Moving into a new house? Here are 15 things you need to do ASAP
The minute you walk in to your new home, your mind will be racing with to-dos. Keep this overwhelming task list at bay by keeping a notebook in a central location and write down every action item you or your family thinks of throughout the day. After 24 hours cut the list off, and prioritise each item with a 1, 2, or 3.
First priority should be items completed that week – such as safety concerns, cleaning, unpacking essentials, etc. Priority two should be tasks completed within the next two months – related to organization, maintenance and remaining unpacking. Priority three tasks should be non-essentials, but improvements and projects you’d like to complete within the year – renovations, landscaping, and large purchases.
Intimidated by this seemingly daunting project? Don’t be. If you have the will and a whole day (or two) to yourself, you can refinish the hardwood floors in the major areas of your home. You don’t necessarily need to sand, but if the floor is damaged enough to warrant buffing, check out your local hardware store and rent the equipment for anywhere from 4-48 hours.
A clogged lint screen or dryer duct drastically reduces the efficiency of your dryer, whether it’s gas or electric. Clean the lint screen after each load and clean the exhaust duct once a year.
A dirty lint screen can cause the dryer to use up to 30 percent more electricity, according to the Consumer Energy Center. Lint build-up is also a common cause of fires.
Dry loads of laundry back-to-back so the dryer doesn’t cool down between loads (a warm dryer uses less energy). And only run the dryer until the clothes are dry. Overdrying damages your clothes and runs up your electric bill.
One of the fastest ways to create problems with a forced-air heating and cooling system is to forget to replace the filter. Locate the furnace filter and buy replacements if the previous owners didn’t leave you a stash. Replace the filter (and get in the habit of doing it every month).
A little sweat equity now will help both your wallet and your comfort level later when summer’s heat sets in. Most of the job can be done without the help of a professional, and by servicing and testing out your cooling system now, you will have plenty of time to make an appointment with an air conditioning contractor if there’s any unforeseen issues. After cutting off the electricity to the unit, vacuum the outdoor condenser’s exterior fins with a soft-bristled brush, and clear away bushes, weeds and overgrown grass within close range of the unit. Indoors, replace the furnace filter on the evaporator unit, vacuum the blower compartment, and clean the condensation drain.
Know where your main water shutoff valve is in case you need to shut off the water to your entire house in an emergency. Have a trial at turning this on and off so you know what you’re doing before a situation calls for swift action.
It’s good to familiarise yourself with the farthest corners of your home. Check for leaks, bugs and other pests, mould and other issues that you should address sooner rather than later.
You won’t be able to make all of the home improvements you want to make right away and it’s best to live in your home for at least a couple of months before starting any major projects. Something that seems like a must-do when you first move in may quickly fall to the bottom of the wishlist after you’ve actually lived in your home for awhile. So, choose one room that doesn’t require too much work and make that space your new-home getaway. You’ll have a place, in your colours and style, where you can relax and dream about the day when every room in your home is just the way you want it.
It’s wise to reach out and extend a friendly gesture to your neighbours as soon as possible. You want to know those around you so that everyone can look out for each other. It’s hard to know if a situation is suspicious if you don’t know the people involved. Establishing yourself in your neighbourhood can also give you access to inside information, like who’s the best plumber in the area and which roofing company to avoid. Even if you’re an introvert, you’ll be happiest if you’re in good standing with your neighbours.
It’s important that you know where your smoke and CO detectors are located and that you make sure they are working. Smoke alarms may be the cheapest, easiest and most effective means for protecting your family and your home from a fire, as long as they’re functioning. Learn where smoke detectors should be located, how to maintain them and when to replace them.
Pour water into it to make sure it works. The most common time for a sump pump to fail is the first heavy rainfall after months of not being used. The submerged or partially submerged portions of cast iron pumps can rust and seize. And they’ll burn out when they switch on. Don’t get caught with your pump down and the water rising. After a long dry (unused) spell, pour a bucket or two of water into the sump to make sure the pump kicks on. And do you have sump pump backup? A good sump pump installation should include a backup system for breakdowns and power outages.
If you don’t have keyless locks, be sure to hide a house key so you don’t get locked out. Consider a location other than under the welcome mat, like in a garden hose or under a flower pot.
Keeping doors and windows locked is your first line of defence. Make wireless alarms your second. Burglars hate noises, so even a small alarm usually sends them running. The alarms are available at home centres. The alarms don’t provide the same security as pro-installed monitored systems since the wireless devices are activated by doors or windows opening (not glass breaking). Use the alarms for doors and windows in ‘hidden’ areas of the house where you don’t normally gather and that are often dark. Attach the alarm to the door or window (with a screw or double-sided tape) alongside the magnetic contact strip (they don’t have to be touching, but within one centimetre.). When the door or window opens, breaking magnetic contact, the alarm shrieks (these little units have a piercing alarm). The door alarm has a delay feature, giving you time to set the alarm and leave, then open the door and deactivate the unit when you come home, without setting it off. The window unit has an on/off switch. The alarms will work on any door or window, and the batteries last two to three years.
Buy a ring binder and keep insurance papers, repair receipts and all other paperwork pertaining to the house in it. Storing all your house information in one handy place makes life easier for the homeowner and can be a sales ‘plus’ when selling the house later.
These are additional things you don’t need to do immediately, but doing them keeps you ahead of potential problems. Install a whole house surge protector to prevent your plug-in electronics from voltage surges. Replace traditional rubber washing machine hoses with no-burst hoses to prevent a costly flood.
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Source: Family Handyman