Owning a home is a great investment. Protecting your investment entails regular upkeep; similar to your body...eat right, exercise, and get enough sleep. Taking care of your home not only means getting the HVAC serviced yearly or repairing normal wear and tear of items such as a roof or leaky toilets. In order to property care for your home you must know the basics and where certain things are located.
In North Carolina most HVAC Systems (heating, ventilation and air condition) have air returns within the house where a pleated filter 'filters' the air moving within the home. The air is pulled 'in' to the return and passes through the filter. Typically you can find one on each floor, but sometimes there is more than one on each floor, depending on the size of the home. It is recommended to change your filters once a month or no more than every 6 weeks. Filters remove dust mites, hair, pollen, and many other particles floating through the air in your home that you would have never thought existed.
Every home that has electricity has an electrical panel or 'circuit box'. Most of the time it is located in the garage, but sometimes you can find it on the outside of the home or possibly in the basement. It is important that you know where it is in case you lose power and have to 'reset' a fuse or if you are replacing a switch or lighting fixture. If you are like me, hire an electrician for electrical work....electricity is tricky and very dangerous if you are unaware of how it works.
Know where your water main shut off valve is located. This is very important because if you ever have an overflowing toilet or any other active leaks you can completely shut off the water just by turning a valve. Most of the time this valve is located in a closet on the lowest level in the home...typically the first floor of most homes in the pantry or coat closet. It is recommended to turn the main 'off' if you are going on vacation or leaving the home for several days. If the water line breaks behind the washing machine.....it will be a mess.
Type of Heat
Do you have a heat pump or a furnace? In general, in most metro areas you will have natural gas which means you will have a furnace. If you live outside of the city limits and there is no natural gas available you will have electric heat, which a heat pump is utilized. This is important to know if you are looking to replace a unit or from a safety perspective if you have buried gas lines in your yard.
Do you have a sump pump? If you have a basement where there is a history of water entering the home or if your crawl space has an area where water accumulates; it is recommended to have a sump pump installed. A sump pump is simply a bucket and is buried a few feet under ground level where water is accumulating. When the bucket fills up, the pumps push the water out of the home through a water line directed away from the dwelling. It sounds complicated, but sump pumps are not that expensive, but depending on the location of where it is installed, the labor could add up.
If you have an irrigation system then you obviously have sprinkler heads located in your yard as well as water lines. It is important to know the location of the sprinkler heads and water lines if you are going to be digging in the yard for any reason. If you aerate your yard in the spring, you would want to mark the sprinkler heads so the aerator does not run over them.
Call Before You Dig!
I have mentioned irrigation lines, gas lines and water lines. There are also electrical lines and other cables/internet lines buried in your yard. If you are going to be digging in any part of your yard it is prudent to call the underground utility authority in your area to make sure you do not dig into any active lines. It is typically free to have someone come out and locate the phone/electric lines. In North Carolina you can call '811' to have this service performed. Here is a link to their site as well.
I hope this helps. Please contact me if you or anyone you know needs any Real Estate advice.