Congratulations, you are a brand new Bernardsville homeowner! It is an exciting new adventure in your life and most likely a decision that was not made lightly. The Bernardsville home buying process can be a long one and the realities of what being a Bernardsville homeowner means can feel overwhelming.
The biggest change that a new Bernardsville homeowner feels is the responsibility of having to care for his own property. There is no longer a landlord to call when something breaks or water is spraying out from under your bathroom sink.
You don’t have to be “Mr. Fix-it” to own a home, but there are a few simple, but critical, things that you must know how to do.
Replacing Furnace Filters – Many first-time Bernardsville homeowners may not even realize that there are filters in their HVAC unit that need to be changed, but it is an important maintenance item that needs to happen. Not changing your filter often enough means you are circulating dirty air through your home and you are causing your HVAC system to work harder to get air to flow through the filter.
You will also notice an increased amount of dust when your filter needs to be changed. If you have allergies or pet you will want to change your filter every 1 to 3 months. If that isn’t you, you can most likely wait closer to 3 to 6 months.
Turning off the Water – As soon as you move into your house (or before you do) make sure you know where and how to turn off the water at the main water valve. If you have a leak in your house, knowing how to shut the water off can save you thousands of dollars in potential damage.
Adjust Your Water Heater’s Temperature – Many hot water heaters are set to 140 degrees on average. However, you can save money and potential injuries by turning down the temperature on your hot water heater. It is recommended that Bernardsville homeowners turn the temperature down to 120 degrees.
Shut Off the Gas – If you think you have a gas leak in your house, you don’t have time to look up how to shut off the gas; you need to be able to do it immediately. The shut off is usually located at the meter and can require tools to turn off. Make sure you understand how your shut off valve works and where the necessary tools are kept in case of an emergency.
Electrical – You don’t need to be an electrician to be a Bernardsville homeowner, but you will want to know how to fix some of the basic problems to save yourself an expensive bill from an electrician. Take a look at your outlets to see which ones have reset buttons (they are typically in bathrooms and kitchens). If your outlet stops working, your first step is to try hitting the reset button if there is one. You will also want to familiarize yourself with your circuit-breaker box. Learn which circuits control which parts of your house in case you’re your breaker trips.
How to Locate Studs in the Wall – If you are unfamiliar with the building process, studs are the boards that run vertically inside of your walls. If you are going to hang a heavy frame, coat rack, TV, or anything similar on your wall you will want to make sure you are putting the nail or screw into a stud.
If you miss the stud and try to hang it in the drywall, your item will most likely rip out of your wall and fall. Studs are usually 16 to 24 inches apart from center to center. The easiest way to find studs is to purchase a stud finder tool. They are inexpensive and can save you time and a headache.
Clean the Gutters – Gutters that become too heavy will fall off of your house, possibly causing damage. To properly maintain your gutters, you should clean them out at least once a year, preferably after the leaves have fallen from the trees.
There are tools to help you do this, but the simplest most effective route is to get up on a ladder with a bucket. Once you have cleared out most of the debris you will want to spray them with your hose/power washer to make sure they are cleared.
There are many benefits of being a Bernardsville homeowner, but there are also many responsibilities. Knowing how to handle some of these home maintenance items will save you time and money from having to pay someone else to complete the work for you. Neglecting the maintenance can cost you thousands in damages that could have been avoided. You will be glad that you know how to stay on top of these items.