6 THINGS EVERYONE SHOULD DO
WHEN MOVING INTO A NEW HOUSE
When I bought my first house, my timing couldn’t have been better: The house closing was two weeks before the lease was up on my apartment. That meant I could take my time packing and moving, and I could get to know the new place before moving in.
I recruited family and friends to help me move (in exchange for a beer-and-pizza picnic on the floor) and, as a bonus, I got to pick their brains about what first-time homeowners should know.
Their help was one of the best housewarming presents I could have gotten. And thanks to their expertise and a little Googling, here’s what I learned about what to do before moving in.
1. Change the Locks
2. Check for Plumbing Leaks
Keep an eye out for dripping faucets and running toilets, and check your water heater for signs of a leak.
Here’s a neat trick: Check your water meter at the beginning and end of a two-hour window in which no water is being used in your house. If the reading is different, you have a leak.
3. Steam Clean Carpets
4. Wipe Out Your Cabinets
When I cleaned my kitchen cabinets, I found an unpleasant surprise: Mouse poop. Which leads me to my next tip …
5. Give Critters the Heave-Ho
For my mousy enemies, I strategically placed poison packets around the kitchen, and I haven’t found any carcasses or any more poop, so the pings I found must have been old. I might owe a debt of gratitude to the snake that lives under my back deck, but I prefer not to think about him.
6. Introduce Yourself to Your Circuit Breaker Box and Main Water Valve
It’s a good idea to figure out which fuses control what parts of your house and label them accordingly. This will take two people: One to stand in the room where the power is supposed to go off, the other to trip the fuses and yell, “Did that work? How about now?
You’ll want to know how to turn off your main water valve if you have a plumbing emergency, if a hurricane or tornado is headed your way, or if you’re going out of town. Just locate the valve — it could be inside or outside your house — and turn the knob until it’s off. Test it by turning on any faucet in the house; no water should come out.
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