When you move into a new home you inevitably want to explore all over to see what you just bought; you should do this with a few things in mind, beyond where you’re going to put your furniture. Items needed: a flash light and an inexpensive label maker.
1. You need to look around to see where your new home’s main water shut-off valve is hidden. Mark it with a ribbon of some sort, and also print a label to put on the pipe that says “Main Shut Off.” Also, make sure you can turn it. If you can’t or if it’s very difficult, have it replaced immediately to help ensure that it functions when you need it.
2. If a basement is unfinished, look for any exposed valves that might go to the kitchen, bathrooms, appliances, or outdoor hose bibs. Check if they function properly. Print labels in case you need to shut the water off to the fixture, and so you can turn the water off to hose bibs when cold weather is expected.
3. In finished parts of your home, look for access panels in closets or lower-level hallways ceilings to find other shut off valves. Again, check to see if they function properly. Mark the outside of the panels with something printed from the label maker if possible.
4. If you home has a sump pump, pour some water in the pit and make sure it hums. You should do this regularly: it’s a mechanical device and needs the occasional check-up. If it looks like it could be ten or more years old, just replace it and avoid a headache.
5. If your home uses a sewer ejector pump. Be aware of where it resides. Don’t store anything near it. If it looks old, this is also something to replace rather than waiting until it wears out.
6. If you see any drains in the floors or outside, go out and buy covers to keep hair and debris from clogging them up.
Some other things to keep in mind:
Don’t use a garbage disposal as a trash can. Stringy vegetables, e.g., asparagus and celery, large bones, and pasta cause problems.
Toilets are only for waste and toilet tissue, don’t put swabs, dental floss, feminine products or any sort of wipe down the toilet—even if they say they’re flushable, they aren’t.
When you’re storing anything below ground level, make sure everything is at least an inch or two off the ground. Store cardboard boxes on top of 2x4s rather than directly on the floor to minimize the chances of the contents being ruined if water comes in.
Lastly, don’t forget to call your plumber and inform them that you moved so they can update their records.