Forget the Handyman: 5 Easy Tasks Every Homeowner Can Handle

Jun 13, 2014

The floors creak, the dishwasher leaks and the roof could use replacing. As a homeowner, you’ll run into a number of home improvement tasks—no matter what type of home you live in. While some jobs are too tough to tackle on your own, you don’t need a handyman for every home maintenance task. You can easily handle these five projects yourself.

1.       Read your electricity meter. Although your utility is responsible for reading your electricity meter, it’s important for you to know how to do the job too. Monitoring your energy consumption each month can give you an idea of what your electricity bill will cost and perhaps even motivate you to save energy.

Some utilities can’t make it out to every home to read every meter each month. Instead, they estimate your energy consumption and bill you accordingly. Later, when a meter reader has a chance to record your actual energy consumption, the utility will make adjustments to your bill to ensure you’re not paying too little or too much for your energy. However, if you want to make sure your energy expense is accurate, the best thing to do is to read your meter each month. Not sure what to do? Check out this short video to learn how to read your meter.

 2.       Fix a leaky toilet. A toilet that leaks can waste hundreds of gallons of water and increase your water bill. It’s important to stop the leak as soon as possible, however, there’s no need to call a plumber. Most toilet leaks are a quick fix. One of the most common problems is the toilet chain. If it’s too short it can keep the flapper, or stopper valve, from closing completely and allow water to leak. On the other hand, if the chain is too long, it can get caught underneath the flapper, causing a small leak. Alternatively, you may just have a dirty flapper that needs to be cleaned or replaced. If those quick fixes don’t work, here’s a simple guide to help you repair a larger problem.

 3.       Maintain your air conditioner. Heating and cooling represent more than 50 percent of the average home’s electricity bill. If you’re looking to save on air conditioning costs, its import to maintain your AC so it stays efficient. You should replace the air filters in your home regularly—every three months or sooner. Keeping the filter clean helps keep your ducts clean and ensures the unit works efficiently. It’s also important to clean the actual air conditioner. At least once a year, clean off any leaves, dirt or other debris that has built up on the unit.

 4.       Caulk around windows. Even when your air conditioner is working as efficiently as possible, there could be air leaks around your windows that waste your expensive cooling efforts. A quick and inexpensive solution is to caulk these problem areas. Examine the window frames for areas where caulk has dried and cracked. Fill these areas in with new caulk to prevent air leaks.

While caulking is an excellent short-term solution to energy waste, you might want to consider replacing your windows for more energy efficient options. ENERGY STAR-labeled windows are twice as efficient as windows manufactured 10 years ago.

 5.       Install a programmable thermostat. A programmable thermostat is the ultimate energy-saving gadget. By replacing your outdated thermostat with a programmable version, you’ll be able to program heating and cooling to fit your schedule and save the most money. More advanced models can even learn your heating and cooling habits and adjust automatically to optimize for energy savings. Although it may seem like an unnecessary expense, a programmable thermostat could save you more than $180 a year. Installing one is easy, just follow these steps

This article was written by SaveOnEnergy.com. 

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