As you know, owning a home is a big responsibility. (Well, it is if you don't want to let it fall into disrepair.) And although most people understand that, I'm always a bit surprised at how much homeowners don't know about their homes. And it's not little stuff either. It's stuff that could save thousands of dollars in property damage or even somebody's life. (That's not hyperbole either.) So, here they are, the top 10 things every homeowner needs to know:
1. The location of your water main shut off. (And how to shut it off, which will be assumed obvious in the remainder of the tips involving shut off valves as well.)
- Good to know to prevent a plumbing catastrophe, like a burst pipe. Click here to see how to find it and shut it off.
2. The location of your water heater water shut off valve.
- Good to know if it starts to leak. Click here to see how to find it and shut it off, plus a few other good-to-know tips such as finding the pressure release valve and water drain.
3. The location of your gas main shut off. (This applies to LP too.)
- Imperative if you have a gas leak! Click here to see how to shut it off in an emergency.
4. The locations of the gas shut off valves for EACH gas appliance in your home.
- Most common gas appliances are stove top ranges, ovens, water heaters and furnaces. According to PGE, "To turn off the gas at the gas appliance shut off valve, rotate the valve a quarter turn."
5. How to adjust the temperature on your water heater.
- Experts recommend 120 degrees F, but finding it can be tricky. Visit this page to help zero in on the perfect temp.
6. The location of your circuit breaker and any secondary breakers if you have them.
- An obvious necessity if doing any electrical work in your home, but if you blow a circuit, you'll want to know where your breaker box is. Click here to see how to track yours down.
7. How to identify each of the circuits in your circuit breaker(s). (And label each to know what they turn on & off.)
- Again, this is imperative if doing any electrical work. Identifying each circuit (and labeling them accordingly) is summarized in this article.
8. How to access plumbing fixture valves and P-traps.
- Picture this, you notice a water stain on your ceiling beneath an upstairs bathroom and you're pretty sure the leak is coming from the shower/tub. To repair the leak, you're going to need to know how to access the shower/tub pipes. Ultimately, having such information beforehand could save you a ton of hassle and expense. If you realize you don't have access, don't worry. It's easy to add it. Check out this tutorial to see how.
9. Where and how to access your attic.
- Every home should have attic access, but some--especially in new construction look as if their attics are not accessible. They are. Read this article for more information.
10. Where your escape routes are in case of fire.
- Adults and children alike should know where to go and how to get there in case of a home fire. The National Fire Protection Association provides a comprehensive tutorial on how to plan fire escapes for those living in traditional homes to manufactured homes to those living in high-rises. Click here for further details.