Even if you’re renting, it’s in your best interest to keep your (temporary) home in as good of a condition as possible. Of course, you can call up the landlord each time something needs to be fixed, but in that case, regular maintenance won’t be that regular.
Luckily, there are things you can fix yourself. If you’re a proud owner, then these quick fixes will certainly save up quite a portion of your homeowner budget that would go for professional labour otherwise.
Have a read of some of these quick fixes:
1 – Dripping Taps & Leaking Pipes
Not only is this issue extremely annoying, but depending on the size of the drip, it can easily add up to 20,000 liters to your water bill annually.
In the case of a dripping tap, all you need to do is to replace the washer. To reach it, unscrew the handle, then the packing nut, and then the valve stem. After you remove the valve stem, you have access to the washer, so replace it and reassemble the whole thing.
If you’re dealing with the leaking pipe under the sink, you need to twist off the compression nut. But make sure to have a bucket ready underneath since some nasty stuff will almost certainly fall out.
If you notice that the compression nut is loose or broken, then that was the issue, so replace it and screw it back into the wall. The other possibility is that you need to replace a worn-out washer, or simply rinse out the curved pipe known as P-trap.
Of course, the first step in both cases is to turn off the water, so having proper valves in your home will prevent any serious leaking issues.
2 – Hidden Blades & Nasty Drains
Sometimes, we’re simply put off by quite simple issues. For example, if you have a garbage disposal and it gets jammed, we immediately start to imagine all kinds of scary things lurking between the hidden blades and making all those bad noises.
But after you cut the power, it’s perfectly safe to reach the bottom of the unit with an Allen wrench and place it in the hex socket. You’ll adjust the flywheel inside simply by rotating the wrench, which will loosen anything that’s jammed inside. And, if something remains near the top, you can reach and remove it with pliers.
Also, toilet drains aren’t’ necessarily scary, but they might lean toward the ‘nasty’ part of the homeowner’s job, so we can easily get an impression there’s a lot of dirty work required to unclog them.
But the truth is, you simply need to submerge the toilet plunger and a couple of good old downward thrusts will do the job. If the plunger fails you, it means you’re dealing with a bigger clog so replace it with an auger. After its end reaches the clog, simply start turning the crank. A good grip is all it takes.
3 – Holes in the Walls
First of all, we need to point out that we’re not talking about big holes or cracks that look like they’ve appeared right out of some gothic novel about a haunted mansion. Those are in the realm of structural problems so they should be examined by professionals.
The holes we’re talking about are those from nails or screws in the gib which can be fixed cheaply and easily.
First, you need to remove all the debris – use the vacuum cleaner and wipe down the wall afterward. Then use the putty knife to press some selly’s or similar into the holes. You want it nice and flat, so use fine-grain sandpaper to sand it down after it dries. If there are a lot of small holes in close proximity, you may also need a new coat of paint.
There are also small holes and cracks around your doors and windows that are not eyesores but can cause draft and heat loss during winter. Some simple caulking and weatherstripping will take care of them and your AC bills at the same time.
4 – Light Switches
Electricity is something you shouldn’t tamper with without experience, but if you make sure there’s no electricity in the wires, you can replace a light switch without any risk.
Keep in mind that electricity can remain in the wires even when the power is off, so always use a voltage tester to check. The replacement process is quite simple: remove the faceplate, unscrew the switch, and connect the wires to the new one. (We don’t need to mention you need to match them in the same colour!)
As you can see, all the issues on this list are minor ones and the fixes are quick, but that’s what regular maintenance is all about. And yes, although they may seem insignificant, the cost of professional labour can pile up in no time.
Helpful and interesting info from Paul, and Harcourts to help you with your property journey.