8 Secrets of Your Home You Needed to Know Yesterday
Like where your circuit breaker is, for starters
Sure, it’s way more fun shopping for holiday tabletop decorations than it is learning how to shut off water to your toilet. But say it overflows or clogs—no mercury-glass centerpiece is going to help you with that. Here, eight things you need to know about your home before you even start to consider its feng shui.
Where Do You Turn Off the Gas?
It’s a little switch on a pipe, usually in your crawlspace or in a cabinet. Thing is, you need to find it and know how to use it. If you smell gas, call 911 to report it before you turn it off yourself. But if there’s a scary fire or other natural disaster in your area, feel free to turn it off pronto.
Who Is Your Go-To Fix-It Person?
Right smack in the middle of a crisis—like when the dishwasher breaks mid-cycle or a windowpane shatters—is no time to try to remember your Angie’s List password. Ask your neighbors (right now!) or study the reviews of several handymen and then write down those names and numbers (plumber, electrician, general contractor) and tape the info to the inside of your kitchen cabinet.
Where Do You Turn Off the Water?
If your toilet is overflowing, shut off the water feeding into it by turning the knob just behind it to the right. If something bigger, like the faucet on your tub or sink, won’t stop gushing or your washing machine runneth over, shut the water off at the main source—a wheel next to the water meter, which is usually outside, in the utility room or in the basement.
Where Is Your Circuit Breaker?
You need to know where this bad boy is so you can shut it off if you smell burning, if there is a fire or if the switches become blackened (oh, dear). In the case of a temporary NBD circuit overload, just click all the switches back to the same “on” position.
What Does Your Home/Apartment Insurance Cover?
Yes, it may seem like the next best thing to an IRS audit, but trust us, reading through your policies is like money in the bank if and when there’s a crisis. And you may discover happy bonuses you didn’t know about, like the clause that reimburses you for stolen property even if the theft happens away from home, while you were traveling.
How Do You Set Your Sprinkler Timer?
The drought’s not totally over, people, so adjust your sprinkler to run a minimal number of hours and when the sun isn’t directly overhead. Don’t be intimidated by the complicated-looking digital panel. Just take some time to carefully read the manual.
How Old Is Your Roof?
When buying a house, the seller’s disclosure lists the age if known. The life expectancy of this expensive home element is around 25 years, and if you don’t know how old it is, it’s worth having a roofer check for any problems and estimate the age. Just so, you know, you can start saving now…
How Do You Clean Your Lint Trap?
No, not your belly button. We’re talking about that part of your dryer that you need to check every time you run a new load. (Because a high number of household fires start when those fuzzies combust.) You’ll find a removable mesh net just inside the bottom of your dryer’s door.