Houston Home Service Experts

New Homeowner Tricks for a Healthy, Energy-Efficient Home

As a new homeowner, you probably have a lot of questions about how to take care of it. Even if you’re a seasoned homeowner, you may have some questions.

With insurance policies, maintenance agreements, and regular household chores, owning a home comes with a lot of responsibility. To help you manage all of your new homeowner responsibilities, here are 8 things you need to know:

Detect Issues Early

As a renter, you are probably used to waiting until there is a problem to call your landlord. As a homeowner, however, it is much better to get into the habit of regular home inspections and maintenance visits in order to detect issues early before they turn into costly problems.

Signing up for a home maintenance plan with your local heating, air, plumbing, and electrical company is a great way to make sure your new home is up-to-code and well-maintained for years to come.

Before You Buy or Sell a Home, Schedule an Electrical Inspection

Get into the habit of scheduling routine, yearly inspections for your heating and cooling units, your electrical system, and your chimney and roof. It would also be prudent decision to take the time to inspect your insulation levels, basement, attic, and air leaks. Many of these things you can accomplish on your own:

Create a Rainy Day Fund

Nobody likes paying a lot of money for home repairs, but sometimes they are absolutely necessary. Start saving money for unexpected repairs now so you don’t have to go into debt or dip into your other funds.

Make Sure You Have Homeowners Insurance

Homeowners insurance is absolutely necessary to protect your home and property from unexpected accidents. Some things to consider are:

Coverage – the more coverage you have, the less you will have to pay when a setback strikes. Many policies require coverage of at least the amount of your mortgage. There are many different packages to choose from, which contain these four basic types: property damage, additional living expenses, personal liability and medical payments.

Deductibles – the deductible is the amount you pay out of pocket when you make an insurance claim. The higher the deductible, the less you pay for the policy.

Actual Cash Value or Replacement Cost– insurers prefer actual cash value, while homeowners prefer replacement cost. You get to choose the option of insuring your home and possessions for their replacement cost or actual cash value. Replacement Cost = the cost to replace with a new item of similar kind. Actual Cash Value= the cost to replace minus any depreciation, representing the amount of money you could get for the item if you sold it on the marketplace as is.

Comparisons– you are not required to use the insurance company recommended to you by your lender. Shop around first.

Discounts– there are discounts available to you if you insure multiple items with the same insurance company, like your car and boat. There are also discounts if you have a security system, new roof, etc. Shop around to get the best price, service, and discounts.

It is important to carefully read your homeowners insurance policy and keep it in a safe place for easy reference. Go over your insurance policy every year and make any necessary changes if you replace your roof, add a room, or any other major renovation project.

Buy Lots of Backup Air Filters

It’s recommended that you change your air conditioning and furnace filters every 30-90 days. This will make your equipment last longer, improve your indoor air quality, reduce the need for repairs, and lower your energy bills. Instead of running to the hardware store every time you need a new filter, buy in bulk so you can switch them out whenever you need to.

Even better, order the right filter for your system online and have it delivered straight to your home from FilterFetch. This simplifies the process and saves you time and money

Click on this link to find the proper filter for your HVAC system.

Inspect Your Home Appliances

Get an idea of how old your various home appliances are so you can plan for repairs or replacements (newer, energy-efficient appliances that are cleaned and professionally maintained last longer):

  • Furnaces: 15-20 years
  • Air Conditioners/Heat Pumps: 10-17 years
  • Hot Water Heater: 10-30 years
  • Garbage Disposal: 10-13 years
  • Washer & Dryer: 10-14 years
  • Dishwasher: 8-10 years
  • Stove: 12-16 years
  • Refrigerator: 13-20 years
  • Electrical Panel: around 50 years (huge variability here)

These life expectancy estimates are dependent on a variety of factors including, manufacture, maintenance, frequency of use, installation, etc.

When repairing or replacing your home, it’s very important that you hire the right technician to do the job. For instance, over half of all new heating and cooling systems are improperly installed, which could lead to voided warranties, higher energy bills, and dangerous safety concerns.

Use this Heating & Cooling Bid Comparison Checklist from ENERGYSTAR to make sure your HVAC system will be installed properly.

Get to Know Your Electrical Panel

If the power goes out, you’ll want to know how to flip the breaker or replace the fuse.

Consider Whole-Home Surge Protection

If you are using surge protectors for your expensive electronics, like your TV and computer, GREAT! But, what about your appliances and other electrical devices? In order to protect your entire home from damaging and costly power surges (which happen every day!), you need whole-home surge protection. This protect your entire electrical system, and you even be entitled to a homeowners insurance discount if you do.

Call Universal Home Experts for details:(713) 364-0226

Keep Records

Whenever you spend a significant amount of money on your home, such as for appliance replacements or home renovations, always keep these records in a safe place. Every repair that you make should be documented, which will help you when you are selling your home (if that ever happens).