Once you sign the purchase contract and have the keys, you’re well on your way to enjoying life in your new home. And because you want to get off to a fresh start, there are several things in the home you should consider replacing right away.
Below is a list of eight items that most new homeowners replace as soon as possible. Some of these things should be replaced for safety and security reasons, others for hygiene reasons. Fortunately, everything on this list is relatively inexpensive to change out…
1) Exterior Locks – One of the first things to do in a new home is to change all the entry door locks. This includes garage doors and sliding doors. After all, you don’t really know who might have been given a key at some point in the past. Also, be sure to reprogram the codes for garage door openers, alarm systems, gates and so on. This will help prevent unauthorized entry and provide peace of mind to you and your family.
2) Smoke Alarm Batteries – Another important thing to do when moving into a new house is to replace the batteries in all smoke alarms. This will ensure the batteries are fresh. Test the unit immediately after installing the new batteries so you know they are seated correctly. Also, if you aren’t sure how long a smoke alarm has been in the home, you should replace the entire unit. Most smoke detectors only have a lifespan of 8-10 years.
3) Fire Extinguishers – A fire extinguisher can help you fight a small fire. But just because a fire extinguisher is present does not mean it will function properly. Like smoke alarms, household fire extinguishers have a limited life. Not knowing the age of an extinguisher, or if it is fully charged, is a good reason to replace it. Be prepared. Don’t let a fire get out of hand because the extinguisher didn’t work.
4) Flexible Dryer Duct – Flexible ducts, such as those made of foil or vinyl, can trap lint from the dryer. Every year, thousands of house fires start as a result of the lint build-up in flexible ducts. If your new home has a flexible vent duct for the clothes dryer, you should replace it with a rigid aluminum duct. Unlike a flexible duct, a rigid aluminum duct has a smooth interior surface which minimizes the accumulation of lint.
5) Toilet Seats – It is purely a matter of personal choice, but many new homeowners feel more comfortable replacing the toilet seats in a pre-owned home (as well as the toilet brush and plunger). After all, removing the old toilet seat is really the only way to thoroughly clean and disinfect the area where the seat mounts to the toilet. Rather than reinstalling an old seat after the porcelain has been cleaned, it is just as easy to replace the seat with a new one.
6) Shower Head and Shower Curtain – Because a home’s shower area is warm and moist, it provides the perfect environment for bacteria and mildew to thrive. As such, a shower head and shower curtain can actually harbor an abundance of germs…substantially more than any toilet seat. So unless the shower head and curtain are obviously sparkling new, it is wise to upgrade these two items as soon as you are able to do so.
7) Throw Rugs and Bath Mats – Low-lying textiles such as rugs and mats are subject to a variety of unpleasant spills and splatters. This is particularly true if the prior household had pets or small children. Not knowing what stains or “accidents” the porous fibers may have been subject to, it is often better to simply discard these smaller floor coverings and replace them with new ones.
8) Furnace Filter – There are so many things to do when moving into a new home that it is easy to forget about the furnace filter. This filter should be changed regularly because a dirty filter will make your furnace and air conditioner work harder to draw in air. This puts a strain on your system and wastes energy. A new filter is not only inexpensive, it only takes a few minutes to install.
It is natural to feel overwhelmed as you adjust to your new surroundings. Moving into a new house is exciting, but there is also so much to do. Luckily, all of the items in the above list can be replaced rather easily. This will provide a good starting point before tackling other projects around the house.
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