Now that you have purchased your very first home, there are a few things to keep in mind. Remember, there will be no “building manager” or landlord to take care of things for you.
First things first. Locate your fuse box. Does it use fuses or have switches? Label each switch to corresponding outlets, if not done already. It’s always a good idea to turn the switches off and on a few times so you’re used to how stiff they can be.
Water, water everywhere! Find the turn-off valve inside the house so minor floods don’t become a major problem. Also, locate the toilet turn-off valve. Check to see if you will be able to turn off the outside faucets in the winter. (Hint: you may have to leave one outside faucet dripping during the cold months so you don’t burst any pipes during freezes.) Find the water meter and make sure it is functioning. If you have a garbage disposal, find the red reset button on the unit under the sink, in case it stops working.
Keep warm and toasty. It’s important to know where the furnace is and how it operates. Do you have a maintenance contract for repairs? If not, can you get one? Where do you get replacement filters? (Hint: buy a couple of them because you never seem to need a replacement when the store is open.) Locate the reset button and label it. Does the furnace have a fan for cooling the house in the summer? Where are the thermostats for controlling the temperature? It’s important to find the main shut off valve for any source of energy for your heating.
Curl up by the fire. Make sure the fireplace flue is cleaned every one to three years, depending on how much you use it. Otherwise, the chimney may not draw well and “smoke gets in your eyes”. A clogged chimney can cause a fire.
There’s nothing like a hot bath. Check the water heater to see if it has a pilot light. If it goes out, how do you re-light it? Find out how to set the temperature and what that temperature should be set to.
Finally your own washer and dryer! Clean the lint tray on the dryer after every load. It will build up and slow down the drying process. In addition, too much dry lint can cause a fire. If your washer drains directly to a utility sink, place a filter on the end of the hose to keep from clogging your sink.
How about a cold one? At least twice a year, clean the water tray under your frostless refrigerator and vacuum the coils at the back now and then to keep it cooling effectively. (Hint: check the seal around the doors of your refrigerator to make sure no cool air is escaping. If there is moisture on the rubber seal, you’ve got a faulty seal.)
Now open that cold one and toast to your new home!