November Home Maintenance To-Do List

Smoke detector
It’s better to be safe than sorry, so go ahead and test your smoke detector once a month to make sure it does its job.

To-Do #6: Test Smoke and CO AlarmsWith cold weather arriving and furnaces and fireplaces cranking up, this is a good time to test your smoke and carbon monoxide (CO) detectors to make sure they’re functioning properly.

Press and hold the “test” button on the smoke or CO detector to make sure the alarm goes off. Replace the batteries if the alarm doesn’t work, or if the batteries are more than a year old, then test again.

Be sure to write the date the battery was replaced on the battery or on a piece of tape stuck to the back of the alarm. It’s also a good idea to blow out smoke and CO alarms with canned air periodically to remove dust. Also, be sure to replace any alarms that are over than 10 years.

Check out our article on Fire Safety for Your Home to find out more.

Applying silicone caulk to a bathtub
Apply silicone caulk to a bathtub, as needed, to keep it looking great. (DepositPhotos)

To-Do #7: Check and Repair Bathtub Caulk

Last, but not least, head into the bathroom to give a little attention to the caulk around the bathtub. When the caulk gets cracked or falls out, water can get behind the tub and cause water damage to your home’s framing, as well as mold growth.

Inspect the caulk around your tub. If it’s worn or cracked (or stained and unsightly), it’s time to replace it, here’s how.

How To Replace Bathtub Caulk

  • Use a putty knife or chisel to scrape out and remove the existing caulk, being careful not to scratch your bathtub.
  • Use diluted bleach in a spray bottle to kill any mold or mildew growing in or around the tub joint.
  • Dry the crack completely with a hairdryer.
  • Apply a bead of 100% silicone caulk to the joint between the tub and surround. Be sure not to overdo it, a narrow bead of caulk looks better than a wide one!
  • Smooth out the caulk by misting caulk with denatured alcohol, or dipping your finger in mineral spirits, and running your finger along the caulk bead. For best results, smooth the entire bead with one stroke. Be sure to put on disposable gloves first!

For more information, check out our video on How To Caulk Around a Tub.

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  1. Love your show and website!!

    Please see what you can do about fixing the website, so that when you select a video, it doesn’t take you back to the first set of videos to select.

    Keep up the great work. I’ve actually taken care of somethings around the house on my own.

    Sara in Abilene

  2. Have you ever seen a squirrel eat wood framing on a home? I have one eating the decorative trim around my front door near the entrance. I filled in the hole he chewed last year but he’s returned again this year to eat the same area again. We’ve tried pepper sprays and preparations put on the wood. Help! Why is he eating the wood?

  3. I’ve used this for unclogging the disposal when necessary, but never thought of refreshing or cleaning it with this method. Thanks

  4. This is actually a really good list! Very helpful, thank you. I always have done an old school trick I learned from my mother, which is put half a lemon in the garbage disposal and turn it on. It makes it smell great the whole day:).

  5. Love your show, it comes on in our area (Huntsville) VERY early but I do wake to see it every Saturday morning. Your knowledge and experience, and your very educational way to remedy problems around the home are very useful and believe me, we use them a LOT!! You give homeowners great and useful education, and the courage to tackle what they can and the knowledge to hire a professional if they cant! Would that we all be so handy or as in your daughter’s case, creative. Many good ideas from your daughter on decorating as well!!

  6. The tip about using dry graphite in a lock set is a great one. A lot of people use the good old spray lubricant, not knowing that it gums up any existing dust/dirt already in the lock thus making it more difficult over time to turn the key.

  7. In our Kitchen Sink Faucet the aerator is broken off in the spout. It is broken off even with spout and I can’t seem to get it out with pliers, etc.
    Can you give me a tip on how to get it out. I am going to replace it with
    a new one.


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