Life Style

12 Household Hints Every Homeowner Should Know

With these household hints, you may make things easier and save a lot of time.

1. A Leaking Water Heater is a Time Bomb

Water heaters sometimes leak from the drain valve or relief valve. Those valves are easy to replace. But if a leak is coming from the tank, you’ve got serious trouble. The tank is lined with a thin coat of glass. Eventually, that glass begins to crack, the steel begins to rust away and a puddle appears. Left alone, the tank will rupture, causing an instant flood. It may take months for a leak to become a flood, or it may take days. But it will happen. Don’t gamble. Replace that leaking time bomb now.

2. Make Your Furnace Last

Regular filter replacement is the very best thing you can do to keep your furnace in top condition. And here’s a way to keep track of that task: Buy several filters and label them. With some systems, monthly filter changes are best. Others can go a few months between changes.

3. Don’t Squish Ants

Place liquid ant bait stations in areas where you’ve seen ants, like under the sink and along walls, to make it as easy as possible for the ants to take the toxic bait back to the nest. Expect to see more ants (initially) when you set out the bait. That’s a good thing. It means more ants are taking the bait back to the colony where they’ll share it with the rest of the ants, including the queen.

4. How to Flush the Toilet When the Power’s Out: Flush With a Bucket

Even if a power outage stops your good pump or the city water supply, you can still flush the toilet. Dump a couple of gallons into the bowl or fill the toilet tank. This works just as well as the usual flush, but won’t refill the bowl.

5. Shut Off the Water Before Vacation

Every insurance adjuster has a hundred stories like this one: The homeowners left town Friday and returned Sunday evening to find thousands of dollars in water damage. The moral of these stories is simple: Before going on vacation, turn off the main water valve. In less than a minute, you can eliminate the most common cause of home damage.

6. Locate Your Main Water Shutoff Valve

In warm climates, the main water shutoff is typically outside, attached to a wall or underground. In colder climates, the main water shutoff is typically in the basement. There is also a “curb stop” shutoff that requires a special tool to operate.

7. Synthetic Soap Makes Less Scum

Synthetic soaps make cleaning your shower or bath easier because they don’t contain the ingredients that create tough soap scum. Any liquid or gel soap is synthetic. Most bar soaps are standard soaps. But a few, including Zest and Ivory, are synthetic.

8. Don’t Leave the Remote In Your Car

A thief who breaks into your car can grab the remote for easy access to your garage. This isn’t just a problem when your car is parked in the driveway; the registration card in your glove box gives a crook your address. So get rid of the remote on your visor and buy a keychain model. You can easily take it with you every time you leave the car. Home centers stock only a small selection of remotes, but you’ll find many more online.

9. Squeeze-Tube Caulk is Trouble

Squeeze tubes are convenient. But if you need to lay a neat, even bead of caulk, use a caulk gun instead. With a squeeze tube, it’s difficult to produce a steady flow. And that means a lumpy bead.

10. Choose Colors That Work Now And Later

Neutral colors—shades of white, gray, or beige—are a wise choice for fixtures, like toilets, tile, tubs, and countertops, that are not easy to change. They don’t provide much drama, but you can add pizzazz with paint or simple, inexpensive accents like rugs or pottery. And as trends change, you can update the look without costly remodeling.

11. Galvanized Pipes Get Plugged

If you have galvanized steel pipes in your home and low water flow at faucets, chances are the pipes are to blame. Galvanized pipe is prone to mineral buildup, which eventually chokes off the water flow. The example shown here isn’t unusual; any veteran plumber has seen much worse cases. Complete replacement of the water supply pipes is the best cure, but you can often improve flow a lot just by replacing exposed horizontal sections.

12. Deal with Drainage

Water has the potential to cause problems in any home, and the skills to deal with drainage issues can be a huge money saver in the long run. Extending downspouts is an easy fix, but knowing how to make a drainage plan is going to provide long-term results for minimal effort.

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