There are lots of things that homeowners need to know, but the realtor and the sellers probably won’t tell you all of them when you sit down at the table to buy your house. Find out all the numbers associated with your home that you should know and always remember. Know the numbers, and you’ll know how to deal with emergencies, how to keep your home well-maintained, and what to expect for the future of your home.
Homeownership by the Numbers
There are lots of numbers associated with your home: square feet, rooms, fixtures, circuit breakers—the list goes on and on. But there are certain numbers that you should always know and keep in mind to keep your home in the best possible shape.
1 main shut-off valve. Your home will have several water shut-off valves. Every toilet has its own shut-off, as does every sink. But you may have a major leak or other emergency that means you need to turn all the water off to the house all at once. There is a single shut-off valve for your house that will shut off all the water completely. It may be outside the house, in the basement, or in the garage. Locate yours so you know where it is. This is also a good way to determine if you have a leak. If you turn off your main shut-off and your water meter is still moving, you have a leak.
2 things to check in your homeowner's policy. Check to make sure your homeowner's insurance policy also covers fire and flood damage, which are two things that can occur in a home more frequently than you might think. If your policy does not cover these two possibilities, you should consider getting additional coverage.
6 months. Every 6 months, clean your windows outside and in. Plain soap and water work just fine to clean outside windows. If there is very little weather where you live, you can possibly get away with cleaning your windows once a year. In areas where there is regular rain and/or snow, you'll want to give the windows a good twice-a-year cleaning.
12 months. Clean out your gutters every single year. Try to do it at the same time of year so it's easy to remember when it's time to tend to this task. Gutters are designed to direct water away from your home and prevent flooding, so this is very important. Clean gutters keep the water draining freely.
25 years. A brand new roof should last about 25 years before it needs to be replaced. Find out how old your roof is when you buy your home, and you'll know when you can expect to purchase a whole new roof in the future.
30 days. Clean out your garbage disposal every 30 days to avoid bad odor. Pour three to five ice cubes into the disposal with about one teaspoon of lemon juice if you've already noticed a bad odor. Run the disposal until the ice is gone, and it will be much cleaner. This process removes stuck-on food particles and debris that cause disposals to run less efficiently and smell bad.
60 days. This is how long you should wait before replacing your furnace filters. The dirtier your filter gets, the harder your furnace has to work to heat your home. You'll see the difference in your monthly bill, so don't forget this number and keep your filters fresh.
120 degrees. Set your water heater temperature to 120 degrees Fahrenheit. A higher temperature can scald you and will increase the cost of your energy bills.
Know the numbers of your home, and you’ll know what needs to be done for your home. Keep up with regular maintenance, know how to handle emergencies, and your home will be where you want to live for years and years into the future.