Owning a home is infinitely rewarding but issues do pop up, and there’s no need to call a handyman every time something goes haywire. The home repair experts at HGTV suggest four things every homeowner should know how to do:
Change smoke detector batteries. Do this twice a year or anytime you hear a loud chirping. Get up on a ladder and twist the body of the unit off the bracket. If it isn’t hardwired, it will completely remove. Change the battery and twist it back in place.
Find the main water shut-off valve. If you ever come home to a flooded floor, you need to be able to shut off the water to the whole house ASAP, especially if the source of the water leak is unclear. That’s why every homeowner should know where her main shutoff valve is, and every home is different. Look near the perimeter of the house at ground level nearest your water meter. The shutoff valve might be in a basement, crawlspace, closet or garage, but should never be covered over with drywall. Look for an access panel or hose bibb (a threaded faucet.)
Change the air filters in your HVAC system. Locate your return air intake and open the door by releasing the clips at the top of the frame. The disposable filter rests just inside. Note the size and/or take it with you to the home store for comparison. Bring a stack of new filters home, slide a new one in place and close and latch the door.
Find a wall stud. If you’re hanging a picture or shelf, you need to be able to locate a wall stud to nail into for support. You can shell out the 20 bucks for a battery-powered stud finder, but there is a simple alternative. Start by locating an electrical outlet along the wall, since the receptacles are typically fastened to one side of a stud. Studs should be located every 16 inches or so, although yours may vary. Tap on the drywall—it should sound hollow as you move to the left or right. As the sound changes, that indicates where the stud is.