New Home Checklist
Buying a new home is an exciting and frustrating process. It’s easy to get lost in the joy of closing that new home deal. We’ve compiled a list that will help you identify what to know and prepare for with your new home, allowing you to enjoy that new home high without forgetting to prepare yourself for any mishaps down the road. Let’s dive in!
Locate circuit breakers
Circuit breakers play a more important role than people realize. How do circuit breakers work? To put it simply, they cut power to your appliances when there’s too much current flowing through them. Without circuit breakers, homes across the country would experience regular electrical issues. We’re talking about fire-level electrical issues. So, yeah, they’re important. In the case that your circuit breaker has to step in and save your home, you’ll need to know where they are located to bring power back to your appliances. After you locate your circuit breaker, or breakers if your home has more than one, we suggest writing down the location or creating a map that clearly labels where you can find them. After you’ve done that, consider using a magnet and placing it on your fridge. Pro tip: make sure the areas in front of and below your circuit breaker are free of clutter and easily accessible. It’s also a good idea to label your circuit breaker. If your breaker box doesn’t have a space for labels, you can use duct tape and a sharpie to mark which switch connects to which room.
Know where your GFCI outlets are and how they work
Think of CFCI outlets as mini circuit breakers. Osha describes a GFCI, or ground-fault circuit interrupter, as “a fast-acting circuit breaker designed to shut off electric power within as little as 1/40 of a second. It works by comparing the amount of current going to and returning from equipment along the circuit conductors. When the amount going differs from the amount returning by approximately five milliamperes, the GFCI interrupts the current.” So when you’re drying your hair and you draw a little too much electricity, your GFCI outlet steps in and saves the day before any damage is done. Here are some places you’re likely to find GFCI outlets:
- The exterior of your home
Over the years, new regulations have required more and more GFCI electrical outlets within new homes. So don’t be alarmed if your new home has more or less than your previous home. GFCI outlets are a simple install for most electricians if you’re interested in adding them to your home. If you want to ensure your home is safe, try to use your GFCI outlets over your non GFCI outlets.
Locate gas and water valves
Locating your water and gas shut-off valves is another critical step to take after closing on your new home. In fact, every member of your household should know where these shut-off valves are. In the event of a busted gas or water pipe, every second wasted locating the shut-off valves could mean thousands of dollars more in damage. Consider creating a map similar to the one you make for your circuit breaker. Store them in the same spot to ensure no extra time is wasted in the event of an emergency.
Test smoke and carbon monoxide detectors
It’s always a good idea to replace the batteries in your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors in your new home. After that, make sure you replace the smoke detector batteries yearly and the carbon monoxide detector batteries every 6 months, as suggested by FEMA. We recommend setting aside a stash of batteries to be used only for these devices.
Identify your storm shelter and plan
Everywhere in the United States experiences some form of bad weather. Make sure you have identified a shelter in the case of high winds or a tornado. Try to keep the area clutter-free and easily accessible. Here are some items you can store in your shelter location for safety:
- Dry clothes
- Pet food & leashes
You likely never need to use these items, but it’s better to be safe than sorry. Be sure to research the climate in your new area and tailor your shelter and supplies storage to cover any form of bad weather or natural disasters that you could realistically expect.
Create a seasonal home maintenance checklist
Creating a home maintenance checklist is crucial! Regular maintenance will keep your home in good shape and help maintain value. Don’t slouch on completing seasonal maintenance like cleaning the gutters, landscaping, and pool maintenance. Also, don’t forget to winterize your home when the time comes. Covering up faucets and sealing window and door cracks are just two ways you can prepare your home for the cold weather. Take care of your home, and your home will take care of you!
Make a list of home improvement projects
After you’ve tackled everything on this checklist, you’re ready for a new project! Take a walk around your home and make a list of home improvement projects you want to do like replacing countertops or flooring. Prioritize them by need and doability to figure out which projects you need to budget for first.