I recently went to see Jerry Seinfeld perform in Houston and his opening act talked about how professionals should perform home repairs.  We laughed about the fact that Home Depot lets us think we can redo anything in our homes and many times we fail at it on our own and still have to invite in professionals to complete the work.  I read the article below in the Summer 2011 USAA Magazine and hope you enjoy it.  It gives good ideas for common homeowner mistakes.

All it takes is a
Saturday and a trip to the hardware store
to better protect your
property—and even your life.  Kurt
Salomon, president of the American Society of Home Inspectors, highlights five
common hazards that can be fixed easily and inexpensively.

  • Test for radon. A hazard you can’t see, smell
    or taste, radon is the leading cause of lung cancer among nonsmokers in America.  Release by uranium in the ground, it can
    affect homes on the same street differently, says Salomon.  Testing is cheap and can be done over the
    weekend.

Cost: about $20 for a test kit.

  • Install a smoke detector in every bedroom.
    Having one upstairs, one downstairs and one in the kitchen isn’t
    enough.  “A child can die of smoke
    inhalation if a fire starts in the bedroom before the smoke reaches a hallway,”
    Salomon warns.  Test batteries once a
    month and replace twice a year.

Cost: $7-$60 or more for a new
detector, depending on style and brand.

  • Ensure your stairway handrails are properly installed. Handrails should be installed 32-36 inches
    from the floor to the top of the rail on both sides, and they should contrast
    with the color of the wall, according to thiscaringhome.org.

Cost: $10-$20 for new hardware to raise or better
secure a rail.

  • Check the
    charge on your fire extinguisher.

    “There’s a gauge on every extinguisher, and if it’s green, you’re
    good.  If it’s red, replace the
    extinguisher,” Salomon says.  Also, make
    sure to get the right kind of extinguisher; some are designed specifically for
    kitchen fires, while others are for electrical fires.

Cost: $15-$75

  • Fix broken fence hinges and locks around a pool. The latches for automatically closing gates
    should be at least 54 inches above the ground, so raise them if they’re lower.

Cost: around $20 for hardware.

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