Homefinder: Regular upkeep maintains home value

We’ve compiled a Top 10 list of around the house chores and trouble shooting ideas that every homeowner should know.

Every homeowner knows the learning curve is never ending when you own your own home.

Along with washing the dishes and sweeping the floor come routine maintenance tasks and minor repairs that occur both seasonally and when you least expect it.

We’ve compiled a Top 10 list of around the house chores and trouble shooting ideas that every homeowner should know.

Clean gutters: Leaves, pine needles and other debris will clog your gutters routinely and keeping them clear will help keep rain off your roof and drain it away from your house. Clean your gutters twice a year or more frequently if you have overhanging trees and after a wind storm. Use a sturdy ladder and place it on a firm, level base. Protect your hands with work gloves and use a small trowel to help scoop debris out of the gutter working away from the drain. To keep things tidy, use a bucket to scoop the leaves into. Then use a hose to clean out each section of gutter. Finally, make sure your drainpipes are clear. Use a hose or plumber’s snake to push out any clogs.

Find a wall stud: Hanging heavy items inside means using the strongest part of your wall – the stud. The easiest way is to use an electronic stud finder, but when you don’t have one handy there are other easy ways to locate a stud. Most electrical outlets are fastened to the side of a stud, so check beside or within an inch of the outlet. Most studs are 16 inches apart, so use a small drill bit or nail and drill in just above the baseboard to make sure you’re on target.

Unclog a toilet: The first step to unclogging the toilet is to make sure you have the right plunger. Purchase an accordion plunger, which is better suited to the task than a cup plunger. If the water is about to overflow the bowl, remove the top of the tank and close the flap at the bottom of the tank. Remove excess water from the bowl if necessary. Warm the rubber of the plunger under hot running water before placing it over the toilet drain, allowing water into the plunger. Once it’s sealed around the hole plunge up and down a few times, keeping the plunger as vertical as possible.

Change a furnace filter: On most furnaces the filter will be adjacent to the furnace. The filter box may be covered by a small door, or the filter itself will be visible inside a notch that it slides into. Pull the old filter out and discard it. Look on the new filter for airflow arrows that are printed along the sides of the filter. These arrows are always meant to point in the direction of the airflow. Slide the furnace filter into the filter air box with the arrows pointing toward the furnace.

Remove a broken light bulb: First make sure the power is off or the lamp is unplugged. Wear gloves and eye protection to ward off broken glass, then, using a pair of needle-nose pliers, grip the metal edge of the base and start turning counter-clockwise. The base may split and break off before the base turns. If this happens, drop it in the garbage and start on a new piece of the base. Alternatively, A raw potato, cut in half pushed firmly over the filament and into the base can be used to twist the bulb loose.

Look for the next half of our Top 10 list in next Friday’s Homefinder.