Handy Tips for (First Time) Homeowners

Being a homeowner brings a lot of pride and joy, and – it can be rather overwhelming.

Whether you’re a first time homebuyer looking to undertake major remodeling of your property or you simply want to repair some minor issues, knowing where to start and how to handle the job at hand can be a frightening thing for many.

We put together some handy tips to help you navigate through your home’s repairs and maintenance that will save you money and improve your home:

Replace Filters

Inspect, and possibly change all HVAC filters. Regular filter replacement is the best way to keep your furnace in top condition; some systems will require monthly filter changes, while others can go a few months between changes.

Remove Lint

We all know the importance of cleaning the lint trap of the dryer after every use, but you should also clean lint from inside the dryer cabinet and vent duct about once a year. This is because lint buildup is one of the most common causes of home fires, so to prevent that, you can disassemble the vent duct and clean it by hand or simply disconnect the vent from the dryer and feed a vent brush into it from the outside of your home. Unplug the dryer, turn off the gas valve (if your model has one), pry off the access panel, and vacuum inside the cabinet, paying attention to the area around the motor and gas burner or electric heating element.

Take Precautions

Shut off the main water valve before going on vacation and eliminate the most common cause of home damage. Your main water shutoff is typically in the basement, or outside, attached to a wall or underground, in warmer climates. There is also a “curb stop” shutoff that requires a special tool to operate.

Check water heaters – sometimes they leak from the drain or relief valves, which are easy to replace. However, if a leak is coming from the tank, it’s time to take a better look. The thin coat of glass that lines the tank could crack over the years, the steel pipes rust away as a result, and there’s a leak. Once the tank is damaged, it might take months or only days but it will eventually break, causing an instant flood. Take precautions as soon as you notice a leak and replace the water tank.


If you encounter frequent clogs in kitchen sink (especially if you use the garbage disposal often), bathroom sinks, tubs, and showers, check a baffle that’s located just above the trap directing water down the drain – it’s notorious for causing clogs. Take a coat hanger or a stiff wire, slip it down the drain, and as you feel it hook onto the baffle, jiggle it to remove the clog.


If your circuit breaker keeps tripping, you can take a load off by plugging appliances (space heaters, window-unit air conditioners, etc.) that draw a lot of power into outlets on other circuits. If this doesn’t prevent breaker trips, you may have a more serious electrical problem.

As far as your main electrical panel, it’s a good idea to double-check the accuracy of the labels indicating which breaker controls which circuit – they may not be completely reliable, especially if your home is older and/or has been through remodeling projects.

For instance, there may be an outlet in a room that’s not on the same circuit as all the others in that room, but it’s not listed elsewhere at the panel – that stray outlet could be connected to almost any other circuit in your home. Or, you may even find wires from different circuits in the same junction box.

Make sure you use a voltage detector to determine that the power is off before you do any electrical work.

Also, if there’s an outage, you can try the reset button on the GFCI (the red button in the middle of some outlets) – sometimes all the bathroom outlets, or several exterior lights, are powered through a single GFCI located in one bathroom or elsewhere, such as in a basement. Resetting it could mean you’re back in business.

Stop The Drafts

If you can feel a breeze or see daylight under your doors, especially exterior, you certainly want to address this. But don’t worry – most thresholds adjust up or down with just a few twists of a screw, so turn all the screws until the door opens and closes without much drag and the draft is eliminated.

Another major source of heat loss can be electrical boxes on the outside wall of your home. Installing foam gasket can help: simply take off the box’s cover plate, place the foam gasket over the box, and then screw the plate back on.


To apply a neat, even bead of caulk, use a caulk gun instead of the squeeze tube. Not only is it difficult to produce a steady flow with the tube, but it also creates a lumpy bead.

Go with Timeless Colors

When selecting colors for your home items that are not easy to change, such as toilets, tile, tubs and countertops, choose neutral colors. Shades of white, gray or beige are a wise choice, as they are timeless and go well with a wide array of other colors and hues, so you can spice your place up easily with paint or accents like rugs or accessories. As trends change, you can update the look and feel without costly remodeling. Try these tips and solutions before calling the professionals, and for any major problems or big remodels – call Home One Services, we are here to help enhance the look, comfort and safety of your home.

Protect Your Floors

Finally, before you start your home projects, do protect your floors. We find that canvas or plastic drop cloths can be slippery on hard flooring like wood or tile, so for the protection to stay put, use rosin paper (rolls of rosin paper re sold at home centers).

Be sure to vacuum before you lay the paper, then simply tape sheets together and tape the perimeter to the floor. For remodeling projects, use two or more layers. For painting, you can use a single layer to protect against paint drips, and wipe up larger spills before they can soak through.

These are just some of the ways you can tend to your home, and for all bigger jobs – our proficient and friendly team of handymen and contractors at Home One Services is ready to give you a helping hand with all your home renovations, home improvement, and home maintenance in Lancaster, PA.