5 Tasks to Take Care of When You Move In

From unpacking boxes to putting the utilities in your name, there’s plenty to do when settling in to a new home. Some tasks, however, are more important than others. Don’t neglect these five maintenance musts in your new home.

Familiarize Yourself

After you move in, get to know these home systems:

  • Circuits: Locate your circuit breaker box. Your home’s previous occupants may have labeled the individual fuses, but if not, you’ll want to identify and label each one. This may require two people: one to flip switches and one to determine which room or appliances lost power as a result.
  • Insulation: If you have a crawl-space or unfinished attic, do a visual inspection. There should be at least six inches of insulation protecting each wall. You may need even more insulation if you live in a perpetually cold climate. Take care of any insulation gaps right away so your heating and cooling bills don’t spike when the temperature does.
  • Water Shut Off: If there’s a future plumbing issue or an impending storm warning, you will need to be able to turn off your water at a moment’s notice. Locate the main water valve, which may be inside or outside of your house, and turn the knob. Test a few faucets to be sure you’ve successfully shut off the water.

Protect Against Pests

Do a deep clean before you start moving in, while you still have access to every baseboard and the back of each closet. While you’re dusting, scrubbing, and touching up any chipped paint, look for any defects that could make your home vulnerable to pests. Repair any cracks, torn window screens, or gaps in cabinetry.

Call a pest control company to give your home a thorough once over. If you wait until your furniture has all been moved in, the technician will not be able to spray as systematically. You may also want to set up spider or mouse traps behind large pieces of furniture so that you don’t have to move your oversized entertainment center or solid wood bedframe to lay them later.

Make Security a Priority

Don’t assume that your new home provides adequate protection for your family and belongings. It’s important to invest in a security system, but before the technician comes you can make your home safer with these simple fixes:

  • Change Your Locks: While a home is being shown, several people have access to the keys. It would be nice to think that all of these people are entirely trustworthy, but don’t take any risks: replace your door locks and change the radio frequency of your garage door opener.
  • Check Your Outside Lights: Test your outdoor lighting. There should not be any blind spots or dark shadows where an intruder could hide. For extra security, install motion sensors that will turn the lights on automatically in case of an unexpected visitor.
  • Evaluate Your Fencing: Check over your perimeter fence. Look for any gaps that need to be repaired and put new locks on the gates.

Optimize Your Water System

Perform an inspection of your water heater and plumbing system. Cover any exposed water pipes with insulation, starting with those that feed directly into or out of your hot water heater. Uninsulated pipes lose heat and cause heating delays. Consider investing in a water heater blanket to improve your heater’s insulation as well.

Check your hot water heater’s settings. The optimal temperature for residential hot water heaters is 120˚F, or 55˚C. It’s unlikely that you will ever need your water to be hotter than that, and turning down your heater will save you money on your power bills.

Start Smart

If you’ve planned to make the change to a greener lifestyle, moving into a new home is the perfect chance to start. Implement these environmentally conscious practices:

  • Replace the Light Bulbs: Swap out your home’s incandescent bulbs with LED or CFL bulbs. Not only do LED and CFL lights use less energy, but they also last longer than incandescent light sources.
  • Use Power Strips: Plug your entertainment center, family computer, and kitchen appliances into power strips. These electronics draw electricity even when they are powered off, but with the flip of a switch, you can save energy (and money).
  • Plant Shade Trees: Plan some strategic landscaping changes after you move in. Shade trees or climbing vines that protect your home from direct sunlight can reduce your heating and cooling costs by as much as 25%.

Take care of these maintenance tasks right away to keep your new home cozy, pest-free, and energy efficient.

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