You might be single, divorced, married to someone who'd rather not be bothered by home maintenance tasks or a newly minted Chico homeowner.
But you're a woman, and you're also thrifty. While you don't necessarily seek to become a “home Jedi master,” you'd settle for knowing how to capably address some common tasks that can save you a significant amount of money over the long term.
You're determined to learn, and the Experts are determined to teach. So begin your learning curve with what we'll call “the dirty dozen” list of home maintenance tasks that every enterprising woman should master – and why:
1) Learn How to Turn Off the Gas
You may never have to touch your shut-off valve. But in case of an emergency – a natural disaster, an accident or if you smell gas – you may need to turn off the gas in a hurry.
2) Learn Where Your Electrical Panel is Located and How it is Organized
The electrical panel should be clearly labeled so that it's easy to trace how each breaker (point A) controls the electricity in which room or rooms (point B). Call the electricians at Experts in Your Home if your panel is poorly labeled or shows signs of disrepair.
3) Learn How to Reset a Circuit Breaker
An overloaded circuit or power outage can interrupt your electrical power; knowing how to reset (or “trip”) the breaker will make the interruption only a fleeting inconvenience.
4) Learn How to Shut Off Your Home's Water Supply at the Main Valve
You may never have to touch this valve, either. But you'll be glad you know how to turn off the water if a pipe bursts and turning the valve is the only way to stop a deluge of water.
5) Learn How to Stop a Leaking or Running Toilet
It may be noisy, silent or only slightly visible as a trickle from the rim to the bowl, but a toilet leak can waste more than 200 gallons of water per day. The problem – a stuck flapper, a stuck chain or worn-out parts – usually points up the solution.
6) Learn How to Check and Replace Your Air Filter
Inspecting the filter every month is crucial to the smooth operation of your heating, ventilation and air conditioning system. You might need a new filter only every two or three months, but it pays to check it every time you pay your utility bill.
7) Learn How to Adjust the Temperature On Your Water Heater
It should be set at 120 degrees to provide heat but prevent scalding, reduce the buildup of corrosion and keep your energy bill in check.
8) Learn How to Apply Caulk and Install Weather-Stripping
Doors and windows are prime sources of air leaks in any home, and sealing them properly also can add up to significant yearly savings.
9) Learn How to Provide Basic Home Maintenance to Your Kitchen and Laundry Room Appliances
Few people enjoy reading instruction manuals, so skip to the “maintenance” section to ensure your appliances perform as they should and outlast the manufacturers' projections.
10) Learn How to Use a Stud Finder
Boards are usually spaced 16 or 24 inches apart, and running a stud finder over a wall will help you identify them so that you can securely hang pictures, mirrors and shelves.
11) Learn How to Properly Hang Pictures, Mirrors and Shelves
After skillfully using a stud finder, you'll want to take your learning curve over the bend and ensure that you use the right tools for every task.
12) Learn How to do Painting Touch-Ups
It helps enormously to keep paint cans (and label them). Paint is easy to apply, so if you make a mistake, simply start over.
As the Experts in Your Home team knows, mistakes are part of every home maintenance learning curve. Try to expect them and learn from them and soon you'll know exactly how to respond in a crisis, save money and bask in a sense of accomplishment. And if you hit a snag? Call the Experts – your fellow “home Jedi,” who will always have your back.