You’ve just bought your first house! What an exciting and beautiful time! Now all you need to do is move in and make your new house your home. There’s a lot to be done and if this is your first house you may be unaware of certain things that may result in costly disasters if you don’t have the proper knowledge. Here are a few tips that every first-time homeowner should know:
1. Locate your main water shut off valve. The main water valve is usually located where the water main enters the house. Make sure everyone knows where it is and how to turn it off in case of a water leak or a burst pipe. Hopefully somebody will be home to avert disaster if this happens! Water damage is one of the most common insurance claims.
2. Locate your circuit box. Once you’ve found it, make sure all the breakers are labeled properly. If electrical work of any kind needs to be done, you’ll know exactly which breaker to turn off so that you will not be electrocuted.
3. Need to hang some pictures? Be careful with that drill! There could be plumbing, ductwork, wires or cables behind that dry wall. A stud sensor may be helpful but is not always fool proof. To be sure, drill no more than 1.25 inches into the drywall or plaster. Most pipes and wires will not be at this depth.
4. Don’t dig a hole in your yard for that new tree or bush before calling 811. This number will connect you to the national hotline for safe digging. They will send somebody out to your house and mark all the underground pipes, cables and wires. If you don’t call 811 and your shovel damages any of these underground utilities, you may have to pay for repairs (and hopefully not with your life!).
5. Make sure the ground around your house slopes away from the foundation. It should slope downhill about 6 inches over a span of 10 feet. This will keep rainwater and snowmelt from accumulating and soaking the ground around your house which overtime puts pressure on the foundation walls. Eventually the foundation could develop cracks and bulges and is very costly to repair. You may need to bring in more fill dirt to create the proper slope or any good landscaping company can solve the problem for you. Also, make sure your gutter downspouts extend at least 5 feet away from your house.
They say knowledge is power and that’s definitely the case when you have a new home to maintain and preserve.