15 Essential Home Maintenance Tasks Every Homeowner Should Know How to Do

A little effort goes a long way with these home maintenance projects.

Whether you're new to homeownership or you're a seasoned pro looking to sharpen your skills, these home maintenance tasks are worth getting to know. While you might already be familiar with a few of these home improvement projects, whether snaking a drain or changing an air filter, others might be new to you. In fact, you might not even realize some of the items on this list should be maintained (sorry in advance for changing your weekend plans).

home exterior front with stone walkway entrance
Nathan Schroder

Get started today to prevent damage to your home, save thousands of dollars on future home repairs, and skip unnecessary service calls.

01 of 15

Stop a Running Toilet

bathroom white toilet marble sink patterned tile floor
Tria Giovan

Over time, a toilet's water line may begin to run continuously, leading to higher water usage. To fix a running toilet, start by determining why the toilet is running. The problem could be due to an overflow tube that's too short, the water level could be set too high, the flush valve chain could be too short, the flapper could be worn or warped, or the flush and fill valves could need replacing.

02 of 15

Reset a Tripped Breaker

open circuit box with hand flipping switches
Jacob Fox

To reset a breaker, locate your home's electrical panel and identify the tripped breaker. It will be the breaker with a switch that isn't fully on. To reset the tripped breaker, move the switch fully to the "off" position, then return it to the "on" position.

If the breaker continues to trip without a clear reason, don't restore the power. Instead, contact an electrician to find the problem.

03 of 15

Fix a Leaky Faucet

statement blue kitchen tour display shelves sink faucet


Drip, drip, drip ... that's the sound of money going down your drain. When simply turning your faucet off a little tighter no longer prevents it from leaking, it's time to learn to fix a leaky faucet. You'll also need to know how to shut off the water for this DIY home repair.

04 of 15

Repair or Replace Window Screens

southern screened in porch with fireplace
Karyn Millet

When mild weather rolls in, give your air conditioning system a well-deserved break. However, doing so before making sure your window screens are up to snuff will result in a house full of uninvited guests. Learn to repair and replace window screens to ensure your home stays pest free.

05 of 15

Patch a Hole in Drywall

person patching drywall
Larry Johnston

If you're transitioning from renting a home to home ownership, you might have already learned how to patch drywall the right way (or, at least good enough to secure your damage deposit). If not, fixing drywall holes from minuscule to monstrous with professional results is easier than you might think.

06 of 15

Find a Wall Stud

Using stud finder and marking wall with pencil


Once you move into your first home, you have an endless list of items, from pictures to TVS, to hang on the wall. Whether you're hanging artwork or anchoring furniture to protect pets and kids, one of the first things you need to learn is how to accurately find a wall stud. This simple task can be completed through various methods, whether you opt to use a stud finder or simply tap the wall and measure accordingly.

07 of 15

Clean a Dryer Vent

laundry room white cabinets and stacked washer and dryer
David Land

According to the U.S. Fire Administration, clothes dryers cause about 2,900 house fires each year, and about a third of those result from a failure to clean the dryer. One task in particular that is often forgotten is cleaning the dryer vent. This essential home maintenance task should be completed at least once each year.

08 of 15

Clear the Gutters

home exterior copper gutter and downspout
Edmund Barr

Thousands of people are injured annually as a result of ladder falls. Luckily, there are a number of ways to clean your gutters from the safety of the ground, which can prevent thousands of dollars in water damage. And if you do decide to clean gutters using a ladder, follow these tips to check this outdoor maintenance task off your checklist safely and swiftly.

09 of 15

Clean or Replace a Faucet Aerator

detail of kitchen apron sink with brass faucet

Kim Cornelison

If your faucet is running inconsistently or has a partial flow, the problem likely lies right at the tip of your faucet rather than with your plumbing or water supply. Inside the faucet is something called an aerator, which can become clogged with sediment or lime and calcium buildup over time. Cleaning or replacing your faucet's aerator could be all it takes to get your faucet back up and running.

10 of 15

Change HVAC Filters

Side by side close up view of a new unused and an old heavily clogged dirty air filters
Grandbrothers/Adobe Stock

Depending on the type of filter, your HVAC filter could need replacing every 30 days. Additionally, if you have pets, that number could reduce to every 20 days. To keep your HVAC system running efficiently all year long, it's worth getting to know how often you should change your HVAC filters. And if your HVAC system utilizes reusable filters, follow these instructions for cleaning an air filter.

11 of 15

Check and Maintain Your HVAC System

woman checking once-hidden thermostat on wall
Helen Norman

Beyond changing your home's air filters, there are several simple ways you can set your family and your heat and air unit up for seasonal success. Take the time to check and maintain your HVAC system before each season to keep it performing its best.

12 of 15

Change a Door Lock

keypad lock on blue door
Greg Scheidemann

When moving into a new place, parting ways with a roommate or tenant, or making aesthetic updates to your home, you'll likely want to change the door locks. Skip the call to the handyman and learn to do it yourself. This home improvement project typically takes only a day to complete while providing an updated style with increased security.

13 of 15

Replace a Shattered Lightbulb

white farmhouse open kitchen with black pendant lighting and bar seating
Brie Williams

Sure, everyone knows how to change a lightbulb, but what about a broken bulb? Sometimes, old lightbulbs separate from their bases, while others simply shatter. You can safely remove the threaded portion by turning off the power at the breaker and unscrewing it using needle-nose pliers.

14 of 15

Snake a Drain

white farmhouse sink in kitchen
Helen Norman

Once you own a home, there's no more calling your landlord when the drains clog. Sure, you can call a plumber, but once you learn how easy it is to snake a drain, you'll be shocked at the money you can save by doing the job yourself. A drain snake can reach up to 25 feet and is ideal for clearing soft clogs in sinks, bathtubs, and showers.

15 of 15

Fix a Loose Door Hinge

gray house with outdoor porch firewood storage
Kritsada Panichgul

In well-loved homes, door hinges often become loose, causing doors to sag and stick. Left unchecked, damage can occur to the door, the other hinge points, and the frame. To circumvent any additional issues and remedy the loose hinge, all you need is a small piece of wood like a match stick. Learn to troubleshoot your door hinge problems to set yourself up for success.

Keep Your Home Running Smoothly

Following this quick home maintenance crash course will help mitigate costly repairs and keep your home looking and functioning as it should.

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  1. Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, The Economics Daily, Fatal injuries from ladders down in 2020; nonfatal ladder injuries were essentially unchanged at https://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2022/fatal-injuries-from-ladders-down-in-2020-nonfatal-ladder-injuries-were-essentially-unchanged.htm (visited February 22, 2023).

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