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4 DIY Maintenance Tips for New Homeowners

Tips for New Homeowners

Buying your first home is a momentous life event and one you’ll remember for a long time.

But owning a home is also a lot of work. The joys of homeownership may last for a while, but without fail, something will eventually, well, fail. It’s inevitable.

A little proactive work can help for when things do go wrong. Here are four DIY tips every new homeowner should do that will prevent headaches in the future.

Label your electric panel

If your electric panel, or breaker box, is already labeled, you’re ahead of the game. Thank your lucky stars — and the previous homeowner. If not, this is a good place to start. It’s important to know which circuit controls power to which area of the home, not only for major appliances, but also for individual outlets.

This will come in handy when electrical work of any kind is required. You’ll be able to locate the applicable switch immediately. It goes without saying, but we’re still going to say it: It’s critically important to turn off power at the electrical panel to any outlet or fixture before you work on it. Operate with the assumption that the power remains on until a voltage tester or multimeter proves otherwise.

Label your electric panel to easily and quickly locate the proper circuit in the future.

Locate your main water shutoff valve

Most sinks and toilets have shutoff valves nearby, but some repairs — or emergency situations like burst pipes in the winter — may require the use of the main shutoff valve to turn off water supply to the house.

In homes with basements, you’ll usually find this valve near the foundation wall closest to the street. If your home doesn’t have a basement, look for it near the water heater.


Photo used with permission from Mike Hoff.
It’s important to know where to locate your home’s water shutoff valve.

Change the furnace filter

A clean furnace filter makes a world of difference. By circulating air through the home, it traps dust and dirt and ensures that your furnace system is working efficiently. This is a fast, simple fix that improves air quality and protects against furnace problems down the line.

Consult your owner’s manual for specific maintenance guidelines, including how often to change it and what size filter you need.

Photo used with permission from Arthaey Angosii.
Don’t neglect your furnace! A clean filter (left) ensures optimal performance.

Organize owner’s manuals

Speaking of owner’s manuals, now’s the time to compile and organize them in a way that makes sense to you. That way, when the time comes, they are easily accessible. Hopefully the previous owners compiled them already. If not, you may be able to track down copies of it online by consulting the manufacturer’s website or conducting a search of the brand name and serial number.

A lateral file can help organize the many user’s manuals that seem to pile up after buying a new home.


What tips do you have? Share them with us @ShopHomemakers on Twitter!

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