Tips every homeowner should know

Tips every homeowner should know


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Basic tips, tricks, and super neat stuff that every homeowner should know.

 

  • homeowner tips, learn where your water main isFind your water main. Of all the “must know” homeowner tips, this is probably the most important. Whether you have lived in your home for 20 years or you are just moving in to your new home there is one thing you should locate and always keep clear and easily accessible: your main water shut off valve. The minute it takes to locate your main could save you a flood of troubles down the road. If and/or when an emergency happens, this is crucial information to have. It is very hard to think clearly when you are in a panic watching your home fill with water.  I have found shut off valves in various places. In the south or warmer areas the valve is usually outside somewhere near the house. However, I have also found it in the garage. In colder areas, the main is usually in the basement. The house main is not to be confused with the city’s main water valve. The city main is usually in the front or back yard. A dead giveaway that it is the city main is the writing on it that says your city’s name and a meter… oh and it usually has a lock.

 

  • Flip some breakers before you go on a trip. Before going on vacation flip the breaker to the water heater and unplug any appliances. You may also set your thermostat closer to the outside temperature to save energy while on vacation.

 

talk to neighbors for a secure neighborhood

  • Communicate with your neighbors. Before going on vacation, it is a very good idea to talk with your neighbors, and let them know that you will be gone. This way if any activity is seen in your home they will know it is not you or your odd-looking “Uncle” coming over to “borrow” the television. Having an alarm system is definitely a good way to protect your home but having an entire street looking out for one another is fort Knox security. Also, it is free. You don’t have to be best friends with those you live near, just look out for one another. It is a win win for everyone. Most burglaries happen in the daytime so even if you’re not on vacation knowing your neighbors and their schedule and them knowing yours is a good way to protect yourself walking in to all your stuff missing and messed with is awful and is easily avoided by simply being cordial with those who live on your street.Some other homeowner tips so you can protect your home while on vacation:
  1. Lock your valuables into a portable safe and hide it the best you can
  2. Make sure your garage is locked
  3. Do not post anything on any social media outlets announcing that you’re on vacation
  4. Ask a neighbor if they will park in your driveway
  5. Have someone come by, check the mail, and gather any of those annoying flyers on your door.

 

  • Flip the main before you board a train. Now that you know where your water valve is, if you are going on vacation (either before or after you tell your neighbors you will be gone). Go to your main water valve and turn it off. This way if a pipe bursts, or something leaks, you don’t come home to a moldy wet stinky and quite horrible welcome home party.

thermostat

  • Set your thermostat. You can save a lot of money every month by setting your thermostat. In the winter leaving your heat set to 68 degrees and in the summer leaving, the a/c set between 75 and 78 will save you a significant amount of money every month. It is said for each degree increased in the summer can save you between 4 and 8 percent on your power bill. The other plus is that your system won’t get overworked resulting in a very expensive  HVAC repair.

 

 

  • Filters, Filters, Filters. They are your best friend. They are your monthly friend, take advantage of them. They really want to save you money, time and effort. They don’t want you to sweat and feel uncomfortable. Sure, they are a little dry and flimsy but they are a cheap date and give you way more than they take. The best part is they are similar to your human friends. The real cheap filters give up to easily and do not care what kind of mess is left behind. The expensive filters make it all about them. They are so consumed with being the best they force everybody in the system to work extra hard just to be cool and every time you hang out with them you are forced to waste money. However, the mid-grade filters these are the filters that make you cool with little effort, help you keep things clean, and are happy when you are happy.  Every year people have to fix their furnace and/or ac simply because they don’t change their hvac filters. The best part about changing the filter every month is your a/c will not be overworked. you will not a difference in your power bill. Set your phone to remind you or sign up for a filters program. Or, you can subscribe to mrmousehouse.com and we will send you a monthly update as to what is new on our website, and provide you with a basic reminder with a link to hang out with your BFF (best filters forever).cartoon-1294877_640

 

  • Call your electric company. Many Power companies have programs to help you save money on your bill every month along with simple ideas, tips and tricks to help preserve power.

 

  • Call the City. There are many local programs to assist homeowners for various reasons. For instance, in the summer if you have a small pond (or any standing water) usually the city will come treat for mosquitoes free of charge within a day.

 

  • Look into government programs. There are many government programs out there for homeowners. There are programs that can range from assisting in energy efficiency to mortgage options.

 

gfci outlet

  • Make sure you have GFCI outlets. In the areas of your home that use water and electronics, you should make sure that the outlets have GFCI (ground fault circuit interrupter) switches. While this is usually code everywhere, some old homes may have an outlet or two that are not GFCI outlets. This will trip that outlet, protecting you from electrocution and maybe even fire. If you don’t have them, they are fairly cheap and easy to install.

 

 

  • Close the closet. Keep closet doors shut in your home to lower cooling and heating costs. Its sounds absurd but by keeping doors shut to the small areas without vents (like closets) while keeping the doors open to all the rooms, you are allowing the HVAC system to perform at top efficiency and giving it less square footage to cool.

 

 

  • Don’t dig until you know the scoop. Unless you built your home, and know where all the wires and pipes are laid in the ground, before you do any digging call 811. The city will come out and mark all the wires, pipes and whatever else for you. This prevents you from making a huge problem from a tiny hole. It is free of charge and they will even give you some maps and color-coded guides.

 

  • Before and after photos. Whether you are a renter or a landlord, always take photos before and after moving in. This will save any disputes when it comes to rights to the deposit. As a homeowner, taking photos can be fun to compare the improvements you have made. Or you can use the photos to play around with to come up with potential remodeling ideas.

 

  • Know from a hole in the wall. Before drilling or hammering a hole into a wall double and triple check what is on the other side and then drill with caution. Awhile back, a friend of mine had their uncle come over to help hang pictures and without double-checking where he was drilling he drilled into the back of her thermostat. By not checking the other side of the wall a simple task turned into a very. The electrical lines usually hug studs so if there is an outlet or switch nearby proceed with caution.

 

  • Prevent future tree regret. When you want to plant a tree, thoroughly plan and consider the placement and type of tree before you sow it. Many times trees can do a lot of damage to your pipes and sometimes even cause structural damage. A large fast growing tree will seek water by means of your pipes. When a tree’s root system starts to grow into your pipes you will notice increased water use, frequently clogged toilets and eventually it will damage the underground pipes. You will want the tree to provide you with shade from north to south and you do not want it near a bathroom or kitchen side of the house. If you already have large trees in your yard, keep a close eye on branches that could fall on your roof and have them trimmed.

 

door-lock-407427_640

  • Change the locks. If you just bought a home, you might want to change the locks before you move in. You do not know how many copies are floating around. Particularly with a foreclosed home there could be near 10 copies floating around. If you are renting, changing the locks may violate your lease.

 

 

 

  • Remodel before you move in. Before moving into a new home try to do any repairs, remodeling, painting etc. before moving in. this makes   getting the job done  and clean up much easier.

 

  • Clean the vents. Once a year you should clean your lint vents. This is not to be confused with the lint trap on your dryer, which should be emptied after every use. To do this you will pull out the dryer and disconnect the hose or duct and then using a shop vac or a vacuum attachment thoroughly clean all lint inside of the vent.

smart power strip

 

  • Use smart power strips. Smart power strips will protect your electronics from power surges just like a normal power strip and then some. Many electronics, even though you believe you have turned them off, remain on in a type standby mode. Electronics like this are referred to as phantom energy vampires. These devices will drain energy and add to your power bill monthly even though you are not using them. Smart strips have various outlets so you can adjust which devices you want to remain idle, which device you want the power cut to, and which devices you want to turn off together.

 

  • Get your A/C and Furnace serviced every year. This will save you quite a bit in the end with your systems running at top efficiency your monthly bill will lower and you will get more life out of the systems.

 

 

  • Test your valves and keep an eye out for leaks. Occasionally it is a very good idea to test your water valves under your sinks and at your toilets. By inspecting them every once in a while and turning the valve off and on again you can prevent any build up that could prevent them from being able to turn off and you will stay on top of any leaks.
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