50 Things Every Homeowner Should Know How to Do, Including Plumbing Services

Owning a home brings both joy and responsibility. While some tasks require professional help, many maintenance jobs can be handled by homeowners themselves. Here are 50 essential skills every homeowner should master to keep their home in top condition, including plumbing services and tasks that will save you time and money.

50 Things Every Homeowner Should Know How to Do, Including Plumbing Services

  1. Fix a Dripping Faucet

A leaky faucet wastes water and can be annoying. Turn off the water supply, disassemble the faucet, and replace the worn-out washer or O-ring. Reassemble, and your faucet should be drip-free.

  1. Clear a Clogged Toilet

A clogged toilet is a common issue. Use a plunger first, and if that doesn’t work, resort to a toilet auger to clear the blockage. For more complex jobs, you should outsource to plumbing services.

  1. Unclog a Sink

Avoid chemical drain cleaners. Instead, detach and clean the P-trap beneath the sink. Place a bucket underneath to catch any water or debris.

  1. Replace a Faucet

Upgrading a faucet is straightforward. Ensure the new faucet matches the existing hole configuration. Shut off the water, remove the old faucet, and follow the manufacturer’s installation instructions.

  1. Install a Shower Head

Remove the old shower head, apply thread seal tape to the shower arm, and screw on the new shower head. Don’t overtighten to avoid damaging the threads.

  1. Replace a Toilet

Replacing a toilet may seem daunting, but it’s manageable. Disconnect the water supply, remove the old toilet, and install the new one, ensuring a proper seal with a new wax ring. For more complex jobs, you should outsource to plumbing services.

  1. Repair a Running Toilet

Fixing a running toilet can often be resolved by adjusting the flapper or the fill valve. Ensure the chain isn’t too long and the float is at the correct level.

  1. Install a New Thermostat

Turn off the power, remove the old thermostat, and connect the new one according to the wiring diagram. A programmable thermostat can enhance energy efficiency.

  1. Turn Off the Water Main

Locate your home’s main water shut-off valve, usually found where the water line enters the house. Turn the valve clockwise to stop water flow during an emergency.

  1. Clear Out the Gutters

Clean gutters twice a year to prevent blockages and water damage. Use a ladder stabilizer and tools like a leaf blower or wet-dry vac with special attachments.

  1. Change Furnace Filters

Regularly replacing furnace filters (every two months) ensures efficient operation. Turn off the furnace, remove the old filter, and install the new one.

  1. Care for Hardwood Floors

Use hardwood-specific cleaning products. Avoid excessive water, which can damage the wood. Regularly vacuum with a hardwood floor attachment.

  1. Locate Wall Studs

Find studs by knocking on the wall or using a magnetic stud finder, essential for securely hanging heavy items like shelves and mirrors.

  1. Hang Shelves

Ensure shelves are attached to wall studs or use appropriate wall anchors. A level is crucial for proper alignment.

  1. Paint a Room

Proper preparation is key: clear the room, protect floors with drop cloths, and tape off baseboards. Apply primer and paint in well-ventilated conditions.

  1. Rewire a Lamp

Replace the cord and socket of an unplugged lamp to restore functionality. Follow the wiring diagram carefully for safe reassembly.

  1. Install a Wall Sconce

Cut holes for the electrical box and switch, run cable from the panel, and install the sconce per manufacturer instructions. Always turn off power before starting.

  1. Hang Wallpaper

Prime dark walls first. Align wallpaper pieces for seamless patterns and start in an inconspicuous spot. Smooth out bubbles with a wallpaper brush.

  1. Replace Outlets

Turn off power, remove the faceplate and old outlet, and connect the new outlet following the original wiring. Test the outlet after restoring power.

  1. Use a Pressure Washer

Clean exterior surfaces by spraying from the top down. Avoid direct, close-range spray to prevent damage to siding or paint.

  1. Install a Ceiling Fan

Use a fan-rated electrical box. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions, ensuring all connections are secure. Turn off power before installation.

  1. Change Ceiling Fan Direction

Adjust the blade angle and flip the switch to change fan direction: counterclockwise for cooling in summer, clockwise for warmth in winter.

  1. Build Raised Garden Beds

Construct a frame from wood, dig a trench, and fill with a mix of soil, compost, and manure. Raised beds improve drainage and soil quality.

  1. Make Compost

Create nutrient-rich compost from food scraps and yard waste. Balance green materials (food scraps) with brown (paper, dry leaves) for optimal decomposition.

  1. Repair a Screen

Replace damaged window screens by removing the old screen and spline, fitting a new screen, and securing it with new spline.

  1. Install a Storm Door

Measure your doorway, buy a prehung storm door, and follow installation instructions for added insulation and light.

  1. Scour Grout Clean

Spray grout with water, scrub with a hard-bristled brush, and use a baking soda and vinegar paste for deep stains.

  1. Service the Lawn Mower

Annual lawn mower maintenance includes sharpening blades, changing oil, cleaning the deck, and checking the spark plug and air filter.

  1. Prune Trees and Shrubs

Use hand pruners, loppers, and a pruning saw to remove dead wood and shape plants. Best done in late fall or early spring.

  1. Seal the Driveway

Clean and repair cracks in the driveway, then apply sealant in small sections. Let it cure for 24 hours before use.

  1. Clean Stainless Steel

Avoid bleach and abrasives. Clean with soapy water and a soft cloth, wiping in the grain direction. For stuck-on food, use a nylon scrubber.

  1. Install a Dimmer Switch

Turn off power, replace the existing switch with a compatible dimmer, and follow the wiring instructions. Test with the power on.

  1. Mulch Garden Beds

Spread mulch 2 to 4 inches thick, avoiding the base of plants. Mulch helps retain moisture and suppress weeds.

  1. Hang a Picture

Measure and mark the wall, use a level, and choose appropriate hardware based on the picture’s weight.

  1. Clean the Grill

Soak grates in soapy water, scrub with a wire brush, and clean the grill body. Regular maintenance prolongs grill life and improves food flavor.

  1. Wash the Windows

Wipe windows with soapy water, spray with cleaner, and dry with a lint-free cloth using a Z-pattern. Clean frames and sills too.

  1. Turn Off the Gas Main

Locate the gas meter, turn the valve 90 degrees with an adjustable wrench to stop the gas flow. Call the gas company to restore service.

  1. Reset a Circuit Breaker

Find the tripped breaker in the panel, switch it off, then back on. This restores power to the affected circuit.

  1. Seal the Deck

Clean and repair the deck, apply a sealant or stain, and let it cure completely to protect the wood from weather damage.

  1. Inspect the Fireplace

Before winter, clean the firebox, check for chimney cracks, and ensure the damper works properly. Regular inspections ensure safe operation.

  1. Mow the Lawn

Edge and trim before mowing. Mow in varying patterns and avoid cutting more than a third of the grass height to promote healthy growth.

  1. Clean the Sump Pump

Turn off power, remove the pump, rinse off debris, and clean the pit. Ensure the pump is dry before reinstalling. For more complex jobs, you should outsource to plumbing services.

  1. Deep Clean a Carpet

Steam clean carpets to remove deep-seated dirt. Allow carpets to dry completely before use to prevent mold growth.

  1. Build and Attach Window Boxes

Construct window boxes to fit your window frame, drill drainage holes, and attach them securely with brackets.

  1. Install a New Light Fixture

Turn off power, remove the old fixture, connect the new fixture following the wiring diagram, and secure it in place.

  1. Hang Curtains

Measure window width, install curtain rods, and hang curtains for a polished look. Ensure brackets are securely anchored.

  1. Propagate Plants

Grow new plants from cuttings. Place cuttings in water or soil and keep them in a warm, light place until roots develop.

  1. Clean a Dishwasher

Remove and clean filters, wipe down the interior, and run a cleaning cycle with a dishwasher cleaner or vinegar.

  1. Fix a Garage Door

Lubricate moving parts, tighten hardware, and adjust the balance. Regular maintenance keeps the door operating smoothly.

  1. Maintain Home Safety Equipment

Test smoke and carbon monoxide detectors monthly, replace batteries annually, and ensure fire extinguishers are charged and accessible.

Mastering these tasks empowers homeowners to maintain and enhance their living spaces, fostering a more self-sufficient lifestyle and ensuring a well-kept home. If you’re up for the challenge, here is another list of 50 home improvement items to tackle as well.

Keep Your Home Flowing Smoothly with Palo Alto Plumbing Services!

Is your home experiencing plumbing issues? Don’t let leaks, clogs, or outdated fixtures disrupt your daily life. At Palo Alto Plumbing, we offer top-notch plumbing services to keep your home running efficiently and comfortably.

Why Choose Palo Alto Plumbing?

  • Expert Technicians: Our experienced and licensed plumbers are ready to tackle any problem, big or small.
  • Reliable Service: We pride ourselves on punctuality and reliability, ensuring your plumbing issues are resolved quickly and effectively.
  • Comprehensive Solutions: From emergency repairs to routine maintenance, we cover all your plumbing needs.
  • Affordable Rates: Quality service at competitive prices with no hidden fees.
  • Customer Satisfaction: Your satisfaction is our top priority, and we won’t rest until the job is done right.

Our Plumbing Services Include:

  • Leak detection and repair
  • Drain cleaning and unclogging
  • Water heater installation and repair
  • Fixture upgrades and installations
  • Pipe repair and replacement
  • Routine plumbing maintenance

Don’t wait until a small problem becomes a major issue. Trust Palo Alto Plumbing to keep your home’s plumbing system in top shape. Call us today!

Upgrade Your Home with Faucet Installation: A Step-by-Step Installation Guide

If you’re looking to upgrade your bathroom or kitchen, one of the most practical and easy changes you can make is faucet installation. With the right tools and some basic plumbing knowledge, this is a task that most homeowners can complete in just a few hours. In this blog post, we’ll cover everything you need to know to install a new faucet, including the tools you’ll need, the steps involved in the faucet installation process, and some tips for troubleshooting common issues.

Tools you’ll need

Before you get started, you’ll need to gather some basic tools and supplies. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • New faucet
  • Basin wrench
  • Adjustable wrench
  • Teflon tape
  • Plumbers putty
  • Screwdriver
  • Bucket or container to catch water
  • Rags or towels

New faucet installation prep

Before you begin your faucet installation, it’s important to make sure that you’ve turned off the water supply. To do this, locate the shut-off valves under your sink and turn them clockwise to shut off the water. Once the water is turned off, turn on the faucet to relieve any remaining pressure in the lines.

Next, you’ll need to remove the old faucet. To do this, use a basin wrench to loosen and remove the nuts that hold the faucet in place. Once you’ve removed the nuts, lift the old faucet off the sink.

Installing the new faucet

Now that you’ve removed the old faucet, it’s time to install the new one. Follow these steps to install your new faucet:

  • Clean the sink: Before your faucet installation, use a rag or towel to clean the sink and remove any debris or residue left over from the old faucet. This will ensure a clean, tight seal.
  • Install the gasket: Place the gasket on the bottom of the new faucet and press it firmly into place.
  • Apply plumber’s putty: Apply a small amount of plumber’s putty around the base of the new faucet. This will help create a watertight seal.
  • Insert the new faucet: Place the new faucet into the mounting hole on the sink. Make sure that it is level and centered.
  • Secure the new faucet: Under the sink, use a basin wrench to tighten the mounting nuts onto the new faucet. Be careful not to overtighten, as this can damage the faucet or sink.
  • Connect the water supply lines: Most new faucets will come with water supply lines already attached. If this is the case, simply connect the lines to the shut-off valves under your sink. If your new faucet does not have pre-attached supply lines, you’ll need to attach them now. Use an adjustable wrench to tighten the connections.
  • Turn on the water supply: Slowly turn on the water supply valves under your sink. Check for leaks as the water flows through the new faucet.

Faucet installation troubleshooting

If you encounter any issues during the faucet installation process, don’t panic. Here are some common problems and solutions:

  • Leaks: If you notice any leaks around the new faucet, turn off the water supply and check the connections. Make sure that all nuts and connections are tight and secure. You may also need to apply more plumbers’ putty to create a tighter seal.
  • Uneven or loose faucet: If your new faucet is not level or wobbles, check the mounting nuts under the sink. Tighten them with a basin wrench to secure the faucet in place.
  • Low water pressure: If your new faucet has low water pressure, check the aerator. Sometimes debris can get stuck in the aerator, causing reduced water flow. Remove the aerator and clean it thoroughly.


Faucet installation is a relatively simple task that can have a big impact on the look and functionality of your bathroom or kitchen. With the right tools and some basic plumbing knowledge, most homeowners can complete this project in just a few hours. Just remember to turn off the water supply, remove the old faucet, clean the sink, install the new faucet with the gasket and plumber’s putty, connect the water supply lines, and turn on the water supply.

When shopping for a new faucet, make sure to choose one that is the right size and style for your sink and that has the features you need, such as a pull-out sprayer or a single handle for easy temperature control. If you’re not comfortable with the installation process, don’t hesitate to call a professional plumber for assistance.

In addition to improving the look and functionality of your bathroom or kitchen, installing a new faucet can also help you save water and money. Many modern faucets are designed to be more water-efficient than older models, which means you can enjoy the same great performance while using less water. This can help lower your water bills and reduce your environmental impact.

Overall, installing a new faucet is a great way to update your bathroom or kitchen without spending a lot of money or time. With the right tools and some basic plumbing knowledge, you can complete this project in just a few hours and enjoy the benefits of a new and improved faucet.

Palo Alto Plumbing Can Help

If you’re in the Palo Alto area and looking to upgrade your bathroom or kitchen with a new faucet, toilet, or shower, Palo Alto Plumbing is here to help. Our team of experienced professionals can assist with faucet installation and a wide range of plumbing services including faucet installation or troubleshooting. Contact us today to schedule an appointment and let us help you transform your home.

Home Upgrades You Can Do in Just a Day

Many homeowners would like to improve their homes in one way or another, but oftentimes, the idea of making these improvements can seem daunting due to the time commitment involved. Lucky for you, we’ve gathered up several excellent home improvement projects that don’t take very long to complete.

Quick and Affordable Home Upgrades

Take a look at these easy home upgrades that you can do in only one day. With just a little planning and a free afternoon, you can make some small improvements to your home that will have a pretty big impact.

Easy One Day Home Upgrades

One Last Project: Annual Maintenance

This one is extra simple because you don’t have to do it yourself, let us take care of it for you! We believe that regular HVAC maintenance is the key to your indoor comfort and energy savings. Our technicians do a multi-point inspection, helping prevent unnecessary wear and tear on your system. Call us today to schedule your maintenance check: 650-856-3400.

4 Best DIY Accounts to Follow on Twitter

The DIY community is all about sharing their tips and tricks for tackling any project big or small. From how-to blogs to inspiring imagery, there is no short of great DIY content on the web. One of the best places to find informative and inspiring content on the latest DIY trends and fun projects is on Twitter. Though there are many DIY-focused Twitter accounts, there are a few that we follow regularly for new ideas, helpful information, and fun inspiration.

Best DIY Twitter Accounts

Whether you’re looking for a how-to video for crafting, a blog post with home improvement tips, or just home design inspiration, you can find it all on Twitter. Here are just a few of our favorite DIY Twitter accounts:

DIY Inspired


This Twitter account is brought to you by DIY and craft blogger, Dinah, from On this Twitter account, she shares links to her blog content which offers tips, tricks, and advice on DIY craft projects. She also shares links to inspiring Pinterest boards as well as helpful DIY craft how-to videos. If you love to get crafty and you are always looking for new ways to improve your home décor, this is a great Twitter account to follow.

DIY Network


The DIY Network is known as the home improvement how-to network, and that’s exactly what it provides – information on how to do just about anything around your home. Their Twitter account offers updates and behind the scenes looks at all your favorite DIY Network programming like Tiny House, Big Living and Building Off the Grid. The social media account also offers links to informative content about how to tackle DIY projects around your home.



Lifehacker is a different type of DIY resource than the rest. This Twitter account shares fun and informative articles on all the best tips, hacks, and how-to’s for your home and general daily living. This site covers everything from simple tricks that make using a digital scale easier to answers to life’s biggest questions, like, should I exercise on an empty stomach? This diverse resource is great for those who like learning neat little tips and tricks for making life easier. Just beware of any HVAC hacks!

This Old House


This Old House provides a wealth of informative content on home improvement, home repair, renovations, and other DIY projects. The Twitter feed is full of great content on everything from how to grow your own garden to affordable upgrades for your home. This is a must-follow account for anyone who is a fan of This Old House programming, or any homeowner who likes to learn more about how they can make affordable and lasting improvements to their own homes.

If you use social media to keep up with the latest in home improvement, be sure to follow us on Facebook. We post regular content on home improvement and HVAC topics, as well as company updates and recent promotions to help you save on all of your Palo Alto heating and air conditioning needs.