House Maintenance Tips
A must-do in the islands
Hurricane season runs from June-November. Be sure to have your survival kit replenished and ready before summer begins. Check that you have all necessary items and tools that you’ll need to secure your home in the event of hurricane-force winds.
Regular home inspection
Conduct a regular inspection of your home to identify any problem areas to be addressed. Sometimes it helps to schedule these inspections to coincide with memorable events, such as: first week of the new year, winter break, spring break, spring cleaning week, etc.
Educate everyone in your household on the location and use of gas shut-off valve, water shut-off valve, main circuit breaker, fire extinguishers, fire escape routes. Post in a prominent area of your home a list of contact numbers for emergencies, in addition to 911 for police, fire, or ambulance.
Here’s a few for utility services on Kaua`i:
Department of Water Trouble Calls: 245-5444 (during business hours) 241-6711 (after hours)
The Gas Company: 245-3301
Hawaiian Telcom Repair Services: 611
Kauai Island Utility Cooperative (KIUC): 246-4300 (during business hours) 246-8200 (after hours)
Oceanic Time Warner Cable: 245-7720
Builder Bob’s Tips
- Does your project require a permit? The State of Hawai`i and the County of Kaua`i have different regulations for various types of work done at your home. Check with the County Building Division on the scope of your project to determine whether or not you need a permit. Visit http://www.kauai.gov/default.aspx?tabid=454 more information on obtaining a building permit.
- When working on a construction project at your home, remember that staying hydrated is important, especially here in Hawai`i.
- Are you painting a part of your house, interior or exterior? If you are using a small bucket of paint poured from your larger paint bucket and need to call it a day but have paint left over, never fear! You don’t need to pour it back into the bigger container, just put plastic wrap over your small bucket and refrigerate it for use the next day!
- Want to give your interior walls a different, more unique look? Consider painting one wall as an accent wall. Choose one wall in your home to paint a different color from your other walls. Select a bold, vibrant color for a contemporary look.
- Want to get creative? Try using some of these faux finishing paint techniques in one or more of the rooms at your home: strie, ragging, color washing, parchment, striping. You can do it yourself for only the cost of paint, and brushes/trays/buckets if needed. Home Depot has great brochures and books to show you how to take on a creative paint project. Or, check out the internet for more do-it-yourself sources.
- Work safe! Always wear closed-toe shoes and clothing appropriate for your job. When working on your roof, work with a buddy or tie off to prevent serious accidents.
- Check your tools and equipment routinely and maintain regularly. Doing so will prevent unnecessary injury from faulty tools and equipment.
- Doing a big job at home? Make sure you have the proper equipment. Consult a local home improvement store for advice. If you don’t have the equipment to get the job done, save money by renting the tools instead of buying them.
- Do you need to make a critical repair to your home? You may qualify for Kaua`i Habitat’s Repair and Renovation Program, which was launched in 2011.
Tips for Maintaining Good Credit
- Check your credit report from one of the main consumer reporting agencies (Equifax, Experian, Transunion) at least once a year.
- Stick to a budget to help manage your spending and savings.
- Pay your bills on time every time. Allow extra time for mailing your payment before the due date, or set up online and/or automatic payments.
- Pay your credit card bill in full every month, or at least make the minimum monthly payment.
- Add a few dollars to your minimum monthly credit card payment to help reduce your balance.
- Stay under your credit limit.
Ways to Reduce Electric Bill
Tired of high electric bills? Try these simple changes.
- Replace your existing incandescent light bulbs with energy efficient CFL or LED light bulbs.
- Did you know? Electronics and appliances that are always plugged in will continue to draw some electrical power. Put your entertainment center electronics on 1 power strip and turn the strip off when leaving the house.
- Have an electric water heater?
– Consider putting on a thermal blanket for the water heater which will reduce heat loss.
– Install a timer to enable your heater to turn on and off at the times you specify.
– Turn your water heater to “pilot” or “vacation” when leaving the house and turn on again when you get back home.
– Reduce the temperature of your heater by a few degrees.
Kaua`i Island Utility Co-op (KIUC) has programs in place to help you control your monthly bills. Click here for more information on the Energy Wise Programs.
For more homeowner resources visit our Kaua`i Habitat for Humanity Blog.