Columbia workshop offers advice for home maintenance

Saturday, December 4, 2010 | 4:49 p.m. CST; updated 9:03 p.m. CST, Saturday, December 4, 2010
Michael Goldschmidt leads the city's Homeworks Home Maintenance Training workshop on Saturday.

COLUMBIA — DeeDee Folkerts has lived in the same house for seven years. Folkerts, an office manager and childbirth educator, says home care is an essential duty, but it can sometimes cost a lot of money.

"My house is very old and has some repair issues," said Folkerts, 37. "We have a limited budget and we want to save money."

Home care tips

  • Write down your plan.
  • Safety first.
  • One thing at a time.
  • Follow directions.
  • Gather supplies and tools.
  • Measure twice, cut once.
  • Control your temper.
  • Don't force anything.
  • Use tools you know.
  • See the job through.

Goldschmidt also recommended some essentials for basic toolboxes:

  • Pliers.
  • Hammer.
  • Putty knife.
  • Level.
  • Adjustable wrench.
  • Locking pliers.
  • Flathead screwdriver.
  • Phillips head screwdriver.
  • Screws and nails.
  • Tape.

The City of Columbia hosted the Homeworks Home Maintenance Training workshop Saturday to help residents keep costs down. It covered topics including routine cleaning, periodic inspections, do-it-yourself repairs and tips for maintaining a healthy home and managing energy.

Michael Goldschmidt, housing and environmental design extension specialist at MU, has taught the workshop for ten years and said he still finds it very educational. The work sessions, held four times a year, are financed with federal funds, Goldschmidt said.

"It helps you with issues you have now in your house but it could also answer questions that you may have in the future about maintenance, care and repair," he said.

Folkerts said Goldschmidt was an excellent teacher and that the workshop helped her.

"I was very impressed with the workshop," Folkerts said. "It is the kind of community program that we need."

"I usually call contractors because I do not have a lot of knowledge," she said. "I want to learn, even though there are certain things, like electrical stuff, that I will never do myself."

Deanna Eubanks, 43, a full-time business student, agreed.

"Nobody likes cleaning, but I like the results and it has to be done," she said.

Goldschmidt said a cleaning routine is important to avoid repairs and health problems. To be effective, though, homeowners should know which surfaces need to be cleaned, understand the stains that should be removed and choose the right product for the job.

Goldschmidt added that homeowners should conduct seasonal or annual inspections to find any damage.

"You have to do a top-to-bottom inspection once a while," he said. "This is especially important after a significant weather accident."

Goldschmidt said homeowners could do those inspections and home repairs themselves in many cases, sometimes as well as contractor would.

The best thing to do is to keep a simple tool kit, he said.

"A basic tool kit is the perfect wedding present," Goldschmidt said. "It allows you to fix everything temporarily."

But Goldschmidt said an expert is required sometimes.

"In the city of Columbia all the electrical work should be done by licensed electrician," he said, adding that heating and cooling jobs and plumbing work should also be handled by professionals.

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