Home Ownership 101

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Owning and maintaining a home isn’t that hard if you know the basics. Here’s our crash course on everything from caring for your deck and lawn to replacing a faucet and fixing your toilet.

Deck Maintenance

To keep your deck looking good requires periodic maintenance. Here’s how to go about it:

    • Clean Deck: A pressure washer can be used to clean your deck if you’re careful not to damage the wood, but a deck cleaner—such as Flood Wood Cleaner—works great and is easy to use.
    • Repair Deck: Once the deck is clean and dry, set any protruding nails and sand rough surfaces.
  • Stain Deck: Apply a high quality stain to seal the wood and keep moisture out with either a pump up sprayer or roller. Back-brush the wet stain to force it into the grain.

Find out more at How to Clean and Finish a Wood Deck.

Lawn Maintenance

Here are some tips to improve your lawn:

    • Mower Blade: Keep the blade on your lawn mower sharp so that it cuts rather than shreds the grass. Have two blades, so you’ll always have a sharp one ready when you need it.
    • Mower Height: Set your mower height to cut no more than 1/3 of the grass blade to keep from scalping your lawn.
    • Mower Speed: Set the throttle on high, but keep the speed control at a moderate pace.
  • Mower Clippings: Mulching requires less work and helps return nutrients to the soil while bagging gives your lawn a spotless manicured look.

Find out more at Lawn Mower Maintenance.

Vinyl Siding and Gutter Maintenance

To protect vinyl siding and gutters from sun damage, apply a UV protectant like Armor All. Simply spray it on and wipe off the excess to restore shine and provide protection from harmful UV rays.

Kitchen and Bathroom Maintenance

These are the two rooms in your house that require the most maintenance.

Clean Shower

Showers are a magnet for soap scum. To reduce build up:

    • Apply automotive paste wax to fiberglass shower walls after cleaning.
  • Use automotive windshield rain repellent on glass shower doors after cleaning.

Repair Toilet

Replacing the rubber flapper valve in the bottom of the tank will often stop a toilet from running. Here’s how to go about it:

    1. Turn the cut-off valve under the toilet to turn off the water.
    1. Flush the toilet to drain the tank.
    1. Remove the old flapper valve at the bottom of the tank.
    1. Attach the new flapper valve.
  1. Connect and adjust the chain to the handle.

Find out more at How to Repair a Toilet.

Replace Kitchen Faucet

Here’s how to go about replacing the faucet in your kitchen:

    1. Clean out the cabinet under the sink.
    1. Gather the tools and supplies needed (faucet, paper towels, bucket, flashlight, wrenches, pipe thread tape).

    1. Turn off the water at cut-off valves under the sink.
    1. Use wrench to remove supply lines.
    1. Use wrench to remove nuts securing faucet in place.
    1. Clean the sink under the faucet.
    1. Attach the new faucet following provided instructions.
    1. Wrap male pipe threads with pipe thread tape.
    1. Reattach the supply lines to cut-off valves.
  1. Turn on water and check for leaks.

Find out more at How to Install a Kitchen Sink Faucet.

Bathroom Vent Fan

To clean and oil a bathroom vent fan:

    1. Remove the cover from the vent fan.
    1. Vacuum out the fan motor, blades, and housing.
    1. Lubricate the fan motor with silicone spray.
  1. Reattach the fan cover to the housing.

Remove Sediment

To remove sediment and mineral deposits from plumbing:

    • Drain hot water tank once a year.
    • Remove and clean faucet aerators regularly.
  • Turn water off at street, remove aerator from faucet on far side of house, turn on faucet, turn water on at street to blast out any deposits in the lines.

Clean Dryer Vent

Lint build up in clothes dryer vents is responsible for thousands of home fires a year. To reduce the chance of a dryer fire, it’s important to clean the lint filter and vent pipe regularly. To clean the vent pipe, remove the outside cover on the pipe and use a special lint brush to remove any built up lint in the pipe.

Repair Ceiling Fan

To fix a wobbling paddle ceiling fan:

    1. Check to see if the fan is securely attached to the electrical box.
    1. Make sure all the screws on the fan and blades are tight.
    1. Check for warped blades or bent metal brackets by measuring from the ceiling to the tip of each blade.
  1. If fan still wobbles, use a balancing kit to balance the blades.

Find out more at How to Stop Wobble and Vibration in a Paddle Ceiling Fan.

Other Tips from This Episode

Tip for Drying Shoes

Simple Solutions with Joe Truini:
Tip for Drying Shoes

To dry wet athletic shoes quickly, cut two 6” long pieces of coat hanger with snips or pliers, and bend them into an “S” shape with a small hook on one end and a larger one on the other. Attach the small hooks to the grill of a portable fan, hang the shoes from the wires, and turn the fan on so it blows through the shoes. (Watch This Video)

Heath Zenith Solar Powered Light

Best New Products with Jodi Marks:
Heath Zenith Solar Powered Light

The Heath Zenith Solar Powered Motion Light is a great way to add lighting to your yard without having to run wiring. Simply install the solar panel where it will receive direct sunlight, attach it to the battery pack on the 180° halogen light, and it’s ready to go. The Heath Zenith Solar Powered Motion Light is available at The Home Depot. (Watch This Video)

Free Online Reuse Network

Thinking Green with Danny Lipford:
Free Online Reuse Network

The Freecycle Network™ is a grassroots, online community with over 7,000,000 members around the world. The idea is to reuse unneeded items rather than throwing them away. Unwanted items are posted by members on the local Freecycle website and are available to other members on a first come basis. Membership and all items posted are free. (Watch This Video)


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