New Homeowner's Guide to Caring for Systems, Lines, and Appliances

Congratulations on owning your first home! This is an exciting time for you and your family, and you may be wondering what your responsibilities will include when it comes to maintaining your home’s vital systems, lines, and appliances. These vital items include your heating and cooling systems; laundry room and kitchen appliances; and your water, sewer, and natural gas lines.

It may seem overwhelming to have so many new and potentially challenging tasks to handle when it comes to the upkeep of your family’s abode. Previously, it was the landlord’s responsibility to make sure that your pipes weren’t clogged, your furnace and air conditioner were functioning efficiently, and your washer, dryer and kitchen appliances were all working as they should. However, now that you are the property owner, all these tasks fall on you.

To help ease your mind, we’ve put together a helpful guide to ease you into your new homeowner role.

Schedule annual tune-up appointments

To ensure that your heating and cooling systems are working as well as possible, schedule yearly maintenance appointments. During these tune-ups, a professional technician will clean and inspect all working components inside your furnace and AC. If any potential problems are detected, they can be dealt with early — before they lead to an entire breakdown of your system.

Additionally, the HVAC technician will make sure that your units are operating safely. This means that if you have a natural gas-powered heating system, he or she will be sure that there aren’t any natural gas or carbon monoxide (CO) leaks that could cause a hazardous situation for your family. Also, if your furnace uses electricity, the technician will ensure that the wiring is in decent shape without any fraying or damage that could potentially lead to a fire. The same goes for your home’s cooling system — the technician will check the system’s wiring for damage that could lead to a future problem.

When your heating and cooling systems are clean and operating efficiently, they won’t just help to keep your energy bills balanced, but your family will stay comfortable all year. Also, clean-running HVAC systems can help to keep your indoor air, clean healthy and easy to breathe — i.e., allergy-sufferers in your home won’t have to suffer from dirty, dusty air!

Replace appliances as needed

Be mindful of the age of your washer, dryer, refrigerator, stove, cooktop, microwave, etc. As these appliances near the end of their usable life, they no longer operate as well as they once did. This could potentially mean that your clothes take longer to dry, your fridge doesn’t keep your food at a safe temperature, your oven takes forever to heat up, etc. These problems aren’t just a nuisance that may lead to higher-than-normal energy bills, but they could eventually become dangerous when wiring to the units become old and outdated. If you aren’t sure what the usable life is for your appliance, check the owner’s manual or search online for more detailed information specific to the model you own.

Preserve your pipes

You likely haven’t given much thought to the water and sewer lines at your home. However, when there’s a problem with one of these lines, a repair could be quite costly and may also leave you with a dug-up muddy mess of a lawn. To help keep your pipes free from expensive and frustrating clogs, never flush baby wipes, diapers, feminine hygiene products, cigarettes, flushable wipes (they’re not really flushable), cotton balls, paper towels, or medication.

Also, never wash the following down your sink drains: cooking grease, batter, coffee grounds, eggshells, pasta noodles, butter, rice, or paint.

Schedule an inspection for your natural gas lines

If you have appliances such as a clothes dryer, furnace, or cooktop that operate on natural gas, then you have gas lines running to these units. It’s recommended that all homes with natural gas lines be inspected by a professional on an annual basis. During an inspection, the technician will carefully and thoroughly check the lines using a “gas sniffer,” or detector, to be sure they’re safe and don’t have any dangerous leaks which could end up causing a disaster in your family’s home.

Important: If you smell natural gas in your home, leave immediately. Do not operate anything that could cause a spark, including lights, cell phones, flashlights, and appliances. From a safe location, call 911 and your local utility, which will dispatch a crew to check on the source of the odor and make the area safe.

Get help with maintaining your home!

At Oncourse Home Solutions, we provide affordable home protection programs, such as our Gas Line Protection Plan, Heating and Cooling Maintenance Plan, and Outside Water and Outside Sewer Line Protection Plan. Now that you’re moved in, sign up for these plans and get extra help maintaining your family’s most valuable asset — your home.

Have questions about what’s covered or billing options? Give us a call anytime. You can also chat with a customer service representative on our website during standard business hours by clicking the “Click to Chat” tab on the right side of the page.