Owning a home brings many hours of relaxing enjoyment in a setting created for the homeowner’s enjoyment. It provides a customized space in which to spend time in private. Of course, that refers to about 99% of the time spent at home. That last single percent causes the homeowner to think, puzzling out solutions to solve the following problems, from leaky basements to weedy yards.
Once the owner addresses the issue at hand, it increases enjoyment of the home, which typically undergoes improvements. Ignoring a problem, typically compounds it, resulting in more than one problem to solve. This article considers 10 of the most common problem areas in a home and how to solve them.
Protecting Your Basement
Start home problem-solving by taking a proactive approach in the basement. Conduct a basement waterproofing project to ensure that leaks won’t develop on the lowest floor of the home. Waterproofing doesn’t last forever, so even if the previous owners indicated they waterproofed, expect to need to do it while you reside there.
Consider adding a liner to the basement walls and flooring. Use sealant on any concrete after repairing any cracks in the flooring or walls. Re-caulk the entire room, especially around any windows.
Install a sump pump in the basement to stop floods from damaging the home. A sump pump removes water as it enters the area, so it cannot build up. If water never collects there, mildew and mold lose their opportunity to develop.
Addressing the Unexpected
Plan for the unexpected by identifying trustworthy professional contractors in advance. By vetting and choosing each contractor before a disaster occurs, the homeowner saves valuable time, which can prevent damage. Identify contractors to solve the following problems:
- Plumbing leaks – emergency plumbers
- Building shorts or electrical damage – electrician
- Roof damage and leaks – emergency roofer
- Fireplace and chimney maintenance – chimney sweep
- Drywall damage – general contractor
- Heat and air conditioner malfunctions, duct cleaning – HVAC service
- Driveway or walkway cracks and breaks – mason
- Fallen trees, sick trees – arborist and tree removal.
Compile this list, print it out, and place it on the refrigerator door, so everyone in the household can quickly find who to call in which emergency.
Repairing Existing Equipment
Today’s homes come with some pretty cool features, but even smart homes experience equipment malfunctions. Most equipment breakdowns exceed the knowledge of the most experienced DIYers. Solve the following problems with home repair professionals.
One of the most common repair needs stems from the garage door. In some areas, hail does damage to them, but some garage doors need repairs due to age. Hire a professional in automatic garage door repairs to fix issues like dented doors, worn ball bearings, and bent tracks.
Other equipment that came with the house may also need repairs soon after a move-in. Consult the purchase documents of the home to determine when to replace washers, dryers, water heaters, dishwashers, etc. Most of these appliances last about 15 years, except dishwashers, which wear out in about nine years.
Sometimes, removing things from the yard or home improves its habitability. Landscaping requires dead tree removal and weed control, for example. Removing fallen trees and tree branches improves the appearance of the yard and can reduce insects.
Most cities provide refuse removal, but in rural areas, the homeowner may need to haul it to a nearby landfill or contract with a private company for removal. Cleaning the yard by removing derelict items can spiff up curb appeal quickly. Rake leaves and use them with kindling to build fires in the home’s fireplace. When contained in an outdoor fire pit or fireplace, burn leaves outdoors to enjoy a fall bonfire; toast s’mores and hotdogs for a fun meal.
Some removal issues require a heartier approach. Solve the following problems related to large item removal with ingenuity and an entrepreneurial mind. For example, in rural areas, overgrown brush requires brush removal, perhaps using a brush hog. Consult a tree removal specialist for stump removal.
Purchasing a previously owned property can result in needing derelict vehicle removal. This project might include removing old cars, trucks, tractors, RVs, and trailers. Selling these items for scrap can result in a break-even or slightly profitable endeavor, depending on the cost of a tow truck to the scrap or junkyard.
Managing Seasonal Concerns
Homes require seasonal maintenance to prepare them for the weather changes. Without these preparations, the home may not provide a normal comfort level and it might undergo damage. Solve the following problems before they occur with seasonal maintenance.
Damage to a traditional cement foundation can stem from water runoff from the roof. Hiring a roofing professional for gutter leaf guard installation before the start of autumn’s leaf falling can stave off foundation damage. This also helps preserve the home’s roof.
Check the working order of air conditioners before using them in spring and heaters before using them in fall. For homes with central heat and air conditioning, hire an HVAC professional to conduct maintenance on the system. Every 30 to 60 days, change the HVAC system’s air filter.
Homes with a fireplace need a chimney sweep to clean it before the homeowner uses it for the winter. Sweeping the chimney requires special equipment. The process removes debris, dead and living animals nesting in the chimney, and carcinogens. Typically, this fireplace pro also checks the firebox in the fireplace and any starter mechanism, such as a quick-start gas fireplace.
Why eat at the same pizzeria every meal out? The treat of dining out can result in new favorites, so experiment with the eateries visited. Even those new to a town can find terrific restaurants using the many online ratings websites. Peruse Uber Eats, Grub Hub, and similar sites even if you plan to dine in the café.
Delivery websites reveal how much a restaurant cares about its customers who can’t stroll from their table to the maître d’ to complain because they’re not in the restaurant. Although many people argue that the ambiance and service make an eatery, the food plays the most important part. The owner of every successful hole-in-the-wall restaurant can attest to that fact. Beware of any café with reviews that report cold food, wrong orders, or terrible-tasting dishes.
A truly good restaurant ensures that its delivery orders taste just as perfect as those it serves in-house. Look for reviews that mention piping hot food, little extras tucked into the order bag, thoughtful wrapping of the items so nothing spilled or intermixed, and timely delivery. As long as the restaurant offers in-house dining, those reviews indicate a fine place to dine.
Avoiding Online Problems
Technically, cybersecurity issues consist of those people face everywhere, but many occur in the home today. At work, most individuals have an IT professional to consult regarding cyber security. Here’s how to solve the following problems at home:
- Device listening
- Integrating smart home appliances with home security systems
- Computer safety
- Identity theft.
Each of these issues takes a different approach, but some use the same type of professional service providers.
Device listening refers to the process of Alexa, Google Assistant, Siri, and Cortana listening for commands from authorized individuals. The problem stems from the need for these technologies to have always-on microphone access. The companies that created them can use this access illicitly. Hackers can also access the microphones by hacking these smart assistants. One simple solution is to only allow microphone access when you open the app.
Today’s smart home devices can theoretically work together. Using Alexa or Google Assistant, an individual can set up access to each component that works with the controller app. After that, speaking a command can turn on your TV and Roku, open the fireplace app, and activate your favorite fireplace. Set aside an afternoon to open the controller app and link it to smart appliances in the home.
Regarding computer safety, create unique passwords that people can not guess easily. Only use trusted websites and only open emails from known people and businesses. Report any phishing sites or emails.
Beware of identity theft because today’s thieves require little information to dupe people. Check credit card and bank statements for unusual charges and report any unrecognized charges. Report fake accounts using your own or a friend’s name and photo to the social media platform or other website on which it appears.
Preventing Health Concerns
In modern times, people have many options for preventative healthcare. Most workplace health insurance includes participation in preventative programs and wellness checkups. Leveraging these fringe benefits improves general health.
When necessary, contact hazardous waste or biohazard waste disposal services. The typical homeowner purchases products for eradicating pest problems and for spraying landscaping features with fertilizer. These items can’t go in the trash can; they require special disposal methods.
Join a gym or workout at home to prevent other health concerns. Maintaining a healthy weight and BMI ensures better health in the long run. Healthy eating also contributes to overall health.
Tackling Larger Projects
On a football team, players range in size from small, quick running backs to massive linebackers who sack the quarterback. Some home care and home improvement projects only require a hand rake or a lawnmower. Others require heavy equipment rental, such as a brush hog or bulldozer, to solve the following problems, such as leveling land or mowing down wild bushes and large weeds.
When addressing these larger issues, consider contracting with laborers to get it done more quickly. Some homeowners want the fulfillment of landscaping the yard themselves, but hiring laborers can provide extra sets of hands to accomplish large-scale tasks. In these cases, people take the place of or augment the renting of equipment.
Building a Cache of Basic Home Maintenance Tools
For serious problems, hire a pro, but for monthly or semi-annual maintenance, do it yourself. Purchase the basic tools a homeowner needs for home care. Here’s what you’ll need to solve the following problems, from falling leaves to leaky faucets.
- Weed eater
- Pruning shears
- Assortment of nails
- Hand saw
- Washers of various sizes.
Most people don’t require power tools since they hire contractors. Serious DIYers may purchase a chain saw, power screwdriver, nail gun, and staple gun.
Purchase a book on home maintenance that provides many photos and illustrations, plus step-by-step instructions. A good reference explains the meaning of words like flange and shows a picture of it. Having this handy book can solve major problems in electrical outages that wipe out Wi-Fi access temporarily. Conserve cellphone battery power and shore up any home damage using a book, a flashlight, and your toolkit.
Problem Solving and the New Homeowner
First-time homeowners may theoretically understand what goes into home care, but in practice may feel a little overwhelmed when faced with a serious issue. Finding that first trustworthy plumber, electrician, or general contractor doesn’t prove easy.
Take a deep breath and search the Internet. Better yet, start on Bob Vila’s website and search for an article from one of the most trusted professionals in construction and home restoration. Vila offers knowledgeable advice on every conceivable issue and the website offers a rich tapestry of help.
Other well-researched, straightforward home care web resources include Martha Stewart’s website and the Home Stratosphere website. Each provides actionable advice on everyday home maintenance, repair, and décor needs. Start with these resources to locate answers not addressed in this article.
Unfortunately, homes can’t yet maintain themselves. Eventually, something goes wrong with every person’s home. It’s a fact of life.
Scope out the problem. Determine its severity. Interview relevant service professionals. Hire the best possible choice and have them repair whatever broke.
A little home maintenance goes a long way. Repair damage as soon as possible, then maintain the home using this advice. Make your home, your palace by caring for it deeply.