New Homeowner? – Your Ultimate Resource Guide

So you’ve just moved into your new home and your almost completely unpacked. Now is the perfect time to walk through your home and check off these necessary tasks.

Here are 10 things to check or do immediately that will keep your home and family safe and reduce maintenance costs of your home.

Change Locks and Make Spare Keys

One of the first things you should do after you move into a new home is change out all of the locks. Copies of you keys may be floating around anywhere, especially if your home is a bit older or was once a rental.

You can quickly hire a locksmith (how much does that cost) to do the work for you, or if you have a bit of handy skills you can do it yourself. If you have inexpensive doorknobs / deadbolts, you can simply replace the entire setup. If you have fancy handles or knobs in which you don’t want to buy an expensive new setup, it’s best to either hire a locksmith or carefully research how to change out the locking mechanism for your specific setup.

Replace Air Filters

Not only should you replace air filters once you move in, but it should be part of your annual home maintenance checklist. Unlike changing out the locks, this one is very simple and anyone can do it. Almost all home air filters are large, flat and rectangular. All you have to do is remove the vent screen, replace the filter, then put the vent screen back on. Be sure you write down the exact size of air filter you need and buy a few of them so you can change it out every 6 months or so. Get more home maintenance tips on our Ultimate Guide To Home Maintenance article.

Get These Items Serviced Or Checked

  • HVAC
  • Hot Water Heater (temp should be at 120F. Any higher and you could be wasting energy)
  • Fireplace / Chimney
  • All Major Appliances
  • Gutters / Property Drainage
  • Stove Ventilation

Deep Clean

It’s much easier to deep clean your home before moving in. If you’ve already moved in, no big deal. Some areas to consider deep cleaning are: carpets, baseboards, grout, stove area / hood, oven, kitchen cabinets, and bathrooms. Once you start taking a closer look, you’ll be surprised how much “gunk” is left over from the previous owners.

Check The Insulation In Your Attic

If you have an unfinished attic, take a look up there and see what’s going on. There should be at least 6 inches (more if you live in the northern part of the United States) thick of insulation between the beams.

If there’s not enough insulation or the insulation you have appears to be damaged – install new insulation. Here’s a great guide from the Department of Energy on attic insulation, including specifics on how much you should have depending on where you live. Many states offer financial incentives, up to a 75% refund for instance, to encourage homeowners to better insulate their homes.

Survey The Plumbing

Check all toilets, under-sink plumbing, and faucets for leaks or constant running. Peek under the basin of all the sinks in your home, just to make sure there aren’t any leaks. If you have leaking pipes or faucets, you should repair or replace any of those immediately, because it’s costing you money as well as bringing mold and rot.

Here’s a simple video on how to fix a running toilet

Convert To Energy Efficient Alternatives

Saving money by converting to energy efficient products only happens when you invest in the changes early on. Consider these changes:

  • Install LED or CFL light bulbs
  • Change to Energy Efficient Appliances (14 ways to be more eco-friendly in your kitchen)
  • Switch to a toilet that uses less water per flush
  • Consider Solar Panels
  • Plant Trees to shade lawn
  • Install an auto drip watering system for outside
  • Seal areas from cold drafts in the winter
  • Install a more energy efficient pool filtering system.
  • Install ceiling fans in rooms
  • Throw a special water heater blanket over water heater

Labeling

Go through all the breakers in your electrical box and label them. Also, label incoming and outgoing pipes, as well as shut-off valves for your water and sewer service. Taking a little bit of time now will make it much easier to diagnose and fix any problems that may arise in the future.

Teach The Family

Make sure everyone in the home knows where everything is. This means fire extinguishers, first-aid kits, water shut off valves, gas shut off valves, etc. Also, make sure you have emergency safety measures for fires, earthquakes and other emergencies. Here are 9 things to teach your children for emergencies.

Install Motion Sensor Lights and Other Burglarproof Systems

Motion sensor lights are one of the most effective ways to keep intruders away from your home at night. Burglars are less likely to wander onto your property if you have these installed.

Other helpful ways to deter burglars include security alarm system, cameras, dogs, beware of dog signs, trimming overgrown shrubs, keeping windows locked, and putting away ladders.

Get To Know The Neighborhood

Now that you’ve settled in, it’s a good time to get to know your neighborhood, the shortcuts to work, the markets, hospitals, schools, vets etc. Get out and go for a drive, bike ride, or walk and really get to know your neighborhood. We also have a great article on some tricks for getting to know your neighbors.

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