Homeowner Orientation: Caring For Your New Home

When you move into your new home, there’s so much to learn in order to ensure you make the most of it. You want to protect your investment while also maximizing your family’s enjoyment, comfort, and safety. Our new series, Homeowner Orientation, is designed to provide the resources and information you need to settle in optimally during your first year of new home ownership.

Today, we’re starting with some of the basics. These are the things you’ll want to know as soon as you move into your new home — as well as items you’ll want to schedule for the year ahead. We also include helpful tools and supplies you’ll want to purchase as you settle in.

Committing to a Regular Maintenance Schedule 

Regular maintenance will keep your home looking and functioning at its best — preventing costly repairs or future issues. Here are some of the basic maintenance items that you’ll want to schedule to make sure that you keep your home in tip-top shape.

Weekly Tasks:

  • Wipe down your stove top — minimize grime and grease build-up by regularly cleaning your stove
  • Clean the floors — mop, sweep or vacuum regularly to keep your flooring in good condition
  • Wipe down appliances and surfaces — this will prevent the build-up of grime and germs
  • Remove spills, stains, and other messes — if possible, clean these up as soon as they happen, as the longer a stain sits, the harder it is to remove
  • Dust your home’s surfaces and furniture — this will keep allergies at bay and extend the life of your home’s air filter
  • Clean the bathrooms — and make sure to scrub all sinks, drains, and faucets to prevent any build-up
  • Change out hand and kitchen towels
  • Wash and replace your bedding
  • Water your plants

Monthly Tasks:

  • Inspect HVAC filters (and change them, if necessary) — changing these filters every 2-3 months is generally enough, but it’s a good idea to check them monthly and to change them more often if your family has pets or allergies
  • Clean or replace the furnace filter — removing dust build-up will help your furnace run more efficiently, saving you money on your energy bill
  • Clean your range hood filter — use a degreaser mixed with hot water to keep the filter in excellent shape
  • Inspect your fire extinguisher — it should be easily accessible, the gauge should show adequate pressure, and it shouldn’t have any visible signs of wear and tear
  • Clean water faucet aerators and showerheads — remove mineral deposits to keep them shiny and clean
  • Inspect tub and sink drains — check for debris and remove them to prevent clogs
  • Vacuum heat registers and heat vents — make sure they’re kept clean and clear for optimal air flow 
  • Check that indoor and outdoor air vents aren’t blocked  
  • Deep clean your home:
  • Wipe down kitchen cabinets
  • Vacuum upholstered furniture
  • Wash windows
  • Polish mirrors
  • Disinfect your kitchen trash area
  • Vacuum curtains and clean blinds
  • Clean your stove and oven
  • Give the refrigerator a deep clean
  • Thoroughly clean all countertops, grout, tiles, and floors

Quarterly Tasks:

  • Test smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors — press the œtest button and make sure the alarm sounds (if not, replace the batteries and try again)
  • Test your garage door’s auto-reverse feature — simply place a 2×4 on the ground where the door closes, and make sure that the door reverses after a second or so when the door hits the wood
  • Run water and flush toilets in unused spaces — if you have a guest bathroom that’s rarely used, for example, make sure to run the water in the sink and to flush the toilet every now and then to prevent grime or any other kind of build-up
  • Vacuum the lint ducts and surrounding areas of your dryer — this will reduce the risk of fires
  • Clean out your washing machine’s inlet filters and check for leaks to keep the machine in excellent shape
  • Inspect electrical cords for wear and tear to prevent the risk of fire and keep your family safe
  • Inspect caulking around the sinks, tubs and showers — ensure there are no leaks, which can lead to mold
  • Flush out hot water from your water heater — this will remove any accumulated sediment
  • Check for water leaks, including leaking toilets, dripping faucets, leaks under the sink, hot water heater leaks, and leaky washing machines or dishwashers 

Bi-Annual Tasks:

  • Test your water heater’s pressure relief valve — this will help your heater run more efficiently and will also prevent the build-up of minerals and corrosion
  • Give your home a deep clean — take a full day and give everyone in the family a task — together, you can deep clean appliances, windows, and every often-forgotten nook and cranny of your home
  • Replace batteries in smoke and carbon monoxide detectors — don’t wait until the devices start beeping, indicating a dying battery; replace them twice a year to ensure these important devices are protecting your home and family
  • Vacuum your refrigerator coils — this can save you money on your energy bill, as the coils often get dirty and reduce your fridge’s efficiency 

What You’ll Need for Your New Home

Having the right tools and supplies will make the experience of caring for your new home much easier and more convenient. Here are some of the essential items we recommend equipping yourself with as soon as you move in:

Basic Tools

  • Screwdriver set or a four-in-one screwdriver
  • Hammer
  • Set of pliers
  • Socket wrench set
  • Levels
  • Measuring tape
  • Five-in-one painter’s tool
  • Utility knife
  • Cordless drill with interchangeable bits
  • Magnetic stud finder
  • Duct tape
  • WD-40
  • Allen wrench key set
  • Nails and screws
  • Protective eyewear and gloves
  • Caulking gun
  • A toolbox or container to put it all in

Cleaning Supplies

  • Vacuum cleaner
  • Mop and bucket
  • Broom and dustpan
  • Microfibre cloths
  • Rubber gloves
  • Squeegee
  • Toilet brush and holder
  • All-purpose cleaner
  • Glass cleaner
  • Wood cleaner
  • Antibacterial spray or wipes
  • Tile cleaner with bleach
  • Toilet bowl cleaner
  • White vinegar
  • Baking soda
  • Sponges and brushes
  • Dish soap
  • Steel wool or other abrasive scrubbing pads
  • Hand towels
  • Oven cleaner
  • Surface-specific cleaner, if needed (e.g. for granite, marble, or stainless steel)
  • Grout brush
  • Laundry detergent
  • Bleach
  • Stain remover
  • Adhesive remover (aka œgoo remover)
  • Lint roller
  • Spray bottles, for making your own cleaning solutions (here are some great recipes for DIY cleaning products)
  • Paper towels
  • Extendable duster

Handy Items

  • A flashlight
  • Plunger
  • Extension cord
  • Step ladder
  • Drywall anchor kit and mounts for hanging things
  • Staple gun
  • Wood touch-up marker kit
  • Wood glue
  • High-quality shears

Things Every Homeowner Should Learn

As a new homeowner, you’ll also want to know how to do a variety of tasks around your new home. Having these skills in your back pocket will make caring for your new home stress-free.

Here are some key skills to learn to get you started:

In the coming months we’ll be sharing seasonal home maintenance checklists for your new home, detailed guides on how to care for your home’s beautiful finishes (from hardwood flooring to stone countertops), and tips and tricks on everything from décor and interior finishes to landscaping and gardening.

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