In the Boy Scouts, a certification, called a Totin' Chip, is required for scouts to carry, and use woods tools like a knife, axe and a saw. They must read and understand the use and safety rules from the scout handbooks and demonstrate the proper handling, care, and use of each.
No such certification is required for homeowners but there are a lot of good reasons why it should be self-imposed. Making minor repairs is part of the responsibility of owning a home that will save both time and money.
A homeowner will certainly appreciate the need for such training the first time a call is made to a service company to fix their air conditioner that suddenly quit cooling. When the repairman arrives, he has a checklist which includes verifying the unit is getting electricity. If not, they go to the electrical panel to see if a breaker has been thrown.
It can be very humbling and expensive to have to pay a service fee to have a repairman flip a breaker to get your air conditioning working again.
The basic items every homeowner should be able to do the following:
- Turn off the water in case of an emergency.
- Reset a circuit breaker.
- Change the HVAC filters and clean the outside coils.
- Clean a dryer vent.
- Reset a garbage disposer and dislodge a jam by spinning the flywheel
- Unclog a sink or drain.
- How to plunge a toilet and when to use an auger.
- Re-caulk a bathtub or sink
- Light a pilot light on a water heater or furnace
- Change the batteries on a smoke alarm
YouTube can be a great resource for searching the millions of videos that have been uploaded to help homeowners with all sorts of do-it-yourself projects. You should be able to find one that addresses your particular situation, and you can determine if you have the skills and tools to handle it. If not, check our list of Service Providers or just ask for a recommendation.