There's a lot to consider when it comes to house maintenance and safety. And we know it can be overwhelming, so we've decided to make it easier for you. We've gathered the most helpful advice and hacks from home service professionals to keep things efficient and secure, even in the wintertime. So whether you're moving apartments or have been in the same house for years, keep scrolling for tips and tricks that'll help your property and appliances both now and in the long run.
Keep up With Gutter Cleaning to Avoid Water Damage in the Home
If you own a single-story home and have been putting off cleaning your gutter- the task might be way easier than you think. Start by finding a ladder and a leaf blower, then use PVC pipes to extend the leaf-blower's power. The air will clear up those gutters and remove any blockage. You may want to hire an outside service if you live in a house with multiple floors.
Keeping up with gutter cleaning is crucial in maintaining a home. Otherwise, water will get blocked up and start causing unwanted damage to your home's interior.
Why You Should Check With Local Repair Shops Before Buying New Appliances
One of the best parts about moving is going to the store to choose a brand-new refrigerator or washing machine for your place. Most of the time, we tend to purchase cheaper options to save money, and although it sounds like a deal, the choice could be problematic. That's because your local repair shop might not have the parts to fix it if and when it needs fixing, which is why you should see what they cover before shopping.
Repair shops often only fix items made by certain companies, so we recommend checking in with the ones around you before choosing a new appliance. Using local repair shops tends to be cheaper, saving you money in the long run.
Always Ask for Their Company ID Before Letting in Any "Professionals"
Not everyone will come knocking on your door with good intentions, so you should always verify someone's identity when they show up, especially if they claim to work for a company. One former sales employee of security company ADT shared that people would let him into their house and even show him where important things were before even ensuring he genuinely worked for the company. So let's learn from their mistakes and ask for company ID before letting in strangers.
People knocking on your door may not always be who they claim to be, and since they already know where you live, it's best to verify precisely who they are.
Turn off All Outside Water in the Winter - And Inside if You're Traveling
Cold weather destroys pipes if certain things aren't shut off; winter's low temperatures can freeze pipes, eventually leading to them bursting. That's why you should always turn off the connection of your garden hose and any other outdoor water source before winter comes. Doing something as small as that could save you a ton of damage and money, so make sure to mark a specific day in your calendar for the task.
And if you're traveling during the winter or leaving the house for an extended period, you should shut off the indoor water pipes, too. Since they won't be running while the house is empty, they're also in danger of freezing and bursting.
Clean Your Appliances - Your Wallet Will Thank Us Later
Regularly cleaning your appliances can keep them working longer and maintain their safety. We suggest scheduling appliance-cleaning days to keep things running smoothly. For example, periodically check on any filters in your home to keep your air clean since they usually need to be changed every few months. Also, look into how to wash the machines that wash your stuff. That's right - your laundry machine and dishwasher need cleaning, too.
You probably already know that a dryer's lint filter needs to be changed every couple of loads, but did you know that a washing machine also has one? If not, you do now.
Write Down Product Details for Reference During Future Repairs
It's hard to remember the exact name and color of the paint you covered one of your walls in, and the chances are high that you didn't write it down. We don't blame you because that's a super easy thing to forget. But next time, try to write down the information about the things you are using for home improvements. This will make any future repairs much easier to do.
It's easy to forget the details of the items you're using in your home because getting caught up in the actual building or repairs and not its components are actually perfectly realistic and common.
Beware of "Negligible" Leaks - They Could Mix With Electricity and Cause Trouble
Both water and electricity can cause their own problems when they're in unwanted places in a home. So mix them together, and things could be even worse. Water often gets trapped behind walls, and that's also where electricity wires are stored. If any flooding or leaks aren't fixed, they could ultimately spark a fire if the water gets in contact with electricity. It's an all too common problem that could be easily avoided.
Water is electricity's worst nightmare, and we probably don't need to explain why at this point. The two together basically create a recipe for a very big but avoidable disaster.
Invest in a Power Washer and Make Your House Look New Again
If you don't have a power washer and you own or even rent a home, you may want to buy one after reading this. That's because they can make the outer part of your home look brand new. Siding and brick tend to gather dirt and debris due to the outside environment, so they start to look dirty and lose their natural color after a while. That's when a pressure washer can come in handy in ways you'd never expect.
Water is a great source for cleaning, but regular hoses just don't work like a power washer. All of that pressure can get things cleaner than they've ever been before.
Hide a Findable Fake Spare Key to Trick Potential Thieves
Putting a real spare key underneath your doormat is undoubtedly convenient, but you're also making it accessible to anyone wanting to break in. So we suggest keeping a fake spare under your mat. According to people who use this trick, hiding a fake key confuses potential thieves and ultimately has them running away. You could even try gluing it to the ground so they'll struggle to pick up the fake key.
Go ahead and try hiding a fake spare key in the places where anyone wanting to break in would look. You'll definitely end up throwing them off of their criminal attempt.
Always Clear Two Emergency Snow Paths
Creating the proper exit paths when it snows could seriously be lifesaving. Nobody wants to be trapped inside the house during an emergency, which could happen after a snowstorm. That's why getting out the shovel or snowblower to create an opening from your home to the street could be vital in terms of safety and security for the whole family- pets included. But why two paths, you ask?
Because you never know if whatever emergency you're running will block one of the exit paths you created. So it's safest to create a second, alternative path in a different part of the home. Doing so could be a lifesaver.
Insure Every Single Item in Your Home - And Use Great Detail
Keeping detailed notes of everything you've purchased for your home - from big appliances to simple things like a shower curtain - will help you get the most money back from your insurance following a disaster. That's because most insurance companies tend to give the lowest payout possible for the items you've lost - unless you have recorded details that show your item is more valuable than that. And there's a reason why insurance experts recommend claiming everything, even a simple shower curtain.
If your bathroom was flooded, listing everything in the insurance company report can make a difference of hundreds of dollars when it comes to the payout. The shower curtain, the hooks that held up the curtain, the soap - literally everything you spent money on adds up and can be returned.
Prevent Mold in Moist Areas With a Dehumidifier
Have you ever walked into a basement or attic with a musky smell so strong; you could practically smell the moisture? The odor is usually caused by mold growing due to humidity in the summer months, and attics and basements are susceptible to that because of their locations. A dehumidifier is a great device that keeps rooms dry and waterless, preventing the growth of mildew and decay. A dehumidifier will also guarantee that every part of your house smells great.
Persistent moisture usually leads to mold, which is a home's worst enemy. A dehumidifier can keep your home dry, meaning there will never be an inch of mold in sight.
Wait Until You're Back From Vacation to Post Photos
There's no issue with telling your immediate friends and family about the vacation you have coming up, but problems could arise if you share that on the internet. That's because some people love to take advantage of others while out of the country, putting your home at risk for robbery. It happens all the time, where criminals are on the internet trying to search for people who are about to travel before making a move.
It's perfectly normal to feel tempted to tell everyone about the super fun vacation you just booked while you're overwhelmed with excitement, but it may not be the best choice.
Always, Always, Always Check Before Touching Electricity
Being handy can come with its dangers; that's why safety precautions are always a must, especially when fixing something connected to electricity. You can do this by turning off the electrical circuit before anything else and putting on the proper gloves for the job. These two things can ensure your safety and the safety of anyone else in the house, which sounds like a good deal to us.
The last thing anyone would want to happen when fixing something is an accident involving electricity, which usually results in injury or fire.
YouTube Instruction Videos Will Be Your New Best Friend
Instructional videos on YouTube can work wonders when building or fixing things. Did you just buy a brand-new desk? Chances are, somebody else did, too - and they probably made a video about it. Is your fridge leaking on the inside? There's a high chance you can fix the problem without a professional if you just YouTube it. Things aren't always that complicated - we just lack knowledge, but Youtube doesn't.
In our modern day and age, you can practically become an expert in anything by watching a few YouTube videos every once in a while, so go ahead and watch those instructional videos.
Prevent Winter Drafts From Coming in Through Door Cracks
Whether you love winter or prefer summer, each season certainly comes with quite a few difficulties. Keeping your home nice and warm during the colder months can be difficult if you don't have central heating. An easy way to help with this is by cutting up some pool noodles and putting them underneath your doors. It's effortless to do and could even save you money on heating.
With Winter comes the cold, which means your front door might carry a draft that will eventually lower the temperature in your home; a pool noodle can really help with that.
"Beware of Dog" Signs Actually Work
There's no denying that big dogs can be pretty scary, and pictures of them work just as well. "Beware of dog signs" are usually put up to keep unwanted people away, and they can do so regardless of whether you actually have a dog. We know this because a former troublemaker admitted that a "beware of dog sign" always discouraged them from trespassing on properties, even if he never saw the actual animal.
"Alarm systems aren't enough, as pretty much nobody bothers arming them," he explained. "A Beware of Dog sign, even if you don't have a dog, clearly indicates that this house is not easy prey, and the trespassers will move on."
Keep a Good and Unexpected Hiding Spot
People tend to hide valuable items and essential documents in prominent places like a safe or lockbox, but that might not be the best idea. That's because those are the places that robbers tend to break into first, knowing fully well that the only thing that goes into a safe is something worth stealing. The person who gave this tip had their house burglarized by a friend but managed to save themselves because their safe was in their dirty laundry bin.
Covering up your hiding spot with something as simple as dirty clothes could save you from a damaging robbery, so it seems best to hide things in unexpected places.
Keep Your Icy Driveway Safe Using Cat Litter
If your driveway is super slippery due to ice, and you're looking to save money by not purchasing salt, you might want to look into cat litter. It's a great alternative and can prevent you and your family from falling on the ice. It's a great way to save a ton of money in the winter months, so you can sit back and relax while knowing that nobody will fall anytime soon.
An icy driveway can be a hazard, and most people turn to special salt when it comes to keeping their driveways slip-free- but cat litter is cheaper and works just as well.
Don't Just Have an Extinguisher - Make Sure Everyone Knows How to Use It
Many of us have fire extinguishers at home, but let's be honest, how many of us actually know how to use them? Being able to act quickly makes a big difference in an emergency, so it's worthwhile for all household members to learn how to use one. After pulling the pin, spray at the fire's base, not the flames. Doing so will prevent the fire from spreading.
Keeping it in an easy-to-reach location could also make a big difference because, during an emergency, every second counts. Proper education and acting fast could determine the outcome of a fire.
Sign up for a Credit Card That Comes With Home Improvement Benefits
Chances are, you own a credit card, but there could actually be a better one out there for you if you're interested in an upgrade. Credit cards are super convenient, and many companies provide services and benefits. Some offer points or discounts towards traveling, and others give moneyback after purchasing home improvement stuff. If you have a basic card, consider moving to a better service to start getting rewards.
A good credit card could save you money while offering tons of long-term benefits. They often even offer insurance and protection when buying expensive products like electronics or home appliances.
Grease Your Shovel for Easier Winter-Time Cleaning
Are you always tasked with clearing your driveway in the Winter months? If so, then you know that shoveling can be exhausting and not always easy. Sometimes, snow will stick to the shovel, creating a wintry mess. Next time, try spraying it with some cooking oil spray. It will prevent anything from sticking to your shovel so that it will effortlessly glide through the snow without causing any frustration on your end.
We would never have thought that cooking spray could make a snow shovel just as smooth as a cooking pan, but apparently, this works and can make shoveling so much easier.
Keep All Your Manuals/instructions Together in One Place
Almost every appliance comes with an instruction manual, and it's perfectly natural to want to throw it into the trash once you're done setting it up. Unfortunately, things happen, and those same appliances might have some issues down the road. That's when you'll be wishing you had saved the manual, which is why we recommend creating a designated location. That's so that you can easily find them and will never have to look for a manual again.
Having a designated drawer for all your manuals and instructions could be helpful because you'll never know when you'll have to look for a specific one.
These DIY Space Heaters Will Save You Tons of Money
Did you know that making your own heater to stay warm in the Winter is actually pretty easy? The only equipment you need to put one together is a fire source and a cover that also acts as a funnel, directing the heat to the surface. You could place some small candles inside fireproof bowls before putting some ceramic pots on top, making sure that there is a hole big enough to let the heat escape.
Enormous heaters aren't always affordable, which is where these tiny ones come in handy. You could even place one in every room, and nobody would seem to notice the difference.
Easily Clean Your Fan With This Technique
Ceiling fans can be a pain to clean because they're super hard to reach, but that doesn't mean that getting it done is impossible. Lots of people decide to skip the chore just because of the difficulty. Mainly because a regular duster will make everything fall onto the ground; next time, use a pillowcase. It will trap and hold all of the dust that gathers into it, preventing you from having to clean up another mess.
Fans tend to build up dust and debris due to their location, which means all that dust will fall onto you if you don't take the time to clean them.
Wait for Black Friday to Buy All Those Home Improvement Gadgets
Home improvement isn't for everyone, and most people prefer to hire outside services to have them work on their homes. Although fixing things on your own could save you a ton of money, acquiring the needed tools could be expensive. That cost might not make building your dresser worth it, so you should keep your eye on deals throughout the year. For example, Black Friday is a perfect time to buy those building essentials.
If you're into home improvement and consider yourself a handy person, then you probably know that buying the right equipment to get the job done can end up being costly.
Always Check on Random Water Sounds
Floods are actually super common, both in houses as well as apartment standard buildings. Sometimes, neighbors will accidentally leave their water running which will eventually spread into where you might be living. Running water has a particular sound, and if you ever randomly hear it, you should definitely check to make sure that everything is okay. Water incidents happen all of the time, so creating awareness can prevent any potential floods.
There's nothing more disastrous than a flood, which is why if you suddenly hear rushing water, it's essential to make sure that nothing is leaking to prevent some serious damage.
Don't Cheap Out on This - Hire Well-Known, Trusted Inspectors
Some people will hire any inspector they find before putting a downpayment on the house, but that could come with its issues. Well-trained and authorized home inspectors to tend to be much more reliable and trusted, which can be important when it comes to something as life-changing as buying a house. Using a recommended house inspector can give you one less thing to worry about during a stressful move, ensuring that things are safe in your brand-new place.
Inspectors are usually called in before buying a new home to ensure everything is okay and up to safety regulations. Hiring one with good ratings could save you from future issues.
Pick up After Your Dog to Keep Your Home's Grass Healthy
Dog waste can actually end up killing your grass if it's left in the same place for an extended amount of time. To keep things as fresh as possible, cleaning up after your dog can be great for your lawn health if they're using your backyard as a toilet. Another way to avoid this would be by taking your dog for long walks, where the backyard is reserved explicitly for nothing more than playtime.
Picking up after your dog after they do their bathroom duties might not necessarily be a fun thing, but it can really keep your backyard smelling as fresh and clean as possible.
Keeping a High-Quality Tool Kit Around Will Save You Time and Money
Living life without worrying about having to fix the things in your home is certainly easy, but making sure you have the right tools when issues arise could be beneficial for many reasons. Getting items replaced can be very expensive, which is why being able to fix the most minor things could help. For example, fixing your own refrigerator if something breaks instead of hiring a mechanic could be so much cheaper and will save you in the long run.
Keeping a high-quality tool kit around can help prevent you from paying a hefty bill to get those things fixed by someone else if you don't have other right tools.
Sometimes, You Just Gotta Call the Professionals
You might feel tempted to handle everything on your own, especially if you've recently bought a house or have moved into a new apartment. That's because working on your own could save money and time, but it may not always be safe. Having a professional work on the more dangerous stuff like electricity and water could actually be the more innovative option. It might not be cheap, but safety and security always come first.
Not everything in life is easy, which means there's no reason to feel embarrassed or ashamed when asking for help. Sometimes, assistance may even be the best option depending on the task.
Take Advantage of the Winter Sun to Bring Down Your Heating Bill
After a snowfall, there are often clear and sunny skies on the horizon. If you think the inside of your home is freezing, try opening up all the blinds to let whatever sunbeams there are shine through. The sun might not feel super hot, but that doesn't mean that there isn't some heat transfer going on. It might not turn your place into a sauna, but this small move could really make an improvement.
The Winter sun might not be as hot as it is in the Summer, but it can still provide enough heat to significantly warm up your home if you let it.
Save Money by Being Your Own Painter - It's Easier Than It Looks
Choosing to paint your walls could save you so much money as opposed to hiring a professional painter, and it can come out just as good. When it comes to painting, it's common to think that the brush needs to be dripping in the paint for it to be able to thoroughly coat the wall. Actually, it's better to apply thinner layers instead of thicker ones in order to keep your wall looking even and smooth.
Most people worry about creating imperfections when choosing to paint the walls of their homes, but painting a wall with a single color is actually kind of hard to mess up.
Always Save Money for a Rainy Day
Since the market is always fluctuating, so are jobs, and although you might feel secure in yours, things can change at any moment. That's why a savings account reserved for emergencies can be lifesaving, especially if you have a family. There's nothing more important than ensuring the safety and security of your loved ones, and that security normally starts with finances. Thankfully, these can be super easy to start; all you need to do is get in contact with a bank.
A savings account is always a good idea, even if you've been working a long-term job and feel secure. Unfortunately, anything can happen, which is why having money aside could be good.
Walking Safely on Slippery Ice
The hardest part of Winter is traveling to places when the ground is frozen over. Whether it's to your car or your neighbor's house, you might find yourself slipping and sliding all the way to your final destination. There's a simple way to help you safely get across the ice; all it requires is a little balance. Start walking with your hands behind your back while gliding from side to side- almost like you're on ice skates.
Walking on ice can certainly be tricky, but sometimes we don't really have a choice. Staying balanced can help prevent falling, which could be super dangerous if you get injured.