Did you recently purchase a new home? If so, congratulations! We know that this was a huge investment for you and your family, and we’re excited for you and all the memories you’ll be making there. We’re sure that you also know much extra responsibility comes with owning a home.
Before purchasing your home, your family may have rented or leased a property. If that was the case, your landlord was likely responsible for handling necessary repairs and maintenance work. Now that you are the owner of your home, these tasks will fall on you. Understandably, this may seem overwhelming — you don’t have to just worry about unpacking all the piled-up boxes in every room, but you also may feel like you have a huge weight on your shoulders since you have many additional tasks to take on as a homeowner.
Rest assured knowing that owning a home will be a wonderful experience for you and your family, and we’ve put together a guide to help you understand what you can do to help protect your new home.
Know the age of your appliances
If you’re moving from an apartment, townhome, or condo, you may not have appliances to take with you into your new place. You may need to make a trip to the local appliance store to purchase a new washer, dryer, oven, refrigerator, and anything else you may need to make your house a home. In this case, make note of the date when you purchased the appliances, so you’ll know when the manufacturer’s warranties expire, and so you know when to perform maintenance work on them — e.g., every few months, you need to clean your fridge coils, and each month you need to clean the lint out of the dryer hose/vent/trap.
If you’re bringing appliances from your last residence, it’s good to know how old they are — in case they’re nearing the time when replacement is necessary. Many people may not realize that appliances from years ago are not as efficient as the models available today. As a result, using them may be costing you more on your monthly energy bills. And, let’s face it, buying a home costs a lot of money — you’re likely looking for any opportunity to decrease your monthly costs.
Along with newly purchased appliances and those you’re bringing with you, take into consideration the age of the air conditioner and furnace in your new home. If the old homeowner hadn’t replaced them in quite some time (over 10 years), then it may be approaching the time to replace them with newer, more energy efficient models.
If you’re worried about the cost of purchasing both a new furnace and an air conditioner, you may be in luck. Many installers offer discounts or rebates when homeowners purchase both systems at the same time. Not only that, but these new units will help pay for themselves in the long run with the savings you’ll receive by running them instead of the old, not-as-efficient units.
Understand how to maintain and care for your service lines
As a homeowner, you should know the condition of your water service line, sewer service line, natural gas line, and electrical lines. It’s wise to have these things checked by a professional ahead of moving in, if possible, so that you can rest assured knowing they’re in good condition. If a problem that requires a repair or replacement is discovered, it can be taken care of before your family moves in.
After moving in, have these service lines inspected by a professional on a routine basis. Your natural gas lines should be checked on an annual basis, and your water and sewer lines may also need to be checked yearly if the previous homeowner provided any information on frequent clogs or blockages. If there hasn’t been a history of problems, you could have these lines checked less frequently. The same can be said for your electrical lines. If they were in decent shape when you moved in, you won’t need to have them inspected yearly — but don’t forget about them! Routine inspections to all these lines could help prevent a disaster in your family’s home.
To maintain these lines, schedule inspections as necessary. And for the health of your drain and sewer lines, be mindful of what you’re flushing or washing down the sink. Never flush the following: baby wipes, diapers, cotton balls, cotton swabs, flushable wipes (even if the packaging indicates that they’re flushable — they really aren’t), cigarette butts, feminine hygiene products, or medication. Also, never wash the following down the drain: eggshells, butter/margarine, cooking oils, grease, cake/cookie dough batter, or coffee grounds.
Check your home’s exterior
When it comes to caring for your home, you should also be knowledgeable as to what condition its exterior is in. This means that you should look at your roof, gutters, siding, windows, shutters, and paved surfaces. If anything needs to be repaired or replaced, plan for when you want to undertake such a job. Understandably, making these improvements comes with a price tag, however don’t forget about your new home’s exterior. Start planning a budget for taking care of any of these necessary projects before the problem(s) get any worse.
Additionally, check the framing around your windows and doors. If you notice areas where there’s damage to the sealant/weatherstripping, get them replaced as soon as possible. When you have gaps in these areas, hot/cold air from outside can easily get in and conditioned air from inside your home can escape. This doesn’t just make for an uncomfortable home, but it may be causing your air conditioner or furnace to work overtime to maintain the temperature set on your thermostat. If you notice damaged areas, be sure to make note of them and use weatherstripping/sealant materials from your local hardware or home improvement store to get them taken care of.
Make sure your home is safe
Finally, we want to mention some steps you can take to be sure your home is safe. Check to see if your new place has adequate smoke and carbon monoxide (CO) detectors installed — you should have these alarms outside each bedroom in your home, as well as in the basement (if you have one). If you don’t have enough detectors in working order, now is the time to get them set up.
Also, if the home is equipped with battery-powered smoke and CO alarms, install fresh batteries. If they’re wired, be sure that the wiring is in good condition. If you notice any fraying or other damage, consult a professional to get the problem areas replaced.
Also make sure that you have new fire extinguishers ready to use should you ever need them. It’s recommended that you have at least one on each floor of your home, including in the basement.
Want extra help maintaining your home?
Consider enrolling in the protection programs of Oncourse Home Solutions! We offer a variety of home warranty plans for your vital lines, systems, and appliances — plans that will prove handy when it comes to repairing or maintaining them when needed.
Want to learn more? Visit us online and enter your ZIP code to get started. If you have questions or concerns, call us anytime, or you can chat with a customer service representative on our website by clicking the “Click to Chat” tab on the right side of the page during standard business hours.