If you’re a first-time homeowner, there are some steps you’ll need to take to stay safe and keep the house in good condition. Here are a few important things that homeowners need to know.
Homeowners Need to Know the Location of the Main Water Shut-Off
If you ever experience a plumbing leak, you’ll be glad that you know how to shut off the water to your home. Ask your home inspector where this is or refer to the inspection report. He or she may have made a note of the location of the main water shut-off. If you need to search for the shut-off valve, check the exterior walls of your home. It is often on the side closest to the street.
How to Label the Breaker Box
In case a fuse blows or you need to install a new light fixture, you’ll want to know which fuse powers each area of your home. There may be times when you need to disconnect the power because of an emergency or to make a simple repair. Have a friend help you label the breaker box. Turn all the breakers off and begin flipping them on, one at a time. Communicate via cell phones to make a list of the rooms, outlets, and light fixtures that each breaker controls.
Where the Property Lines Are
If you own a home, you’ll want to know where the property lines are. This is essential information if you decide to install a fence, plant a garden, or build on to your home. Property lines are often marked by metal stakes. You may be able to locate the markers with a metal detector. Check to see if your county has property maps and information available online.
Homeowners Need to Know How to Test Smoke Detectors
Smoke detectors save lives by sounding an early warning in case of fire. Test the smoke detectors in your home every month. These devices have a “test” button that allows you to verify the alarm is still functioning. Change the batteries twice each year.
Schedule HVAC Maintenance
If you rented before buying, your landlord or property management company took care of the heating and cooling system in your home or apartment. As a homeowner, that responsibility is now yours. Set a reminder to schedule HVAC maintenance at least annually, though many homeowners have services performed twice a year: in late spring and fall.
The HVAC professional will clean and test the system and make sure everything is operating as it should. Regular maintenance helps the HVAC unit run more efficiently and will extend its lifespan. Replace your system’s filters every 30 to 90 days or as recommended by the manufacturer.