5 Essential Things to Know About Your House
As a homeowner, you don't need to be a master plumber or a certified HVAC technician. But you should know these five essential things about your house.
1. Where Your Property Lines Are
Not every residential property has neat, natural boundaries. In some neighborhoods, lawns run right into each other with no discernible line of demarcation.
Go to your town hall and ask to see the property maps for your property. Make a copy and keep them in your home files. This information will not only tell you what lines you have to mow your lawn to but also where you can legally erect a fence around your property.
2. Where the Drain Trap Is
Almost every homeowner is going to lose something down the drain someday. It may be a diamond wedding ring or something else, but you should know how to retrieve it.
Underneath the kitchen sink, there's a drain trap. Heavier items—like that diamond ring—will fall into the trap instead of continuing down into the town water sewers. The trap will be at the bottom of the U-joint beneath the sink. If you have trouble finding the joint or figuring out how to open it, consult with a plumber.
3. Where the Main Water Shut-Off Valve Is Located
At some point, water is going to gush where it isn't supposed to. When that happens, to prevent water damage, you need to know where the main water shut-off valve is located.
Typically, the main water shut-off valve will be located in the basement or in the garage or alongside the outside of the house. If you have trouble locating it, you can ask your local plumber the next time he comes by.
4. Where the Toilet Water Shut-Off Valve Is
An overflowing toilet is never pleasant, but the water doesn't have to flood your bathroom.
There's a silver-handled valve near where the toilet plumbing meets the wall. When the toilet starts to overflow, simply turn this valve clockwise to stop the flow of water until you have time to unclog the toilet.
5. How to Relight the Pilot Lights
If you have a gas stove or furnace, there will be a pilot light on those items that needs to remain on at all times. Sometimes, however, the pilot light goes out, in which case it needs to be relit in order to ensure save the operation of the furnace or the range.
Consult with the manufacturer's instructions on how to relight the pilot light. If those instructions aren't available, an HVAC technician will be able to do this for you and then show you how to do this yourself next time.
These are the main five things every homeowner should know about their property. As soon as possible after you purchase your home, be sure to go through the list so that you can handle the most basic situations when they arise.