Tips to Avoid the Most Common Mistakes New Homeowners Make
It’s exciting to be a new homeowner. It’s a thrill to have a home that’s all your own, with nearly endless possibilities for upgrades and personalized details. It’s such a thrill, in fact, that new homeowners often overlook some basic safety measures, putting themselves and their homes in danger.
Take these safety measures into consideration before embarking on any improvements to your property.
Drill Carefully. Almost all new homeowners are drill-happy. After all, drilling is how we add shelves, hang artwork, and secure cabinets. To drill safely, you must understand what’s behind your walls (a maze of wires, cables, ductwork, and plumbing pipes) and how to avoid drilling into them.
Start with a stud sensor, which will help pinpoint studs, ducts, and cables. Stud sensors aren’t foolproof though, so consider taking an extra precautionary measure by only drilling 1.25 inches into the wall. This will be deep enough to drill through plaster and drywall, but not deep enough to reach most pipes or wires.
Electrical wiring can run anywhere from 8 inches to 2 feet from the floor. It runs horizontally and strings from outlet to outlet throughout your home. Avoid the whole area to be safe. Also avoid drilling above and below light switches, as wiring travels vertically to reach them.
Know how to shut the water off. Knowing where your water valve is—and how to shut it off—can help you avoid massive property damage in the event of a burst water pipe, which can gush an alarming amount of water into your home in a matter of minutes.
Since it’ll be imperative to act fast, know where your valve is beforehand and make sure everyone in your household knows how to operate it. You’ll find the valve where a water main enters your home.
Know what’s underground before you dig. Some of the most common mistakes new homeowners make don’t happen in the home at all, but rather on the outside property. Making a house feel like a home often requires digging into the ground—planting bushes, digging post holes for a fence, etc. Before digging, dial 811 (or visit www.call811.com) and talk to the folks at the safe-digging hotline. They’ll contact all of your local utility companies for you. The companies will come to your property (often within 24 hours) to mark the locations of underground cables, pipes, and wires. 811 is a free service and calling before you dig is a requirement in many states.
Let a professional cut down that tree. Cutting down a tree can be deceptively challenging. Even a small tree can cause a host of problems. It can fall unpredictably or awkwardly, harming you, your property, or even your neighbor’s property. This is a task best left to the experts.
Following these simple steps will put you a step ahead of many other new homeowners, and you and your home will be safer for it.