Moving into a new home is exciting, but it also has its own to-do list filled with setup tasks, chores, and other maintenance responsibilities. It can be tempting to dive right in with unpacking and setting up your new home. But, there are a handful of tasks that will make your move-in process easier and simplify ongoing maintenance.
Chances are that you already had this done in the homebuying process, but if you haven’t, it’s still worth doing before moving in. A professional inspection will usually result in a list of repairs and reveal what kinds of maintenance projects to add to your to-do list. While minor repairs are often glossed over in the rush to close on your house, make sure they don’t get neglected after move-in.
Sooner or later, you will be fixing a leaky faucet or replacing a light fixture. Don’t let tragedy strike. Make sure that at least two adults in the house understand the basics of your breaker box, especially the main house shutoff. Find your water main shutoff valve and practice shutting it off. Depending on the type of shutoff valve, it may need a special tool. Additionally, these valves go unused for years and have a tendency to lock up. Don’t wait until you have a ruptured pipe spewing water to learn how to turn off your water main.
Equip your house with fire extinguishers on each floor and make sure they are easily accessible. Test any smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors that are already installed. Install new ones in any neglected areas. It’s recommended to have detectors on each floor of the house and in every bedroom. In fact, many areas require this by law. Carbon monoxide detectors should be placed near doors that lead to an attached garage, in basements with a furnace, and anywhere with gas or solid fuel-fired appliances.
Find the location of the air filters in your A/C and heating systems. This video shows how. This can be particularly critical in new constructions. Many new air systems come with cheap filters that are ineffective towards microscopic airborne pollutants that easily make their way through into your home’s air. Sometimes, you’ll find that there was no filter at all, which can damage your equipment. New homes can have particularly high levels of dust and air pollution from construction. So it’s important to use a pleated micro-allergen filter for health reasons. In a new construction, refresh the filters each month in year one, then switch to a 3-month schedule for easy maintenance.
Inspect your attic (if unfinished), basement, crawlspace, and any exposed piping to see if they have adequate insulation. If not, look into installing new insulation or hiring a professional to do so. In the long run, this will help keep your home warm in the winter, cool in the summer, and your energy costs down.
Nothing can damage your home like uninvited water. Check all gutters during a heavy rain to see where water is going. Water should never be pooling at the base of your house or flowing down the side of the exterior. Make sure the gutters and downspouts are clear of debris. Note where gutters direct water. Add extenders to any spouts that don’t seem to divert water away from the house adequately.
Wherever plants and trees touch your house, they can do damage. Shrubs that get whipped around in a storm can scour and score siding and paint so it’s important not to plant them too close. Don’t allow vines like English Ivy to climb your house since they can even damage brick facades. Larger trees with branches that drape over a house can trap moisture on the roof and encourage leaks to form. Trim them back regularly to keep your home free from damage.
Nothing makes a house feel like home more than a sense of safety and security. When you buy a new home, consider investing in a security system from the get-go to ensure that your family sleeps soundly. At the very least, replace the locks on all your home’s entrances so that you can guarantee that your family members are the only ones with keys.
In addition to these important maintenance tasks, here are some other simple tasks that will help get your new home ready:
- Deep clean any carpets in the house.
- Clean out your garbage disposal with vinegar.
- Dust ceiling fans and hard-to-reach places.
- Get the chimney professionally cleaned, if applicable.
- Inspect and clean out the dryer vent.
- Bring in an exterminator to inspect your new home for pests and plug up any holes.
- Purchase new toilet seats and replace the old ones.
- Set up your utilities with local utility companies.
- Change your address with the U.S. Postal Service.
- Vacuum the refrigerator coils (it’s a power bill saver).
These tasks will get your home in prime condition for family dinners, birthday parties, movie nights, and all the other joys that come with life. Because, at the end of the day, it’s not about how big a home is, but how happy it is.