With homeownership on the rise and the housing market going gangbusters, many of you are becoming first-time homeowners. When you move in, be sure to gather the tools you’ll need to keep your shiny new purchase in tip-top shape and to fix some common issues that will likely pop up. Of course, we want to make sure you’re set on the HVAC and plumbing fronts. We’re always happy to help with any issue – big or small – but there are certain maintenance or repair issues that most homeowners can likely “DIY” fairly easily.
1. Drain Weasel
Ohhhh – the dreaded bathroom sink or tub that just won’t drain. Clogged drains are pretty common issues and most often a result of hair that has clumped up in the drain. So, you break out the chemical clog remover, right? Wrong. Not only are these types of drain cleaning products potentially harmful if you breathe their fumes or splash your skin or eyes, but they can also do a real number on your home’s plumbing over time. So, what’s a savvy homeowner to do instead? Invest in an inexpensive drain weasel from your local hardware store or Amazon. These thin, flexible tools are easy to use and can help quickly clear even the most stubborn stops to get your drain flowing freely. If it’s still clogged, feel free to give us a buzz.
Sure; it’s gross and no one really wants to talk about it, but toilets become clogged too. Purchase a premium flange plunger. By forcing pressure against the blockage in the toilet's U-trap, the plunger should do the trick. If it’s a stubborn clog, you may need to call in a plumber who will likely use a plumber’s snake.
You’re going to need a ladder for a variety of home tasks. On the exterior, you’ll want to keep your gutters clean. Leaves, flowers and pollen in the spring and leaves in the fall build up and block your downspouts causing water damage to your home. FYI - make sure downspout extensions divert water a minimum of 3’ from your foundation.
On the interior, in the spring/summer, take your ceiling fans out of winter mode (in winter, you reverse them because it moves the heat at ceiling level down to the floor, all while not creating a “chilly” breeze) and vice versa in the fall. If you’ve ever wondered about the function of that “little switch,” well, this is it. You’ll also want to stay on top of switching out batteries in your smoke detectors to keep your family safe.
4. Hedge clippers & shears
No doubt you’ll be spending your weekends trimming your shrubs and trees to win yard of the month. But, there is also a maintenance factor here too. You’ll want to clear the space around the HVAC unit. Make sure the unit itself and area around it is free of leaves, grass trimmings and other yard debris; to be precise, you want at least two feet of space around outdoor HVAC units. Make sure to have your pest company spray around the outdoor unit also; bugs can cause some serious damage! Lastly, cut back any trees or shrubs that are too close to your home, windows or gutters.
Again, you’ll probably find a million usages for your hose. But one that matters for your electric bills is to hose down the exterior casing of your outdoor unit. It’s exposed to all of the elements and will likely get grimy over time, which can negatively impact its performance. So, hose it down, being very careful to only lightly spray water on the cone/fan spray setting -- only on the coil section. We do this for you as one of many steps of our seasonal maintenance visits, but if you don’t call us out for one, be sure you DIY!
Other basic items that will be helpful tools to add to your toolkit and shed/garage are:
· Measuring tape
· Screwdrivers – flat head and Phillips
· Adjustable wrenches
· Utility knife
· Nails & screws
· Wire cutter
· Stud finder
· Extension cord
What else should you do if you just moved in? To make it easy as 1, 2, 3, we’ve created a home maintenance and safety checklist – with a special focus on your HVAC and plumbing systems. Check it out here.