Be the hero your home deserves—knowing these basics could save you big time
Think you’re an expert homeowner just because you know how to turn your sprinklers on and off? Think again! As a new homeowner, there are several other (arguably even more important) things to know about your home. Getting educated about this stuff could save time, money and even your health in the long run. Here’s what you absolutely need to know from day one.
1) How to maintain your water heater
Remember that big old cylindrical contraption in the garage? Yup, that’s your water heater. A lot of homeowners know where their water heaters are (usually the garage or basement), but not many know how to take care of them. On average, these heaters last about 8–10 years before they begin losing efficiency. To lengthen the life of yours, experts recommend cleaning the tank annually.
2) Where your water shut-off valve's located
Be honest, do you know where your water shut-off valve is? If not, it’s a good idea to find out in case you need to turn off the water to fix a minor leak (or worse). This valve will typically be located near the perimeter of your home at ground level, but since every home is different, you may have a tough time identifying it. Be sure to ask the seller about its location before moving in. Also, make sure everyone living in your home knows where it's located. Need help? The video below makes it easy.
3) That you don't need to be an electrician to work a circuit box
If you’re like most homeowners today, you have a lot of electronics. Most people have experienced a power outage in a room due to using too many outlets at once. If you have a properly labeled circuit box, you can simply flip the correct switch and fix the problem. If you haven’t labeled your circuit box, an easy trick is to look for the switch that’s been flipped in the opposite direction of all the others.
4) If it's time to switch thrones
With a little know-how, most toilet issues are easily fixable without having to hire a plumber. If your toilet has weak flushing power, its water level may be at the wrong setting, or it may just need to be thoroughly cleaned. If your water bill has been unusually high, there's a chance that water has been leaking from your toilet's tank straight to the bowl, which can easily waste hundreds of gallons every month if not detected. If your toilet has cracks, is unsteady or if you and your plumber are close friends due to frequent visits, it may be time for a new toilet altogether. If you are upgrading, we recommend considering a low-flow toilet.
5) That you need to make sure your sump pump is always good to go
Simply put, a sump pump’s job is to prevent flooding and maintain a dry home. Your first task would be to find out if your home has a sump pump—they’re typically located in basements and crawl spaces (close to the lowest point of the home). Luckily, these pumps take very little effort to maintain. Here are three things you can do annually to look after your sump pump:
- Make sure there isn’t any debris in your lines
- Make sure the outlet pipes are connected and drain at least 20-30 feet away from your foundation
- Make sure the pump is upright—if it isn't, it may malfunction or not work as efficiently as it could
6) How to keep a clean dryer
According to the US Consumer Product Safety Commission, more than 15,000 fires are caused by clothes dryers each year. Dryers that are cleaned regularly not only run more efficiently but also carry a much lower risk of causing a fire. To clean your dryer, simply clear the vent hose attached to the back of the unit of lint and other debris. Also, make sure you're using an aluminum hose—if your hose is made of white plastic, replace it immediately as they're unsafe and have been outlawed.
7) That you need to maintain your filters
Guess what, filters don't last forever and have expiration dates! Here are some filters you need to keep an eye on to make sure your home's systems run as safely and efficiently as possible.
- Water filters
- Ice machine filters
- Pool filters (if applicable)
- HVAC filters (see video below)
How Home Savi can help!
Home Savi replaces the need for a buyer’s agent by giving you the tools to offer, close and save on your home purchase. It's no secret that buying a home involves a lot of costs—the money you save by using Home Savi can help you cover home maintenance, closing and other hidden costs.