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DIY Home Repairs for August

August is a good time to catch up on miscellaneous home tasks that get put off when summer months are too hot.

  • Show your floors some love. In addition to sweeping and mopping tile floors on a regular basis, you can keep them looking great by cleaning the grout lines periodically. If any of the tiles are broken, replacing them is a relatively simple process. Try waxing or refinishing wood and linoleum floors that are showing signs of wear.
  • Clean your refrigerator coils. Do this safely to save money by allowing the refrigerator to run more efficiently.
  • Repair and repaint your porch and steps. Their paint jobs are often damaged during the winter, and painting will help protect the wood.

 

Project of the Month: Ventilation Check-Up

Four_belt-driven_ventilation_fans

It is easy to take our home ventilation systems for granted. Many of the problems that occur with these systems are not necessarily the result of a single instance of damage, but instead can result from long-term deferred maintenance. Taking a few simple steps a few times a year can aid healthy  air circulation, help avoid problems such as excess moisture, and save money by reducing energy use and preventing costly repairs.

To ensure that moisture doesn’t build up in your home, check that the ventilation fans in your kitchen and bathrooms are working. To do this, turn on the fan and hold a piece of paper towel or toilet paper up to the fan vent. If the fan holds the paper up under its own power, it is working properly; if the paper does not stick, the fan is not generating enough air pressure to ventilate your room. Good ventilation is necessary to prevent mold and other moisture-related problems in your home. Try cleaning your exhaust fan. If the fan still doesn’t pass the paper test after being cleaned, you may need to replace the motor or buy a new fan.

It’s also a good idea to clean your air conditioner at least once a year, whether it’s a window unit, central air, or any other sort of system.

DIY Home Repairs for July

Summer is here! Here are some simple things you can do to care for your home this month:

  • Schedule a furnace tuneup with a furnace technician before the weather starts to get cold. This service, which should be done yearly, costs around $100-$125, but it will save you money on heating costs and prevent problems that are much more expensive to fix.

 

Project of the Month: Common Door Repairs

Fairy_door_at_Red_Shoes_Ann_Arbor_MichiganIt’s easy to overlook a sticking or warped door when you have more pressing maintenance problems. Often we grow used to a door’s problems over time, and don’t realize that a few minutes of maintenance can make the door much easier to use and prevent future problems. It’s especially important to make sure exterior doors are working well, both for security and to prevent heat from escaping in the winter.

Inspect and tighten hinges, door hardware, and locks.  Install extra long screws to secure strike plates and latches to increase their ability to provide security.  Realign and insure proper operation of storm doors.  Inspect and replace weatherstripping.

 

DIY Home Repairs for June

Happy June! The weather is increasingly nicer, and you can celebrate by taking care of your home!

Here are some regular maintenance tasks you can do this month to keep things running smoothly:

  • If you have a tankless water heater, clean its filter. If you have a standard water heater and have not drained it in the past 12 months, do so now.
  • Take a bit of time to test all the shut-off valves in your home (under sinks, behind toilets, etc.).  They should be easy enough to operate in an emergency. This should be done once a year. If you have trouble making the valve turn off, don’t force it—make plans to replace it with a quarter-turn or ball valve model, as these models are less likely to fail.
  • If you haven’t done so already this year, change your lawnmower’s oil.  Be sure to safely dispose of the old oil, as it is considered hazardous waste and should not be poured down the drain or placed in the regular trash. Check the hazardous waste guidelines for Kalamazoo for more information.

Project of the Month: Driveway and Walkway Repairs

pug and concrete

Winter can do a number on your driveways, walkways, patios, and other concrete surfaces. Water that seeps into small holes and cracks in the concrete freezes and expands, which causes the concrete to crack. Salt and other chemicals used to control ice can also damage surfaces.

Now that the weather is better, consider taking a weekend to fix up your driveway, walkway or patio. (Public sidewalks in Kalamazoo must be repaired in consultation with the city; please call (269) 337-8601 for more information.) According to This Old House, resurfacing a 60 square foot driveway will take about an hour and cost about $25-$30; your project time and cost will vary based on the size of your driveway.