1. Water Shut-off Valve Location: Know the location of the water shut-off for the whole house. Most sinks and toilets have a shut-off valve under the fixture but knowing how to kill the flow throughout the home is imperative if needed in an emergency. If a leak pops up, shutting off the flow will limit the amount of damage, repair costs, and headaches.
2. Gas Shut-off Valve Location: Same issue as the water valve but with greater emphasis toward safety. A gas leak can cause a fire or explosion so shutting it off at the sign (smell) of a leak or other danger is imperative.
3. Electric Box Breaker Switches: Be sure everyone in the home knows the location of the electric panel. Each breaker should be labeled for efficiency and safety. This will save you frustration and time during electrical issues.
4. Repair Water Leaks ASAP: A huge percentage of home repair costs can come from water damage. Once you have detected a water leak have it repaired immediately. The longer you let it continue, the more it will cost you to repair.
5. Foundation Blocks and Concrete Slabs: One of the most costly home repairs is leveling a house. To help avoid this expensive repair you should keep your home’s slab nourished during spells of very dry weather. Install flowerbeds along the sides and keep them moist. If you have no flowerbeds then you should actually water the edges of the slab. Do not over water, just be aware that cracks in the dirt can be a sign of future problems in your home’s foundation.
6. Install Gutters/Downspouts: Water should be directed away (4 to 6 feet) from the foundation, sidewalks, or patio/driveway slabs. Just like too much dry weather is bad for your foundation; too much water is also bad. Never let water pool at the base of your house.
7. Keep Gutters Free Flowing: The gutters and downspouts cannot push the water away from the house (and away from the basement) if they cannot do their function. Clean the gutters and downspouts several times a year or install gutter protection.
8. Keep Debris Off Your Roof: If you have trees dropping leaves on your roof you need to clear them off so water is not trapped under the debris. Trapped water will work its way through your shingles and ultimately through to your ceilings. When you see the water stains on your walls or ceilings, you should repair the leak immediately.
9. Weatherproof Your Home: Repairs to doors and windows is another costly area. When you take the time to caulk and weather strip your doors and caulk around all your windows (in addition to saving money) you will remain aware of developing issues. Your job is to know your home.
10. Know Your Neighbors: Chances are your home was built at the same time as other homes in your neighborhood. Keeping tabs on home issues your neighbors are experiencing can go a long way in predicting possible problems at your home!