Home Sweet Home
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You’re all moved in and mostly unpacked so you can finally flop in the chair and relax a bit, right? OK, you can flop for a minute, but your work isn’t done. Whether your home is brand new or 100 years old, you still have some things to do before you can relax.

The Checklist

Moving is stressful and you need to make sure you didn’t forget to do something important. Did you remember to take care of these critical obligations?

  • Fill out a change of address form with the United States Postal Service.
  • Inform your bank, other financial companies, and insurance agent of your new address.
  • Change your address with the Department of Motor Vehicles.
  • Transfer gas, water, phone, electricity, cable and other utilities to your new address and make sure service to the old address is no longer in your name. a homeowner can have utilities in two or more places, so make sure you aren’t paying for someone else’s usage at your previous address.

Safe and Secure

If you moved into an existing home, change all of the outside locks and the garage door opener codes. Previous residents may still have keys and codes, so to be safe, completely change all access areas. Have a spare key made to give to a trusted friend or relative in case of an emergency.

Look at your outside landscaping and trim bushes and trees that obscure ground-level windows that allow easy access to burglars. Consider a home alarm system.

Check the expiration dates on all fire extinguishers, smoke alarms, and carbon monoxide detectors. Replace existing batteries with new and keep a log so you remember when to replace them.

Familiarize yourself with your home to avoid confusion during a power outage or significant water damage if a pipe breaks. Find water shut-off valves for all bathrooms and sinks, the whole house water valve, and the electrical circuit box. If breakers are not labeled, test each one and label them yourself.

Check the temperature setting on the water heater. If the temperature setting is over 120 degrees, reduce it. This is particularly important if you have children. Hot water temperatures over 120 degrees can scald a child.

Warm and Cozy

Take stock of improvements you need to make to reduce your energy usage, add green-friendly technologies, and make your home more comfortable. Some of the simpler repairs and upgrades you can do right away include checking for and fixing leaky pipes, replacing furnace and air conditioner filters, clearing vents of obstructions and dust, and replacing old light bulbs with LED or CFL bulbs. Wrap an insulating blanket over your water heater and insulation around exposed water pipes.

More time-consuming, but necessary energy-saving projects include checking your home for adequate insulation and adding more if necessary. If your home doesn’t have one, install a programmable thermostat. Then sit back and enjoy your warm, cozy, and safe new home.