If you're reading this, you probably own a home. There is also a good chance that not only do you own a home, but you aren't exactly sure where all the really important things are in that home. Let's make sure you know where five of the most imporant ones are
1) Where is my water valve?
Every home is different, but you can likely find your main valve near the perimeter of your house, at ground level, nearest your water meter. If your water pipes are visible (in the basement, for example), follow them until you reach the main inlet and valve. It's possible it could be somewhere out of sight, like in a crawl space or closet but this isn't common. If you can't find it, just call any of us here at Team Turner and we'll pop over and help you out!
2) Where is your circuit box, and is it properly labeled?
This one is easy, or should be, but you never know. Most circuit boxes are located in a house’s basement, but some are also found in garages or utility closets. The switches inside correspond to rooms and sets of outlets in your home. Hopefully, they’re labeled properly—and if not, you should get on that pronto to avoid a tortuous guessing game every time you need to turn your power on and off.
And again, this might seem obvious, but if power goes out in a certain area (usually as a result of too much power plugged into an outlet), just go to the power box and find the one that is flipped opposite from the rest, and flip it back. What we recommend is to take time out of your day when you purchase a home, to label it properly. It will prove to be helpful to you, and potential buyers appreciate the effort you put in labeling your home's power areas.
3) What is a thermocouple and how do I change it?
This is the part of the furnace that shuts off the gas if your pilot light goes out, preventing that gas from seeping into your home. (You know, the gas that can kill you if left to run amok).
This isn't always the case, but if the furnace won't stay lit, there's a good chance it's a problematic thermocouple. Changing it is pretty easy, and requires only a $10 trip to Home Depot. In these climates, it's probably a very wise thing to think about doing. There are great youtube videos detailing how to get this done without much effort, and we definitely recommend getting acquainted with this part of your furnace.
4) Furnace filters
Again, might be obvious to a lot of you, but you would be surprised how many horror stories we run into as a result of not changing them. One person we met, actually left it in so long and it got so beat up, it actually got sucked into the furnace. Let's avoid that, shall we? That's a worst case scenario of course but changing them consistently (especially in homes that are in areas that have a lot of construction going on around them), will drastically increase air quality in the house.
Changing them also can save you money, so do it! They recommend every couple months but that seems to be on the long side, 4-7 weeks or so seems like a better timeline to go by. Also while we're at it, take out that HVAC once a year and spray it down too! Should be close to furnace, big thing hanging (good chance your house doesn't have it, but if it does, clean that puppy).
5) Does your home have a sump pump, and do you know how to maintain it?
Should be located in your master bedroom...kidding! Of course this will be in basement, and again your house might not have it, but all newer builds will, as it's now code.
They're really easy to maintain. Just check both lines to make sure there is no debris in them, and make sure the float component can move smoothly around the pump. That's it! So much of this stuff is so simple, yet extremely important, and people still sometimes neglect them. Don't be one of those people.
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