Owning a home is the American dream, but it is also a big responsibility. While some only think of the financial impact of being a homeowner, there is another equally important area to consider – maintenance.
Maintaining your home is the best way to ensure that your home weathers well and serves you for years to come. If you are new to homeownership, then you may not know where to start. This is especially true if you come from apartment living.
Here are a few important things that every homeowner should know to help protect and preserve their largest investment.
Where your main water cutoff is located
Your home is unique, but most of the time the main water shutoff is typically outside, attached to a wall or underground if you’re in warmer climates. If you live in colder climates, then it’s typically in the basement. Keep in mind, there is also a “curb stop” shutoff, which requires a special tool to operate.
Where your electrical breaker box is located
In some regions, it’s typical to put breaker boxes on the backside of the house in a protected box. This is usually at the point where the electrical supply enters the home. In some houses, you’ll have break boxes in utility rooms, laundry rooms, or the basement.
Where your gas shut-off is located
Most of the time, the gas shut-off valve is beside the gas meter. You will need a wrench to turn the valve, so make sure you do this ahead of time. Appliances that use gas often have their own shut-off valves as well. Locate these when you move in – don’t wait for an emergency!
How to use smoke detectors
If you’ve rented homes or apartments, then you may not have paid much attention to some detectors. As a homeowner, it’s on you to make sure they are installed and working right. You’ll want them near all sleeping areas, in the kitchen, and in living spaces. Check the batteries twice a year.
How to use carbon monoxide detectors
Carbon monoxide is a product of combustion, and if not ventilated properly it can create a deadly poison. You can install carbon monoxide detectors near all sleeping areas, and in areas near heat-producing appliances. Check the batteries twice a year.
Changing air filters
You’ll need to change the air filter on your HVAC system monthly. Most of the time, the air filter can be found in the return air duct or blower compartment before the return air reaches the air handler. This allows the filter to clean the air before it gets to the HVAC unit.
If you aren’t sure where to start or need help locating these important parts of your home, then you should consult a professional. They can give you the information you need to care for your home properly, setting you up for years of happy homeownership.