four screws. Measure carefully, accounting for door space and hinges. Using a well-made drill makes this DIY project easy-peasy.

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Get Control of Your Personal Information – Know What to Shred

Personal information

Personal information security is a hot topic these days. Between news of identity theft, mass data breaches and social media personal data security, the subject is front and center in our minds. We all want out personal information to be safe, whether it is our financial information, medical records, or social media data. Each year, we handle hundreds of documents that entail sensitive information, physical paper, our personal and financial paperwork.

It can be confusing to figure out what documents we need to keep, how long, and what documents we can dispose of, and how. Some individuals are so anxious about identity theft that they do not dispose of any paperwork at all! That results in massive paper piles, making it nearly impossible to find important documents when you need them. These piles can become an overwhelming burden. Paperwork clutter is a common problem, and very tedious and time consuming to tackle.

So, how can we protect our personal information (without getting buried in paper), at least the kind of personal information which commonly arrives in the mail? What to keep? How long? Why? We have some answers for you.

What Personal Information to Keep and How Long

  1. Tax Returns: Keep copies of all your tax returns. Keep the back-up information and
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7 Simple Ways to Protect Your Home When on Vacation

protect your home

In early spring each year, Seattleites trade their winter boots for flip-flops, and take off in search of warmth and sun. Before you order your Uber to SeaTac, use these 7 simple strategies to protect your home while you are away.

  • No one wants to come home to find out that a pipe burst and flooded the interior of their house. Turn off your water before you leave to go on vacation. Find your main water shut off and turn off the water on your way out the door.
  • Some kitchen stoves have a safety lock feature on the control panel. You can temporarily disable the gas flow to the stove, should something unexpected, like an earthquake, happen while you are away.
  • Set a timer, so that a lamp or two turns on every night,
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