Home Maintenance: Just the Basics You Need to Know

September 12, 2019 1:18 pm Published by

The best thing about buying a new home in Kyle’s Crosswinds Community is that everything works and runs smoothly. You don’t have to wonder if the house started having problems under a previous owner. It’s a clean slate.

The joy of homeownership also requires doing basic home maintenance tasks. Spending a few minutes doing these tasks and learning the basics will stave off bigger, more expensive problems in the long-run. It also extends the life of your home and keeps utility bills as low as possible.

Here are the most important basics to know that will help your new home last for decades to come.

Electricity

The first thing to find is your circuit-breaker box and switches. It’s typically in the garage. Check the switches to see if they have labels showing you which controls what part of the house. If there are no labels, ask your home builder.

Knowing where the breaker box is and which switch to … well … switch comes in handy when the power goes out in one area of your home. It’s actually a good thing the power went off because something tripped the switch. The power turning off is a safety measure to prevent potential problems. Most of the time, flipping the switch fixes the problem.

You may notice outlets in the kitchen and bathroom that features red and black buttons. The black button is a test button. It deactivates the outlet. The red is the reset button.

Say you’re using the hairdryer and it suddenly stops working. You won’t need to go to the circuit-breaker box to fix this. Just press the red (reset) button and the hairdryer should work again.

Water

Just like you want to know the location of your circuit-breaker box and switches, you also want to locate your water valves in case you ever have to shut off the water. Typically, you can find valves under the sink or behind appliances. Or follow the hose to the valve.

This one tip will save you loads of money and headaches. When you spot a leak or a flood, turn the valve to the right (clockwise) to shut it off. The sooner you do it, the less water will get out and do damage.

After shutting off the water, drain the residual water where the valve feeds. Go about doing the repairs. As soon as you finish and verify everything works, turn the valve to the left (counter-clockwise) to restore the water supply. Open the faucet associated with the valve to let out any air.

Air

For new homes in Kyle, you’ll want to replace the air filter more frequently in the beginning. Things like drywall dust take time to settle. Right after moving in, change the filters every two weeks for a few months. Then, you can switch to replacing the filters every three months.

It makes a huge difference in the utility bill. The more filled the filter is, the harder your air conditioning unit will work and drive up the cost.

Toilets

You don’t need to have every tool under the sun as soon as you move into your new home. It’s fine to keep adding to your collection over time.

These are the first tools you want to have on hand:

  • Plunger
  • Auger
  • Bucket
  • Rubber gloves

It’s not a matter if, but a matter of when a clogged toilet will happen. And the plunger will do the trick most of the time. Sometimes the situation requires something stronger and that’s where the auger will come to the rescue.

Before you plunge, evaluate the water to determine its chances of overflowing. If it looks likely, turn off the valve near the toilet. Grab the plunger for this. Remove half of the water from the toilet, make a tight seal with the plunger, and plunge several times. If the water goes down, give it one more plunge. Turn on the valve and flush the toilet.

Still backed up? Time to bring in the auger. Insert it into the toilet and slowly crank it to the right (clockwise) until it’s tight. Turn the crank in reverse (counter-clockwise) for a little bit and then crank forward as far as you can. All good? Now, crank in reverse while pulling backward. This should solve the problem. Test it by flushing the toilet several times.

Bonus Home Maintenance Tip

Nowadays, you can download most manuals from the internet. This is the time to look up all your appliances and pick up the manuals for each. Store them together in a folder on your hard drive.

You may have some print manuals. Store them in one place where you know you will find them. These manuals prove useful when you run into a problem or need to replace a part. They let you know exactly what part you need to order.

If you encounter a problem not covered here, just do a search for home maintenance solutions and videos. You’ll find a how-to video for almost everything. Also, open your phone’s app store and search for home maintenance apps. Many nifty checklists and references are available to help you with home maintenance.

Now that you know where everything is located and bought the tools, treat yourself! Or maybe you’re thinking about looking at new homes in Kyle? Come explore the Crosswinds Community with its diversity of amenities.

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