weekend open thread – February 11-12, 2023 — Ask a Manager

Couple of categories:

Get to know your systems and their maintenance needs. What kind of furnace will you have? Do you know when it was last serviced? Do you know whether the air filter has been changed? Is it changeable or do you have to wash it? Where do you buy your filters? (note: I have my gas furnace serviced each year, and the last technician said – oh, here, see this link? Buy them here and have them available, it’ll save you like $75/year because we overcharge for them.) Also – if you’re in the market for a gas furnace, consider a multi-stage furnace. Several grand more than a dual-stage furnace, but super super super quiet and very efficient. Our fan runs constantly, but at such a reduced rate that we don’t hear it. It also keeps the house better balanced in terms of heat.

Are you on a well or on city water? Is there any treatment system in place? Do you have a sprinkler system? If so, there could be a back flow device on the system. Most of them should be testable, and many municipalities require an annual test. Some do it for the homeowners and some require the homeowner to find a company to do it for them. Does the sprinkler system need to be winterized? Do you have outdoor water spigots? If so, do you know how to turn them off before it freezes? (Our shut offs for the various branches of outdoor spigots are in the basement. I know where they are and how to turn them off.)

Know where your gas and water shut offs are, and how to turn them off if you need to. Generally the gas company doesn’t want you to just randomly turn on and off your gas at the shutoff, but at least know where it is and have the appropriate tool nearby just in case, especially if you live in earthquake country.

Seriously recommend doing a “systems” notebook, keeping notes and manuals (and even paint colors) in one place. Know how things run, so that when they go south, you can get on top of things quickly. (aside: dh and I looked at a house last weekend that was a literal black box for the current owners. They didn’t know anything about how any of the systems ran, and it was clear they weren’t keeping them up. It was a huge turn off to us. Heated floors not working, but they also knew nothing about how they work. Also, two wells on the property and they were using a well that was producing 2 gpm rather than the nearly brand new, deep well that produced 75 gpm. I’m guessing that the 2 gpm well was pulling from the nearby pond or the nearby drainfield, or maybe both. At any rate, gah, we ran.)

Now is the time to start dedicating space for organization – before you move in. We have a full basement/garage under the house. We have lots of hobbies, and everything has its space. Camping gear, canning/dehydrating, gardening, woodworking. It could be bedlam down there if we didn’t take the time to say, ok, we have X, let’s assign this spot for all items related to X. My cold room even has shelf labels, so I can send dh down to grab something for me.

Upstairs we have a hall closet for just paper goods, an extra closet in a bedroom for holiday items, and part of another closet in the other bedroom (since our kids are out on their own) for my crafty goods. My vacuum cleaner, steam cleaner and swiffer are all in the hall coat closet on the main floor.

Also – robot vacuums are my friend. I have one for the first and second floors. I put them on a schedule, and generally check them every two days or so to make sure there isn’t excessive cat/dog hair clogging up the wheels. But they keep my wood floors nice and clean. I have pets, and I work full-time. Robot vacuums are my most favorite invention ever.

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