Winter has almost arrived, and if you're like many homeowners, you are currently plotting various excuses for not leaving the indoors. Tasks still need to get done even when it's way too cold outside. Thankfully, there are several easy repairs and fast fixes that can be made to your home that will not only increase its resale value, but also don't even require a trip outdoors. That is a win-win situation if ever there was one. It may also be a good idea to knock a few of these out before getting your home inspection completed.
Look, listen and observe
Houselogic compiled a handy guide to seeking out home improvements indoors that are more simple than one might imagine. If you can't think of any easy fixes to make inside your home, just take a moment to walk around and test a few things. Towel racks and toilet paper holders are some of the most common culprits for squeaks or loose ends. These are usually held to the wall with small plastic drywall anchors, which don't take long to wear out. Remove the offending fixture, along with the anchors, and install toggle bolts instead. These will withstand much more abuse than their cheap plastic equivalent, according to Houselogic, and last much longer. Door hinges that squeal harshly with every use can be quickly remedied as well. Houselogic recommended a shot of powdered graphite to deal with this predicament. Noisy floorboards can also be cheaply repaired with talcum powder sprinkled between seams.
If you're trying to avoid the harsh winter tundra, you may as well be productive. There's few activities more productive on cold winter days than taking the time to make sure your home's safety features are in working order. Make smoke and carbon monoxide detectors your first priority. According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, smoke detectors should be tested at least once per month by simply pushing the test button. If you don't hear a sound when pushing this button, you may need to replace the battery, or just remove the unit and purchase another one. CO detectors should be tested at similar intervals. Houselogic also recommended testing your ground-fault circuit interrupter outlets around once per month as well. GFCI outlets are common in kitchens and bathrooms where electrical appliances may come in contact with water. If this happens when the device is plugged into a GFCI outlet, it will automatically shut off. These are tested by just pressing the "test" button.
A few areas of your home that hardly ever get any attention could be the cause of a fire without regular cleaning and maintenance. According to the National Fire Protection Association, one out of every 22 home fires in the U.S. starts in the clothes dryer vent. These vents can become clogged with lint, but are often overlooked when cleaning. Prevent these dangerous fires from starting by removing the vent pipe from your dryer and vacuuming lint from it.
While you're at it, check any drain hoses leading to your washing machine, dishwasher or refrigerator. If these are cracked, replace them quickly or they might burst, causing some very costly flooding. Take a moment to inspect electrical cords that are cracked or damaged as well. Extension cords that are broken could be dangerous, especially with exposed wire. Disconnect and dispose of them immediately. Use caution when working around fragile wires. Always disconnect them from their power source first, and then work to remove them.