Handymen say you're damaging your home if you aren't doing any of these simple things

Your house will thank you.

Handymen say you're damaging your home if you aren't doing any of these simple things
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If you were a handyman you would know how much damage a clogged rain gutter can do to your home. But if you are like most of us, you don’t know where the rain gutters are, how to control humidity, or where the hot water heater is (let alone how destructive it can be when it dies.) So we asked some clever tool-carrying professionals to identify common things people don’t know to do. Handymen say you're damaging your home if you aren't doing any of these simple things.


Using doormats to protect your floors

“One of the best ways to prevent damage to hardwood floors is to keep them clean and free from moisture,” says Mehdi Khachani, CEO of JMK Plumbing. Prevention is the best way to make this easy on yourself. “Use doormats at entry points to trap dirt and prevent it from scratching the surface,” he says. And this universal doormat is the obvious choice. It’s grippy, durable, waterproof, and easy to wash. It comes in four sizes and seven colors.


Take your shoes off on the way in

"Additionally, avoid walking on hardwood floors with high heels or shoes with sharp edges that can cause scratches,” warns Khachani. Create an easy place near the entryway for people to remove their shoes. This will also signal that this is what you expect people to do. This bamboo shoe rack is a minimalist, attractive solution that will fit into a small space and offer room to keep your most-used shoes handy. It comes in three finishes.


Put felt pads under furniture

"Place felt pads under furniture legs to prevent them from scratching the floor when moved,” says Khachani. It takes only a moment to cut these nonslip furniture pads to fit under chair legs and tables. They are scored to make cutting them clean and fast. The nonslip rubber will keep furniture from sliding and will prevent expensive damage to the floors.


Add corner guards to furniture to protect you walls

"To protect walls from damage,” suggests Khachani, “consider installing corner guards in high-traffic areas to prevent dents and dings from furniture or other objects." This 16-pack of corner protector guards soften the edges of tables and door corners while protecting them and the walls they might hit with a soft, clear silicone bumper.


Protect walls from scuffs in high-traffic areas

Stick a door handle stopper behind every door where the knob might slam into the wall, too. These clear, springy bumpers silence the door and stop the walls from getting damaged by the impact of the doorknob. They are a handy way to quiet a loud toilet seat cover, too. They come in three sizes.


Use adhesive hooks to hang things

"You can also use removable adhesive hooks instead of nails or screws to hang pictures and other decorations, reducing the risk of holes and damage,” says Khachani. These clear Command wall hooks are easy to use and super strong so you can hang bags, towels, jackets, or art from them. They won’t leave a mark when you remove them, though.


Use surge protectors to protect your appliances

"Investing in preventative products such as surge protectors, leak detectors, and window weatherproofing can save you from costly repairs down the line,” advises Khachani. This surge-protecting power strip will prevent power surges from frying expensive electronics and appliances and — because each plug rotates — make it easy to utilize every plug, no matter how beefy the power bricks are. It comes in black and white.


Install a leak detector to prevent water damage

"Leak detectors can alert you to potential water leaks before they cause significant damage,” says Khachani. Set this Wi-Fi water sensor under your water heater or kitchen sink. It will alert you, directly to your phone, if there is water where it shouldn’t be so you don’t discover a hidden disaster long after the damage has been done.


Weatherproof your windows

"Window weatherproofing helps improve energy efficiency and protects against drafts and moisture infiltration,” says Khachani. And it is so easy to do. Peel and stick this weatherstrip around door and window frames and let the fluffy and thick fabric keep air from leaking through. Your home will be more comfortable and quieter.


Insulate exposed pipes in cold weather

One more piece of advice? "Insulate exposed pipes to prevent freezing during cold weather, which can lead to bursts and leaks,” says Khachani. This is as easy as wrapping a gift if you use this pipe wrap insulation that peels and sticks as you press it around pipes. It’s easy to cut and comes in five sizes.


Don't pour cooking oil down pipes

"Avoid pouring grease or oil down drains, as they can solidify and cause clogs," warns Khachani. Bacon grease is particularly bad for your drains as it turns to a solid as it cools. Use this bacon grease container to pour the grease out of your pan and store it. That saved bacon-flavored fat makes an excellent oil for frying eggs or popping popcorn.


Keep your gutters clear

"To protect the exterior of your home, keep gutters clean and free from debris to prevent water from pooling and causing damage to the roof and siding,” says Khachani. You will need tools for this. This gutter-cleaning wand is a great start. Connect it to your hose and stand on the ground while it reaches up to those gutters and blasts them clean.


Trim trees to avoid roof damage

"Trim trees and bushes away from the house to prevent branches from scratching or damaging the exterior," says Khachani. For high or large branches, you will need to call an expert. But low branches are easy to lop away with this tree trimmer. The long handles give you additional reach and the heavy-duty blades can handle branches up to 2 inches in diameter.


Inspect your foundation for cracks and seal them

"Regularly inspect the foundation for cracks and seal any gaps to prevent water intrusion and structural damage,” says Khachani. Walk around with this asphalt filler and sealant in your hand so you can shoot it into any problem areas to stop them from getting worse or causing damage. It has great adhesion and an elastic result.


Protect hardwood floors from scrapes with furniture pads

"My top tip for preventing damage to hardwood floors is to use felt pads or furniture glides under the legs of your furniture,” says Tommy Mello, founder of A1 Garage Door Service. Set the table legs or chair legs into these caster cups for a stable approach to the problem that’s as easy as putting coasters under an icy glass. These will stop chairs from sliding around, too. They come in seven sizes.


Avoid excess moisture in your space

"Additionally, regular cleaning and avoiding excess moisture can help maintain the integrity of your hardwood floors,” says Mello. You can keep an eye on the humidity levels in your space easily with this indoor room thermometer and humidity gauge that records the highs and lows so you can see if spikes are happening when you aren’t home.


Opt for adhesive hooks where you'd normally drill

"One easy hack for protecting walls from damage is to use removable adhesive hooks instead of nails or screws when hanging pictures or decorations,” says Mello. This four-pack of peel-and-stick hooks is a good choice. They can hold up to 15 pounds, look decorative, and remove easily with the heat of a hairdryer. “These hooks are gentle on your walls and won't leave behind holes or marks when you decide to rearrange or remove them," he says.


Clean gutters & prevent clogs

"Finally, I'd recommend homeowners stay proactive with regular home maintenance tasks such as cleaning gutters, servicing HVAC systems, and inspecting roofing for any signs of damage,” says Mello. Save yourself some work when it comes to the gutters by installing this gutter guard to prevent debris from building up in and clogging them. It creates a sloped barrier that debris can slide off while letting water through.


Leave a shoe try inside your home

"For avoiding scuff marks from shoes, the best method is to keep people from walking on them [wearing shoes,]” says Brandon Walker, superintendent at ASAP Restoration LLC. “Keep a tray near the door to hold dirty shoes so that people know to take them off right when they enter the door." It doesn’t have to be fancy. This $15 shoe tray is perfect for the job, stopping water from seeping through to the floor below.


Use quality floor cleaners to keep wood floors clean

"When cleaning hardwood floors,” says Walker,“it is [important] to use products that aren’t going to damage the floor or the protective coatings on them. It’s usually best to avoid harsh chemicals or solvents that might denature the sealant or the wood itself." This plant-based, no-chemical, vinegar wash is gentle and effective. And it smells like lavender.


Control humidity in your home

"Controlling humidity in the home is an important step in protecting the lifespan of hardwood floors for the long term,” says Walker. “If the air is too moist, then the wood will absorb too much water vapor, and in some cases, this can cause warping, splintering, buckling, and even complete failure." To prevent this, invest in a dehumidifier with a humidity sensor that will keep the room at the right moisture level. This one can remove up to 50 pints of moisture per day and will turn itself off when the room reaches the right atmospheric humidity. It comes with a drainage hose so you don't have to remember to empty it.


Protecting floors from sun damage

"Avoid letting hardwoods get exposed to too much sunlight,” says Walker. “It may not seem like a potential way that your floors could become damaged, but in reality, sunlight is an extremely destructive force in the right conditions." Hang these room-darkening curtains so you can pull them closed when the sun beats into the room. This will make your space more comfortable and pretty while protecting your floors. They come in 36 colors and every imaginable size. Or you can request a custom size.


Put furniture guards on every surface to protect your painted walls

"To protect walls most easily and affordably, install some corner guards to take those odd hits from moving furniture and other objects around hallways and other areas that are prone to damage,” says Walker. These clear furniture bumpers are perfect for the job. Just peel and stick them to anything likely to hit the walls and they will soften the impact. They come in a variety of sizes.


Regularly scoop out your gutters

Stay on top of cleaning your gutters, says Walker. "They’re boring. They’re dirty. They’re a pain to clean. But they will keep your home safe from disasters. Gutters help to prevent large quantities of water from collecting on your roof and pooling there," he says. This chore is easier with the right tool. This gutter scoop is designed to fit into that narrow area and has a high handle so you don’t scrape up your hands.


Install a sump pump if you're prone to flooding

"If your home has a basement or any subterranean level to it,” says Walker, “you may need to have a sump pump for when heavy rains hit to prevent flooding.” This one moves 2000 gallons of water per hour, turns on when there is water, and turns off again when the sensor stops detecting water. You can also put it into manual service if an appliance fails and floods a room. “If your basement or subterranean living space has the potential to be inundated with water, a sump pump will prevent it from ever collecting in the first place and keep your home safe and dry."


Swap in GCFI outlets

“Swap out your standard outlets, especially in rooms with water, with this GFCO outlet,” says Walker. "GFCI outlets help to protect you from electrical shocks and help to reduce the risk of electrical fires caused by faulty wiring,” he explains. “They are slightly more expensive than regular outlets, but for kitchens, bathrooms, or any space with excessive moisture, they can help to prevent disaster from happening."


Install motion-sensing lights outdoors

To make your outdoor spaces safer, add some motion-sensing solar spot lights that come on when anyone goes near them. They are solar powered so they are zero maintenance after you stick them in the ground. "Motion lighting can save a home and its occupants from dangerous people,” says Walker. “Or even just the neighborhood wildlife from using your home and property as a dark safe-haven in the middle of the night. "


Add motion-sensing lights indoors, as well

"Motion-activated lighting is extremely effective at preventing crime, so if you live in an area prone to prowlers, an affordable motion light might be the most effective defense,” says Walker. This goes for your interior, too. Replace the outlet cover plate with this version with built-in motion-detecting LED night lights so that lights come on if anyone moves around. This will eliminate the element of surprise from that prowler’s toolkit.


Add an entryway rug to protect your floors

"Place rugs or mats near entryways to catch dirt and debris before they can be carried throughout the house and scratch walls or furnishings,” suggests Asif Bux, owner and service manager of Comfort Union. This will reduce the time you spend cleaning and, if the rug is pretty, add an element of beauty. This washable rug is soft underfoot, absorbent, and gorgeous. When it gets dirty, toss it in the wash.


Put leak detectors near appliances that could leak

"Installing water leak detectors near appliances like washing machines, dishwashers, water heaters, and under sinks can alert you to leaks before they cause major water damage,” says Bux. You can spend a lot of money on this for connected and intelligent versions. “Some advanced models can even shut off the water supply if a leak is detected,” he says. You can also place lots of these affordable and simple leak detectors — this is a two-pack — around your house. It sounds an audible alarm when it senses water.


Protect areas that are prone to leaks

While you are thinking about potential leaks, take a moment to protect areas that are most prone to water intrusion. Place this under sink mat under the sink so that if a pipe leaks or breaks, your expensive wooden cupboards won’t take the hit. It offers a waterproof barrier so you can clean up the water before it damages anything. It comes in two sizes and four colors.


Ensure your detectors are functioning

It’s always smart to check in on your detectors, says Bux. “Ensuring that these detectors are installed and functioning properly is crucial for safety.” Use this canned smoke detector test to make sure your fire alarms are operating correctly and you are getting the most protection from them. “[Your sensors] provide early warning of smoke or carbon monoxide, which can be lifesaving in an emergency." But only if they are operating correctly.


Install automatic foundation vents near your crawl space

"Automatic foundation vents can help reduce moisture buildup in your crawl space,” says Bux, “which prevents mold growth and structural damage." This version comes in brown, which is a nice option if you are trying to match it to wood. It installs easily and securely with four screws.


Install smart home security systems

Connected systems like Blink have made it easy and affordable to install a security system. Place this outdoor security camera at a doorway or garage to be alerted whenever anyone approaches and see what they are up to. It connects to a system of components — doorbell cameras, indoor cameras, and more — to secure your entire home. "These systems not only protect against intruders but often include features like remote monitoring and alerts for open windows and doors, helping you manage security risks more effectively,” says Bux.


Regularly clean your drain protectors

"Regularly clean drain stoppers and use hair catchers in showers and bathtubs to prevent hair and soap buildup,” says Bux. If you don’t already have a strainer in the shower drain, drop this TubShroom in there. It lets water through but catches hair before it can cause a clog and it’s easy to clean. Clear it frequently to keep your pipes from clogging and keep your water from building up.


Don't flush things you're not supposed to

"Avoid flushing anything other than toilet paper down toilets,” warns Bux. “Things like wipes, cotton swabs, and feminine hygiene products can cause blockages." Keep this motion sensor trash can near the toilet so no one is tempted to get rid of something at the expense of your plumbing. It is slender enough to fit in a small space and opens automatically when it senses motion above the lid.


Be careful what you let down your kitchen sink

"Keep grease, coffee grounds, and food scraps out of kitchen drains; consider composting or disposing of them in the trash instead," says Bux. This hanging kitchen trash can makes it easy to scrape plates and cutting boards into it to catch kitchen debris. It hooks over a cupboard door or stands on the counter and holds just over 2 gallons. It collapses out of the way when it’s not needed.


Mind your water usage to reduce the load on your septic system

"Conserve water to reduce the load on the septic system,” says Bux. “This can be achieved by fixing leaks and using water-efficient fixtures." This water-saving showerhead is a good place to start. It delivers an excellent shower experience — in an assortment of spray styles — while using less water than standard fixtures. It comes in three finishes.


Consider installing a water softener if you have hard water

"If you have hard water, consider installing a water softener to prevent mineral buildup in your pipes and appliances, which can cause damage and inefficiencies over time,” recommends Bux. This Aquasure Harmony reduces water hardness and eliminates scale to all the water in your house and allows you to program auto-flush intervals based on the quality of your water and how much of it you use.


Make sure your plumbing has backflow prevention

"Ensure that your plumbing system has a backflow prevention device if needed, particularly if you have irrigation systems or water is used in conjunction with chemical applications,” says Bux. You can DIY this by screwing this backflow preventer onto the spigot you connect your hoses to. “Regularly test and maintain the device as per local regulations,” he suggests.