Owning a home can come with a lot more responsibility than renting. Instead of being able to call a landlord to handle issues around the house, it's up to you to fix them—and depending what the issue is, it can be costly. But learning a few useful tips and tricks yourself can not just help you save money and time—it can also help you develop skills and become a more confident homeowner.
Before you start, Deane Biermeier, an experienced contractor and DIY expert, recommends learning four skills that will help you accomplish almost anything around the house.
"There are just four skills to learn to become an accomplished DIYer," Biermeier says. "Those four are measuring, hammering, using a screwdriver, and cutting various materials." Once you learn those, he says, "plumbing and electrical skills will come naturally."
Meet the Expert
Deane Biermeier is a contractor and certified lead carpenter with over 25 years of experience in home remodeling, repair, and maintenance. He also runs a consulting service to help homeowners tackle their own DIY projects.
So armed with those skills, these are the DIYs that every homeowner should know.
Replacing Furnace Filters
Beginner DIYers may not want to get too involved with projects that involve furnaces or water heaters, but the one thing you should know how to do is replace furnace filters. Replacing furnace filters should be done every year. It can help keep your HVAC system in good working order and working efficiently, and as an added bonus, it also helps keep dust out of the air in your home. Whether you have furnace filters that can be cleaned or need to replace them each year with new ones, this is one of the best things you can do for your home.
"The most important DIY project in any household is to develop and follow a thorough home maintenance plan," Biermeier says. "The plan should include the home’s HVAC, electrical, and plumbing systems, as well as all of your appliances and fixtures. Inspections, filter changes, cleaning, or other tasks should all be on the to-do list."
Painting a Wall
Painting is one of the easiest DIYs you can do, and one that has the biggest impact on your home. Every homeowner should know how to paint, but there's a bit more to it than just dipping a paint brush in a can of paint and putting it on the wall. Make sure you also know how to use painter's tape to protect baseboards and other fixtures, learn the right way to use a roller or paint brush for a smooth finish, and how to choose a color that actually looks good in your space.
The most important DIY project in any household is to develop and follow a thorough home maintenance plan.
Replacing a Faucet
Whether your faucet is broken or you just want to upgrade an old and dated fixture, replacing a faucet is one of the first things you should learn as a homeowner. And this skill can help you improve your kitchen, bathroom, and even laundry room. It's also a good idea to know how to fix a leaky faucet, in case your current one can be salvaged.
Installing Wall Shelves
From the living room to the office to the bedroom, closet, and even the garage, wall shelves are a practical and attractive item storage solution for your home. Installing wall shelves can be trickier than hanging a painting, but it's something that even beginner DIYers can do. Installing wall shelves involves a few handy tools and skills, like finding the studs in a wall, using the right wall anchors for the weight of the shelf, and using a screwdriver.
"Hammering and screwdriving skills are...vital and come in handy for almost every project, from hanging a picture to building a house," says Biermeier.
Drafts can make your home too warm in summer or too cold in winter, but they can also cost you more on your heating and cooling bills. Most drafts come from windows and doors in your home, and sealing them up is a great skill to know. Depending on where the draft is, there are a few options: installing weatherstripping, using gap filler, and caulking gaps are all efficient and simple ways to keep your home draft-free.
Hammering and screwdriving skills are vital and come in handy for almost every project from hanging a picture to building a house.
Fixing a Running or Clogged Toilet
A running or clogged toilet is a common issue every homeowner will face, probably more than once. So instead of calling a plumber every time it happens, learn how to troubleshoot these issues yourself. Fixing a clogged toilet is relatively simple most of the time if you have a good plunger and know the right method. Fixing a running toilet is a bit trickier as it can require taking apart some of the toilet—depending on the issue—but it's still easy enough for beginners.
Unclogging a Drain
Much like clogged toilets, clogged drains can also be a common issue for homeowners—especially if you've moved into an older house where the previous owners weren't careful about what they put down the drain. From the kitchen sink to the bathroom sink and even the shower, knowing how to unclog a drain will really benefit you in the long run and save you from spending money on or waiting for a plumber.