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On a House - What Should You Know About?
Old 12-30-2012, 09:08 AM   #1
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On a House - What Should You Know About?

I know where the circuit breaker and the main water shut-off valve are.

What other things (other than the obvious, like how to find the refrigerator) should someone know how to locate/operate on or in their house?

Note: our house has a well and septic tank. Any house we buy after this one is likely to have a well and septic tank.

Thanks,

Amethyst

P.S. I will post a list of all recommendations - might help somebody else.
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Old 12-30-2012, 10:11 AM   #2
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If you have gas or propane, I think it would be wise to know where the main shutoff is. The house I just bought has a gas fireplace with electric ignition, but it has battery backup so the fireplace will light even if the power goes out--how cool is that? But this is a relatively recent feature--if you have an older fireplace it may be possible to use it even with no electricity, and that's another thing that would be useful to know. That fireplace may well put out enough heat for the whole house or at least enough to keep pipes from freezing during a power outage.
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Old 12-30-2012, 10:16 AM   #3
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You need to know where the cleanout hatch is for the septic tank. Older ones are buried.
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Old 12-30-2012, 10:17 AM   #4
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I have a well and septic tank also, living out in the country. You should where the breaker is for the water pump....some are in the house panel or out on your main panel on the electric pole.
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Old 12-30-2012, 10:20 AM   #5
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I guess those would be the main ones. The gas shutoff if you gas. Also there are shut offs for the whole house, usually outside for electric, water and gas. Then individual shutoffs at the breaker panel, under sinks, toilets, gas appliances etc.

Check your breaker panel, make sure the breakers are labeled as to what they feed.

exit plans in case of fire. what location to go to in case of tornado, usually interior room away from windows.
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Old 12-30-2012, 10:31 AM   #6
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Another important thing to check is whether there are shut-off valves for each riser or water line under each sink. If there are, do they actually work. In an emegency, or even just minor plumbing repair, these are extremely worthwhile and can save both time and money.
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Old 12-30-2012, 10:46 AM   #7
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If you have a garage door opener, learn how to safely raise/lower the door if the power fails.
Know how to service your smoke detectors and have the proper batteries on hand.
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Old 12-30-2012, 10:59 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kyounge1956
If you have gas or propane, I think it would be wise to know where the main shutoff is. The house I just bought has a gas fireplace with electric ignition, but it has battery backup so the fireplace will light even if the power goes out--how cool is that? But this is a relatively recent feature--if you have an older fireplace it may be possible to use it even with no electricity, and that's another thing that would be useful to know. That fireplace may well put out enough heat for the whole house or at least enough to keep pipes from freezing during a power outage.
Tell me about it. What an idiot I was about 8 years ago, the power went out for several days. I never have had prior to this house anything but electric, so the brain never registered that there were options. So for the first half day or so, I froze contemplating when I should throw in the towel and stay at GF house when it hit me that hey my gas fireplace (that I never use) should work still. But I didn't reach rock bottom dullard stage until the next day when I turned on the water and realized by accident I had hot water, because of the gas water heater.
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Old 12-30-2012, 11:25 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by prof12 View Post
Another important thing to check is whether there are shut-off valves for each riser or water line under each sink. If there are, do they actually work. In an emegency, or even just minor plumbing repair, these are extremely worthwhile and can save both time and money.
Prof 12
Make sure the hot and cold water turn offs are not frozen. I recall some advise that you should not have them opened all the way, back them off just a bit from full opened.

Maybe know how to turn off the water to your hot water heater without having to turn off the main to your house -- could be useful if your hot water heater breaks down. We are in an earthquake zone, the water heater is strapped, but if it leaked the garage would be a mess. BTW, it's a good idea to drain out the sediment from your water heater once per year. Should extend the life some.
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Old 12-30-2012, 11:35 AM   #10
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Put new hoses on the washer if they are not.
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Old 12-30-2012, 11:55 AM   #11
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If you have a basement or crawl space with a sump pump, make sure you have a spare that is plumbed so you can easily replace it should the old current one decide to expire. It's not a matter of if it will quit, it's when.
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Old 12-30-2012, 12:01 PM   #12
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If you have a basement or crawl space with a sump pump, make sure you have a spare that is plumbed so you can easily replace it should the old current one decide to expire. It's not a matter of if it will quit, it's when.
I got a whole thread going on that one. My own solution is now a passive one in case the power goes out.

The thread is here: If power goes out and some basement flooding?
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Old 12-30-2012, 12:37 PM   #13
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If you have an automatic sprinkler system understand how to program the controller.

If you have a jacuzzi in the house understand if there the on/off switch separate from the tub. We have one in one of our rental houses and every new tenant calls to say the jacuzzi doesn't work. When we point out there is a light switch in the toilet area that has to be on they get a bit embarrassed because the instructions are taped to the wall next to the light switch.
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Old 12-30-2012, 12:45 PM   #14
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How to access the crawl spaces and attic. Checking there once or twice a year looking for signs of water damage or rodents / insects can reduce or prevent damage and save on repairs.
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Old 12-30-2012, 02:40 PM   #15
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If one really wants to get carried away with organizing all of these house chores, then create a spreadsheet with cells that turn red when a task is overdue:




I know, I know .... this is like work. And don't remind me about those red tasks. I think the bed underside did get vacuumed by DW.
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Old 12-30-2012, 02:48 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lsbcal View Post
If one really wants to get carried away with organizing all of these house chores, then create a spreadsheet with cells that turn red when a task is overdue:




I know, I know .... this is like work. And don't remind me about those red tasks. I think the bed underside did get vacuumed by DW.
Or use Outlook Tasks, iPad calendar, etc. ... I have all mine on Outlook, including a haircut every 4 weeks until I die.
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Old 12-30-2012, 02:52 PM   #17
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I am retired. I am not going to build timed task lists for myself in retirement. Far too much like work.
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Old 12-30-2012, 03:03 PM   #18
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Or use Outlook Tasks, iPad calendar, etc. ... I have all mine on Outlook, including a haircut every 4 weeks until I die.
Yep, I'm doing Outlook too. My haircuts are every 6 weeks.
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Old 12-30-2012, 03:03 PM   #19
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I am retired. I am not going to build timed task lists for myself in retirement. Far too much like work.
I can always postpone tasks for hours, days or weeks. In my case, the alternative is forgetting altogether too often... I am sure I'd never remember to change my furnace filter (until it was "carpeted") if not for Outlook, just one example.
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Old 12-30-2012, 03:51 PM   #20
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Learn how to operate your programmable thermostat
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