3. How to locate the main water supply
Want to feel panic? Watch a burst pipe pour water into your home while you search for the main water shut-off valve. That's panic.
If you were smart, you asked the builder or previous owner to locate the shut-off value and show you how to work it. Usually, it's a lever in the basement, 3 to 5 feet from where the main water pipe enters the house, though sometimes it's located in crawl spaces in older homes.
If you've got a round valve, turn the wheel clockwise to shut off water; if you have a lever, push it slowly until it's no longer parallel to the pipe and the water stops flowing.
Most important, know where the main shut-off valve is before water starts climbing your basement stairs.
4. How to change a furnace filter
It's not the sexiest home maintenance chore, but changing or cleaning furnace filters is important to keep air clean, especially during high-pollen months.
If you're living in a newly-built home, you may have to change filters every couple of weeks until drywall dust is totally sucked out of your home. Hay fever sufferers should change filters monthly in spring and summer. For the rest of us, filter changes every 3-6 months should do the trick.
Basically, you pull and replace paper filters; you clean metal filters by spraying with water and drying before reinstalling. You can find both at big box hardware or home improvement stores.
7. How to fill small drywall dings
In the life of every wall a few dents and dings will happen. Filling small imperfections (we're not talking about hulking holes here) and making the wall look like new is a great skill to learn.
First, remove any loose drywall or gypsum powder surrounding the hole. Then cover the imperfection with spackling paste. If one coat doesn't fill the dent, let the spackling dry, and apply a second coat until it's level with the drywall.
Let the spackling dry for a day, and sand smooth with 120-150-grit sandpaper. Clean the surface, prime, sand again, then paint.
8. How to weatherproof windows and doors
Air leaking around windows and doors makes your house feel drafty and your wallet feel lighter, as your energy bills rise.
To find escape points, light a candle and walk it around windows and doors; when the flame flickers, you've found a leak.
Patch leaks around window and door frames by running a bead of sealing caulk along frames. You can also buy foam weather stripping that's easy to install and provides an efficient barrier between inside and outside.
Owning a home is a life-long learning curve. Before long, you'll be a pro at maintaining your most valuable asset.