Winter weather doesn’t have to put all your home repairs on hold. Outdoor work may be out of the question in the chillier parts of the country, but there are many indoor tasks you can take care of for the year now. Here are eight easy home repairs you can tackle with your free time this winter.
- Fasten loose bathroom fixtures
Has your bathroom towel rack or toilet paper holder started to come loose? If so, unscrew the fixture, and check for the source of the issue. It may be a weak push-in style plastic drywall anchor. Remove the offending anchor and consider replacing it with something more secure, such as a toggle bolt.
- Shush squeaky door hinges
Most squeaky doors are caused by dry or corroded hinge pins. A bit of WD-40 or other joint lubricant should solve the issue. Apply the lubricant to the top of the pin, and allow it to drip down and cover the hinge completely, catching any runoff with a paper towel. Coat the oil throughout the pin by opening and closing the door a few times.
- Spiff up your shutoff valves
Under your sinks and behind your toilets, you’ll find shutoff valves for your water supply lines. If these valves aren’t properly maintained, you may be in big trouble if you need to use them in a plumbing emergency. Keep your valves in working order by applying some WD-40 to the handle shafts and then turning the handles back and forth to work the lubricant into the threads. If you can’t get the handles to twist, allow the oil to penetrate for a few hours, and then try again.
- Patch up your shower paint
The heat and moisture from your shower can cause the ceiling paint to blister. If this is the case in your bathroom, it’s time to scrape off the old paint and recoat with a high-quality bath- or exterior-grade paint. Satin or semi-gloss finishes are the easiest to keep clean. To help protect the finish, make sure everyone turns on the exhaust vent while using the shower to minimize moisture.
- Secure loose screws
Every home seems to have at least a couple handles and hinges with loose screws. Some can be fixed by simply tightening up the screws. If the screw holes have been stripped, however, try stuffing in some toothpicks coated in glue or swapping in larger screws.
- Inspect your outlets
It’s recommended to test your ground-fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) outlets once a month, but few people do so. If you’re lax on your testing duties, winter is the perfect time to start. These outlets are often found in spaces where they risk coming in contact with water: bathrooms, kitchens and outdoor areas. To test them, simply press the “test” button and use a plug-in appliance to confirm that power is no longer flowing to the outlet. Press “reset” to restore power. If you encounter any faulty outlets, have an electrician replace them.
- Fuss with your filters
Your home may contain numerous filters that keep your air clean and your appliances functioning safely and effectively. Especially if you’re spending more time indoors for winter, it’s extra important to keep them cleaned and replaced. Wash your exhaust vent filter for your kitchen stove, clear out your dishwasher screen, clean your clothes dryer vent and replace your HVAC system air filters according to each filter and appliance’s manual.
- Look for leaks
Water and electricity are two essential utilities that flow throughout your home. Make sure neither is at risk of leaking out and causing damage or danger. Check your clothes washer, dishwasher and ice maker to ensure there are no drips or cracked hoses. Likewise, inspect electric cords and plugs for wear and damage. Have these parts repaired or replaced if needed.
You can knock these tasks out with maximum efficiency by planning ahead. Make a list of everything that needs to be done in your home, purchase all the needed supplies in one trip and set aside some time to make the repairs. With these items squared away in winter, your to-do list for the rest of the year will be just a bit shorter.