Troubleshooting and Fixing 3 Common Home Maintenance Issues

As a homeowner, you may encounter various maintenance issues that require your attention. This article will guide you through detecting, troubleshooting, and fixing three common home problems: broken garbage disposals, sticky locks, and malfunctioning garage doors. By following these step-by-step instructions and tips, you can save time and money by resolving these issues yourself.


Broken Garbage Disposals

Detecting the Problem:

  • The disposal does not turn on when the switch is flipped.
  • There’s a humming sound, but the disposal doesn’t grind.
  • The disposal is leaking water.


  • Check if the disposal is plugged in and the circuit breaker hasn’t tripped.
  • Press the reset button located at the bottom of the unit.
  • Ensure the disposal is not jammed with foreign objects.

Step-by-Step Fix:

  1. Turn off the disposal and unplug it from the outlet.
  2. Use a flashlight to inspect the inside for any debris or foreign objects.
  3. If you find an object, use pliers or tongs to remove it. Never use your hands.
  4. If the disposal is still not working, consider replacing the unit or calling a professional.

Tips: Regularly clean your garbage disposal with a mixture of ice cubes, salt, and cold water to prevent clogs and odors. Avoid disposing of fibrous materials like corn husks and onion skins.

Sticky Locks

Detecting the Problem:

  • The key is difficult to insert, turn, or remove from the lock.
  • The lock feels stiff or catches when turning.


  • Check if the key is damaged or worn.
  • Inspect the lock for dirt or debris buildup.

Step-by-Step Fix:

  1. Spray a small amount of graphite or silicone-based lubricant into the keyhole.
  2. Insert the key and turn it several times to distribute the lubricant.
  3. If the lock is still sticky, remove the lock cylinder and soak it in a vinegar solution for 10-15 minutes.
  4. Rinse, dry, and reassemble the lock before reinstalling it.

Tips: Lubricate your locks every six months to prevent sticking and ensure smooth operation. Avoid using oil-based lubricants as they can attract dirt and cause buildup.

Malfunctioning Garage Doors

Detecting the Problem:

  • The door doesn’t open or close completely.
  • The door reverses direction before fully closing.
  • The remote control or wall switch is not working.


  • Check the garage door sensors for alignment and obstruction.
  • Inspect the door’s tracks, rollers, and springs for damage or wear.
  • Verify that the opener’s settings are correctly adjusted.

Step-by-Step Fix:

  1. Clean the sensor lenses and realign them if necessary.
  2. Tighten any loose hardware on the door, tracks, and opener.
  3. Replace worn or damaged rollers, springs, and other components.
  4. Adjust the opener’s force and travel limits according to the owner’s manual.
  5. If the remote control is not working, replace the batteries or reprogram the remote.

Tips: Regularly inspect and maintain your garage door by lubricating moving parts, tightening hardware, and checking the door balance. Schedule professional maintenance every 1-2 years.

General Home Maintenance Best Practices

To prevent further issues and keep your home in top condition, follow these best practices:

  • Schedule regular inspections and maintenance for major systems like HVAC, plumbing, and electrical.
  • Clean and maintain gutters, downspouts, and roofs to prevent water damage.
  • Seal gaps and cracks around windows, doors, and siding to improve energy efficiency and prevent pest intrusion.

By taking a proactive approach to home maintenance, you can detect and resolve issues before they become major problems, saving time and money in the long run.

image courtesy of wavebreakmedia on Freepik

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