Rock Talk

10 Insanely Practical Home Care Tips for New Homeowners

Last updated on May 16th, 2017 at 02:40 pm

A lot of homeownership is a learn-as-you-go experience. I bought my first home about four years ago. Here are my top 10 home care tips for new homeowners (with a few tricks and hacks), so you don’t repeat some of my mistakes or get stuck figuring things out on the fly.

  1. Homemade goo remover that works.

Mix together equal parts of coconut oil and baking soda. Apply to adhesives, wait, and scrape. If this is in a noticeable area, test the mixture on a hidden area first to check for staining.

  1. Whole house air freshener.

Pick out your favorite essential oil. Put a few of drops (two to three should be fine) on your furnace filter when you regularly change it. The furnace fan will circulate the delicate scent through your house.

  1. Try your water shutoff valves before you need them.

If you have an older house like I do, the valves that shut off your water supply (near the toilet and under the sink) may not work. You should also know where your home’s main shutoff valve is and if it works.

  1. Find a plumber before you need a plumber.

See number 3. You want to be absolutely certain that you can turn off the water if necessary.

  1. Maintain your garage doors.

Mine were closing rather roughly. Turned out they just needed to be lubricated. You should always check with the garage door manufacturer for instructions, but mine needed a nonsilicone lubricant. Bob Vila also recommends using regular engine oil.

  1. Ethanol-free gas for your lawnmower.

A few summers ago, my lawnmower wasn’t up to snuff – dogging it, sounded underpowered. I took it in for a tune up and the guy recommended using ethanol-free gas as it stays fresher for longer. From Husqvarna: Ethanol will start to absorb water over time, leading to poor engine performance. E10 gas absorbs up to 50 times more water than standard gasoline.

  1. Vacuum around your appliances frequently.

Specifically, vacuum around your refrigerator and hot water heater — especially if you have pets. Not long after I moved into my house the pilot light was going out on my hot water heater. The repairman said everything was fine – just a lot of dust/pet hair. He cleaned it out and I regularly vacuum. It has worked fine ever since.

  1. Buy a fire extinguisher – or three.

Hopefully you never need to use it, but I have three. There is one in my kitchen, one in my laundry room and one in my garage. Did you know there are different types of fire extinguisher based on different types of fires?

  1. Get some tools.

Even if you’re not the handy type, you should still have a basic toolbox in your home. Here are some suggestions.

  1. You’ll probably lock yourself out.

So prepare ahead of time for that. There are some brands of doorknobs that will stay locked even after you open the door from the inside. I have this kind on my front door and it is extremely easy to get locked out of the house. I really should replace this doorknob. Some people hide a key outside – I gave a set to a trusted neighbor. Another alternative is to have a garage door keypad.

Bonus tip: Prepare for severe weather. Plymouth Rock Assurance has tips on how to proactively prepare for a hurricane, but many of those suggestions can apply to other forms of severe weather, too.

What are some of your tips that you’d pass on to a new homeowner? Please share in the comments!

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