October 16th, 2016 7:38 AM by Jackie A. Graves
Avoid these easy-to-prevent mistakes that
could cost you big time.
so well the thrill of owning your own house — but don’t let the excitement
cause you to overlook the basics. We’ve gathered up a half dozen classic
boo-boos new homeowners often commit — and give you some insight on why each is
critically important to avoid.
Related: 6 Things Everyone Should Do
Before Moving in to a New House
from a burst or broken plumbing pipe can spew dozens of gallons into your
home’s interior in a matter of minutes, soaking everything in sight — including
drywall, flooring, and valuables. In fact, water damage is one of the most
common of all household insurance claims.
reaction is needed to stave off a major bummer. Before disaster hits, find your
water shutoff valve, which will be located where a water main enters your
house. Make sure everyone knows where it’s located and how to close the valve.
A little penetrating oil on the valve stem makes sure it’ll work when you need
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spring! You’re so ready to dig into your new yard and plant bushes and build
that fence. But don’t — not until you’ve dialed 811, the national dig-safely
hotline. The hotline will contact all your local utilities who will then come
to your property — often within a day — to mark the location of underground
pipes, cables, and wires.
free service keeps you safe and helps avoid costly repairs. In many states,
calling 811 is the law, so you’ll also avoid fines.
The ground around your foundation should slope away from your
house at least 6 inches over 10 feet. Why? To make sure that water from rain
and melting snow doesn’t soak the soil around your foundation walls, building
up pressure that can cause leaks and crack your foundation,
leading to mega-expensive repairs.
kind of water damage doesn’t happen overnight — it’s accumulative — so the
sooner you get after it, the better (and smarter) you’ll be. While you’re at
it, make sure downspouts extend at least 5 feet away from your house.
Related: How to Prevent Water Damage
goes hand-in-hand with not knowing where your attic access is located, so let’s
start there. Find the ceiling hatch, typically a square area framed with
molding in a hallway or closet ceiling. Push the hatch cover straight up. Get a
ladder and check out the depth of the insulation. If you can see the tops of
joists, you definitely don’t have enough.
The recommended insulation for most attics is about R-38 or 10
to 14 inches deep, depending on the type of insulation you choose. BTW, is your hatch
insulated, too? Use 4-inch-thick foam board glued to the top.
Related: Attic Air Leaks: How to Find
and Seal Them
shelves, closet systems, and artwork means drilling into your walls — but do
you know what’s back there? Hidden inside your walls are plumbing pipes,
ductwork, wires, and cables.
check for some stuff with a stud sensor — a $25 battery-operated tool that
detects changes in density to sniff out studs, cables, and ducts.
stud sensors aren’t foolproof. Protect yourself by drilling only 1¼ inches deep
max — enough to clear drywall and plaster but not deep enough to reach most
wires and pipes.
wiring runs horizontally from outlet to outlet about 8 inches to 2 feet from
the floor, so that’s a no-drill zone. Stay clear of vertical locations above
and below wall switches — wiring runs along studs to reach switches.
The risk isn’t worth it. Even small trees can fall awkwardly, damaging your house,
property, or your neighbor’s property. In some locales, you have to obtain a
permit first. Cutting down a tree is an art that’s best left to a professional
Plus, trees help preserve property
values and provide shade that cuts energy bills. So think twice
before going all Paul Bunyan.
By John Riha - To view the original article click here