Home Sweet Home!
Congratulations on closing on your new home! You probably have been planning all of the things that you are going to do once you have finally moved in. Before you start picking out paint swatches and new furniture, give this checklist a quick review.
- Install Smoke detectors and CO detectors
Install your smoke detector on the ceiling close to bedrooms and living areas at least 10 feet away from a cooking appliance (unless that’s how you prefer to announce to your family that dinner is ready). The CO detector should be installed close to bedrooms and living areas on a wall 6 inches above the floor and 6 inches below the ceiling. Place the alarm at least 5 to 15 feet away from fuel-burning appliances. Do not place the unit in dead air spaces or next to a window or door.
- Change locks and garage codes
Even if you get the original set of keys you never know how many copies may be floating around. Give yourself peace of mind and change all of the locks, garage codes, and alarm codes. Tutorials are abundant online if you have the tools and the time to complete the job. If you plan on outsourcing this project to a locksmith, budget between $100 to $250. And don’t forget to make a spare key to give to a friend or family member who lives close by!
- Review breaker box
Not all breaker boxes are labeled correctly. Before you start to do any renovations, make sure that your breaker box is properly labeled. Get a friend or family member to help turn everything on in the house. Communicate with your cell phone as you start turning off breakers one by one to check for accuracy
- Hide a Key
If you have ever been accidently locked out of your house, this can be a lifesaver. It’s important that you put a lot of thought into this one however, as under the welcome mat is a little too easy for other people to find. The best bet is to hide it in a garage that has an exterior keypad. If you don’t have one, get creative!
- Install downspout extensions to your gutters
We wanted to mention this because in our field, this vital functionality of water flow management often gets overlooked. Adding a downspout extension will direct water away from your foundation to water damage or intrusion to your foundation or your basement.
Inspect the caulking around doors, windows, utility penetrations, and around the tub/shower. Remove and replace dry old or damaged caulking to help keep water intrusion at bay.
- Replace the furnace filter
New owners, new filter. Hopefully you were able to see where to change the filter at your home inspection. Go ahead and get a new filter placed no matter the month so you can get on a schedule. Pro Tip: Since this is something you have to do several times a year, tape a small index card with the filter size somewhere around the furnace so you don’t have to go looking for the size everytime you go to the store to replace it
- Find emergency shut off valves
There will be individual shutoff valves for specific appliances and fixtures that need to be noted, but make sure you find the main water shut off valve (usually located in the basement or on an outside wall in a utility area of the house) in case of a plumbing emergency. If you have a gas furnace, it will also have a main or master shut off valve. But remember, if you start to smell gas, don’t turn off. Get out of your house and call the gas company outside from a cell phone.
- Water Heater Temperature
Check the temperature on your water heater, especially if you have young ones, so it won’t accidentally scald. Manufacturers tend to set them high (but the best temperature setting for hot water is 120 degrees)
- Start a Homeowner’s Binder
Designating a specific spot to keep all of your repairs, invoices, warranty information is helpful as a homeowner. If you are a Cellar Door Home Inspection client, we have you covered. We gift Home Maintenance Manuals and Binders when you schedule an inspection with us.
- Use the inspection report as a to-do list
When you get your inspection report back, make sure that you ask as many questions as possible to get a comprehensive plan on all of the fixes and maintenance items you’ll want to tackle your first year living in your new house.
- Receive quarterly reminders in your inbox!
Life can get busy. That’s why we are here to send quarterly reminders straight into your inbox with articles that contain seasonal maintenance checklists and articles that pertain to different aspects of your house to focus on. Sometimes home maintenance can take a back burner when schedules get packed. Let us be a little tap on your shoulder!
Written and Researched by: Carolyn Lander
Cellar Door Home Inspection