If you have recently become a homeowner or moved into a new, unfamiliar space, it is easy for home maintenance tasks to feel overwhelming, maybe even more so when it seems they should be simple. But you don’t know what you don’t know, and gaining these skills will bring you DIY confidence and save you time and money before calling a professional. Every homeowner should know these basic tasks below for deep cleaning, maintenance, and quick fixes to common issues. If you’re just moving in, ask a family member, neighbor, or friend to walk you through potential issues of which you might not be aware. When looking for how-tos online, YouTube videos from reputable sources such as hardware stores can also be helpful.


Knowing how to care for and clean the different areas of your home will keep it enjoyable and comfortable. Everything in your home will last longer and stay brighter, fresher, and smell better with some regular cleaning. Here are some deep clean-ing tasks to attend to at least once or twice a year.

Clean sink drains with soap, boiling water, vinegar, and baking soda to keep them fresh and unclogged. For a clogged drain, start with a squirt of dish soap followed by an almost full kettle of boiling water. Next, funnel in a cup of baking soda followed by a cup of vinegar. After five minutes of fizzing, use another two cups of boiling water to flush it out. Try weekly soap and boiling water cleanses to avoid clogs.

It’s hard to make cleaning the garbage disposal look cute, but if you pause for a moment, you can find beauty anywhere. Shutterstock

Clean your garbage disposal with one of the following methods:

• Sprinkle baking soda, wait 30 minutes, then add vinegar and rinse with water.
• Grind citrus peels to freshen up the smell.
• Use ice and salt to clean off any sticky residue.

Clean dryer vents safely by disconnecting the power, using a brush kit, and then vacuuming the vents. These steps can prevent a dryer fire and reduce your electric bill when it is running more efficiently. Ideally, get to this task every other month.


Each appliance and system in your home needs regular maintenance. Here are some tasks you can do to keep your home running efficiently and safely.

Change air filters every 30 days to six months, depending on the quality of the filter. This will improve your heating and air conditioning system’s efficiency and improve the air quality. Remove or open the grill to determine what size and model filter you will need. After removing the old filter, replace it with a new one following the instructions.

Basic irrigation maintenance includes turning on the system in the spring and running it through the cycle to check for issues. Then, to winterize the system in the fall, turn off the water supply, drain the system, and add insulation if you live in a climate with freezing temperatures. Ready to take on more complicated tasks such as cleaning sprinkler heads, fixing leaks, and repairing pipes? The original Mr. This Old House has you covered at bobvila.com.

A look of determination will enhance your performance during all DIY projects. Shutterstock

Weatherizing your home helps it stay cool in the summer and warm in the winter. Steps include sealing windows and doors with inserts, adding insulation, and using door stoppers. You’ll also want to inspect your HVAC system after turning on the air conditioner and heat for the first time each season.


Every homeowner needs to have some basic knowledge of quick fixes to common household issues. From clogged drains to burnt fuses, being able to handle the small stuff will save you money and time. It’s also important to know when the issue is no longer a minor fix but needs more expertise from a professional. If the baking soda + boiling water method doesn’t unclog a sink, more advanced fixes include using an auger on the trap or upper part of the pipe. If these attempts don’t work, it may be time to call a plumber.

Assess and fix common toilet problems to avoid costly water damage and plumber visits. Try plunging to unclog an overflowing toilet. The toilet chain is likely disconnected if you press the handle down, feel no resistance, and the toilet doesn’t flush. This is typically an easy fix, even if you need to purchase a new chain.

Constantly running water might stop with a simple handle jiggle, or it could mean the flapper needs replacing. Many of these and other plumbing issues require turning off the water. Know where to find the water turns off in the kitchen and each bathroom and the location of the main water shutoff. Once again, visit bobvila.com for some basic instructions on how your toilet can be fixed.

Turning off electric power may be necessary before home projects such as changing out light fixtures or if there is flooding in the home. It involves know-ing your circuit breaker location and which switches control which areas of your home. If your circuit breaker isn’t labeled, now is a great time to take care of that task. We found helpful articles on thespruce.com.

Most smoke detectors take 9 volt batteries. Always keep a pack on hand.

Changing fire alarm batteries is a critical homeowner task for keeping your household safe. Plus, keeping fresh batteries and knowing how to quickly disarm will avoid waking the whole family in the middle of the night because you set off the smoke detector by burning your midnight snack.

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