The secret to a well maintained home is to start your maintenance early, ahem, that means now. Now, don't get nervous, it's not all work, work, work. Doing your home maintenance bit by bit is a great way to accomplish it all, but over time so that there's plenty of room for relaxing too. Also, preventative maintenance now, will reduce the liklihood of unwlecome (many times costly) surprises down the road.
Here are ten great things to do when you first move in!
- Change the locks, reprogram garage door opener codes, and check that all window locks operate properly. If there's a security system, learn how it operates and sign up for any maintenance or monitoring plans that that yours requires.
- Locate emergency shut offs. Know how to shut off the power, water, and gas in your home. Also, know the location of your main and any sub electrical panel boxes.
- Create a "fix it" kit. If you don't have one already, buy a toolbox and stock it with all your frequently used home repair tools and supplies. Click here for ideas about what you should include in your kit. Not only is it a good idea to have tools gathered together for home repairs, but it's also important to have first aid supplies on hand too. We think it's a great idea to combine the two and have a small first aid kit within your toolbox--that way, if injuries do occur, you won't have far to go in order to properly tend to them.
- Service smoke alarms and CO monitors. Smoke alarms and CO monitors need fresh batteries twice annually and full replacement regularly in order to function properly. (Replace smoke alarms, minimum every 8-10 years, and CO monitors minimum every 5 years) Since you may not know the exact age of the devices and batteries in your new home, it's a great idea to start fresh. Learn more about how often batteries and devices should be change (as well as some additional fire prevention tips) here.
- Perform necessary seasonal maintenance. Winter, spring, summer, or fall, there are tasks around the home that, when completed, help the whole season run more smoothly. Get your checklists here, and be off to a great start no matter what time of year you move.
- Change filters in your HVAC system. This will not only help clear out all the dust that’s been kicked up during the move, but a clean filter also helps your system function more efficiently and extends its lifespan.
- Check pilot lights. Check pilot lights on stove, water heater, gas fireplace, and furnace.
- Be sure that hazardous items are stowed away safely (that includes cans of paint). Flammable substances should be kept away from pilot lights, stoves, or water heaters (don’t forget gas dryers). Also, be sure that you are aware of and have identified any substances left behind by the previous owner.
- Learn how to operate and properly maintain any items in the home that are new to you like appliances, fireplaces, the septic tank, garbage disposal, hot tub, etc. You may be unaware of vitally important operation or care instructions that are necessary for proper function and safety. If you don’t have manufacturer owner’s manuals, look them up. Virtually any product manual out there can be downloaded right from the Internet.
- Address the items mentioned in your home inspection report. You may have already addressed big issues, but did your inspector mention any necessary maintenance or smaller repairs that would be necessary upon moving in? That's now! Remember that proactively caring for your home with maintenance and service is the primary way to prevent unwelcome surprises down the road. Reread your report and don’t hesitate to call your inspector to clarify his recommendations or to answer any questions you may have.