So you’ve just moved into your brand new home. You shopped around and did a lot of research to find the home that was just right for you. You signed a big pile of documents at closing, the moving trucks have left, all the boxes are unpacked, and all your belongings are in their proper places. What should you do now?
- One of the most important things to remember is that you are responsible for certain routine maintenance items to keep your house functioning properly. These tasks tend to be relatively simple. For instance, many types of heating and air conditioning systems contain filters to remove dirt and dust from the air. A home owner should change these filters when necessary.
- Cleanliness is a factor that will make your home last longer and work better. Dust and dirt, if allowed to accumulate, can harm the finishes on blinds, cabinets, countertops, floors, sinks, tubs, toilets, walls, tiles and other items. If dirt does accumulate, make sure to clean it with a substance that does not scratch or damage the finishes.
- On the outside of your home, make sure that gutters and downspouts do not get clogged with leaves or other objects. The exterior of your house is built to withstand exposure to the elements, but a periodic cleaning will improve the appearance and, in many instances, prolong the life of siding and other exterior products.
- When you bought your home, you probably received a warranty from the builder on workmanship and materials. This warranty applies to problems related to the construction of the home, but it does not apply to problems that arise because of failure to perform routine maintenance. For example, if your roof begins to leak after six months because of faulty workmanship, your warranty would cover that. If you develop a problem because water backed up in clogged gutters that you should have cleaned, the builder is not responsible for repairs. Also, some items, such as appliances, may be covered by manufacturers’ warranties and are not the responsibility of the builder.
- You should fully familiarize yourself with the terms of your warranty soon after you move into your home. With all the excitement surrounding a move into a new home, most people have little desire to curl up in front of the fireplace and read a legal document. Nonetheless, you should not wait to read your warranty until a problem arises. Set aside an hour to learn what your rights and responsibilities are from the outset.
Here is a home maintenance quiz that will test your maintenance knowledge. While this quiz does not address every home maintenance project, it does provide helpful tips and reminders for chores you may have overlooked.
1. How often do forced-air furnace filters need to be changed?
At least every three months during the heating season.
2. What part of the faucet usually needs to be replaced when you have a water leak?
3. Should you run hot or cold water through your garbage disposal?
4. How often should the moving parts of garage doors be oiled?
Every three months.
5. What tools can you use to unclog your drains?
A plunger and a plumber’s snake.
6. What tool can be used to unclog a toilet?
Coil spring-steel auger.
7. What faucet part needs to be cleaned every three to four months?
Aerator — the screen inside the end of the faucet.
8. What can you use for traction on icy sidewalks, steps and driveways?
Cat litter or sand — never use salt because it damages the pavement.
9. Where should the fire in your fireplace be built?
On the andirons or grate, never on the fireplace floor.
10. What will prevent soot and add color to the fire in your fireplace?
Throw in a handful of salt.
11. Where should your firewood be stored?
Outside, away from your house and not directly on the ground.
12. What helps keep unpainted concrete floors easy to keep clean?
13. What should you use to clean unpainted concrete floors?
A solution of 4 to 6 tablespoons of washing soda in a gallon of hot water. Mix scouring powder to the solution for tough jobs.
14. When can you clean hardwood floors with water?
When the floors have a polyurethane finish.
15. Do hardwood floors need to be waxed?
Hardwood floors that do not have a polyurethane finish probably will need to be waxed periodically. Use liquid or paste “spirit” wax.
16. What is the best polish for vinyl floors?
Water emulsion wax.
17. When is basement condensation at its maximum?
In new homes because gallons of water went into the concrete of basement walls.
18. Why should noisy water pipes be fixed promptly?
The condition that causes noisy pipes may be accompanied by vibration that can cause fittings to loosen and leak.
19. Why should frozen pipes be thawed slowly?
Frozen pipes should be thawed slowly to prevent the formation of steam, which could cause the pipe to burst.
20. How often should your roof be inspected?
A qualified roofer should inspect your roof every three years.
21. What should be regularly checked on your security system?
The alarms and circuit breakers should be checked to make sure they are in working order and the sensors should be inspected one by one.
22. To ensure your safety, what household equipment uses batteries that must be checked regularly to make sure they are operable?
Smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.
23. What do you use to fill nail holes and cracks in plaster walls and gypsum wallboard?
24. What is the white powdery substance that develops on masonry walls?
Efflorescence sometimes appears on masonry walls. It is crystallized soluble salts that can be removed by scrubbing with water and a stiff brush.
25. At what temperature should your water heater be set?
120 degrees Fahrenheit
26. How often do skylights need to be inspected?
Skylights should be inspected each time your roof is inspected so leaks don’t develop from cracks and interruptions around its seals, caulking and flashings.
27. What is a simple solution you can use to wash extremely dirty exterior windows?
A solution of equal parts vinegar and water or 3 tablespoons of denatured alcohol per quart of warm water. Use a piece of crumpled newspaper to wash the glass to avoid lint left behind by papertowls.
28. What can you use to help a window slide easily?
Rub the channel with a piece of paraffin.
29. What should you look for when you inspect your siding yearly?
Determine if wood-sided homes need to be repainted; check to see if the caulking around the windows and doors has split and cracked, and replace the caulk; clean the mildew; trim shrubbery away so it does not touch the siding.