Homeownership comes with many challenges, and the biggest question on any homeowner’s mind is how to perform upgrades and maintenance without breaking the bank. Fixing things on your own where you can is often highly cost-effective.

However, you should always be careful to weigh the risks of doing the work yourself. Personal safety should always be a factor in making home repairs.

Fixing a Garage Door

Most homes have a garage door opener, and most modern models have safety sensors to keep the door from shutting if something is in the way. But what should you do when the door stops working properly?

  • Assess the problem. Has the door’s roller come off its track? Is there loose hardware? Or is the problem something more serious, like a broken spring?
  • Consider your skills. If the door is stuck because debris obstructs the track, you can clear that yourself. Likewise, you can probably fix loose hardware on your own.
  • Do not try to repair a broken spring. If your garage door’s torsion spring has broken, you must call a professional. These springs hold massive tension and can seriously injure you.

If your garage door does not currently have a safety sensor, consider installing one—especially if you have small children. These sensors will cause the door to stop or rebound if something crosses their path.

House Wiring Basics

main doing wiring work in home

Many interior maintenance updates will involve electricity in some way. Whether you are updating a light fixture or adding a new electrical outlet, you will want to exercise extreme caution when doing any work that involves electricity. The leading cause of residential fires in the United States is electrical malfunction, according to the National Fire Protection Association. Ensuring you do the work safely can keep disaster at bay.

  1. Most importantly: always turn off the power to the room in which you will be working by switching off the circuit breaker from the main panel in your home.
  2. Test to make sure that the wires are not active before you begin work.
  3. If working on a fixture or an appliance, unplug it before you begin.
  4. Know your skill level. If you are unsure of how to do something, it is better to call a professional.
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Housekeeping Safety

house cleaners and cleaning supplies

Keeping a clean home is a safety measure, but the products that you use to keep clean can be a hazard as well. Many household products are strong chemicals that can interact badly with one another or give off strong fumes.

  • Always read labels and follow all directions.
  • Dispose of solvents and cleansers responsibly.
  • Ensure that you have adequate ventilation when you are using strong cleansers.
  • Use rubber gloves to minimize the effects of strong products on your skin.
  • Never mix products unless directed to do so. Some chemicals, like ammonia and bleach, are strong cleansers on their own, but can be dangerous when mixed together.

The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services maintains a database about common household products. This can be a handy resource if you aren’t sure how to handle a new household cleaner.

Detectors and Alarms

Ensuring that your home has adequate monitoring systems in place is another way to keep your home safe. Carbon monoxide is a gas that you cannot smell, see, or taste, so it is imperative to make sure that you have a detector in your home. Pay attention to your detector and always keep the batteries up-to-date to ensure your family’s safety.

Likewise, heed the battery alarm on your smoke detector, which can alert you to the presence of a fire even if it occurs while you are asleep. Most states have regulations that require the presence of a smoke alarm on each floor of a residential building.

The Bottom Line

Is the work you’ve done inside your home enough to keep you and your family safe? Consider the following:

  • Have you done everything you can to safely make repairs?
  • Do you follow directions and make sure you are well-informed before starting a project?
  • Are your detectors and alarm batteries up to date?

If you can answer all the above questions affirmatively, you’re on the right track to maintaining the interior of your home safely. Never be afraid to admit that something is outside of your skill set. If you can’t handle a job yourself, one of our Best Picks is always available.