A great dad is always there when you need him. He’ll drive you to soccer practice, take you out for ice cream when you’re having a hard day, congratulate you for all of your accomplishments and ensure you always know how to tell a family-friendly, painfully cheesy joke. But we don’t all have access to a wise dad in our own lives, so sometimes, it’s helpful to get advice from the sage fathers of the internet.
Thankfully, there are plenty of papas out there who are happy to help out. 3 weeks ago, Reddit user Jstohler reached out to the Dad For a Minute community asking others to contribute their most valuable tips and tricks that all new homeowners should know, and these men certainly came through.
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Below, we’ve gathered all of the advice that might keep you from having to learn some of these lessons the hard way, so be sure to upvote all of the responses that you find most helpful. Let us know in the comments if you’ve got any more fatherly words of wisdom to share with your fellow pandas, and then if you’re interested in checking out another Bored Panda article that’s useful for new homeowners, you can find that right here!
Have a designated location for all, and I mean all, owners manuals. You might not need them, but at some time you might need to know the make/model of your weed trimmer, or of your garbage disposal.
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You should keep a schedule of things that need to be checked and replaced on a regular basis, such as:
* Change ventilation intake filters every 2-3 months, and when you do make a change, write the date on the new filter so you know how old it is.
* Clean your dryer’s lint trap every 2-3 loads.
* Your washing machine has a lint trap too, which I didn’t learn for years. Check your washing machine manual for how to do this since it’s different for different models, and clean that out at least once a year. Beware: the first time might be disgusting.
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Always maintain your roofs and gutters.
Cleaning the gutters is easy enough on a single story — just use a ladder and a hose. As for the roof, set money aside to replace or repair it about every 10 years. They don’t last forever, and leaks will destroy a home quicker than you think.
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If you live somewhere you get lots of snow, make sure you clear paths from at least two exits regularly.
If you need to escape a fire you don’t want snow blocking your emergency exit.
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Learn where your waterline cutoff is, and make sure you have a tool to turn it, in the event of a faucet, hose spigot failing you can minimize the damage while you fix it or call a plumber.
Likewise if you’re in a place like Texas where the houses aren’t built to take cold you can cutoff the water and open the taps to keep the pipes from freezing and splitting
In addition to the household tools and yard work tools that are pretty standard, I recomend a powerwasher… even a cheap one can make a world of difference to decks, fences, walkways/sidewalk, even your house itself and (with a few extras) cars. It’s one of the higher payoff chores as far as cosmetic improvement and it’s actually kinda fun
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For cold-weather climates, before the first hard freeze of the season:
* Drain and/or blow out your sprinkler system (if you have a sprinkler system).
* Make sure outside hoses are disconnected from faucets.
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Not doing this could result in burst water pipes (due to the expansion of freezing water) and expensive repair bills.
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If it deals with sparky stuff (electricity), or wet stuff (water systems or water), *deal with that stuff ASAP*. Electrical issues can kill by fire, or by electrocution. No bueno. Water can ruin structures and turn a couple tens or hundreds of dollars of patch work/fixing into thousands of dollars of water damage and plumbing repair or mold remediation. “Ounce of prevention, something, something…”
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I used to work for insurance companies, and determined the value of every little thing in your house. I’d go head-to-head with those fire-truck-chasing professional loss adjusters. Our goal was to use the information you provided and give the lowest damn value we could justify for your item. If you don’t want to get screwed, be more detailed with the items you’re claiming. For instance, if you reported only ‘toaster,’ we would come up with a cheap $4.88 toaster from Walmart that toasts one side of the bread at a time. And we would do that for everything you have ever owned. If you said ‘toaster — $25,’ we’d have to be within 20% of that, so we’d find something pretty much dead-on $20.01. Now, if you said ‘high-end toaster, stainless steel, blue glowing power button,’ you might get $35-$50 instead. We had to match all features that were listed. Also, don’t leave out little things like shower curtain rings. It adds up.
For example, if I was writing up the shower in my bathroom, I’d report:
• Designer Shower Curtain – $35 • Matching Shower Curtain Liner for Designer Shower Curtain – $15 • Shower Curtain Rings x20 – $15 • Stainless Steel Soap Dispenser for Shower – $35 • Natural Sponge Loofah – from Whole Foods – $15 • Natural Sponge Loofah for Back – from Whole Foods – $19 • Holder for Loofahs – $20 • Bars of soap – from Lush – $12 each (qty: 4) • Bath bomb – from Lush – $12 • High end shampoo – from salon – $40 • High end conditioner from salon – $40 • Refining pore mask – from salon – $55
I could probably keep thinking, and bring it up to about $400 for the contents of my shower. Nothing there is ‘unreasonable,’ nothing there is clearly out of place, and nothing seems obviously fake. Most people writing claims for a total loss wouldn’t even bother with the shower since it’s just some used soap and sponges. And they’d be losing out on $400.
I’ve absolutely seen insurance payouts for loss claims originally calculated at under $7,000 increase to over $100,000 when people file their claims this way.
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If you hear running water, you should check on it. Even if you know it’s running cus the washer, or toilet or anything.
I’ve had 3 water incidents in my home, clean supply to a tub loosened, tub overflowed, shower control nob broke. Water is a lot like a gun, when it comes to home ownership. Always treat it like it’s loaded.
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Get a dehumidifier if your basement or garage are damp. Don’t let any part of your house be damp. Water is the enemy.
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Keep a list of local repair companies handy and keep it updated. You never know when you may need to reach someone last minute.
Make sure you have a well stocked toolkit for minor jobs, and keep it somewhere easily accessible. Hammer, screwdrivers, picture hangers, electrical tape, nails etc.
When you paint, tile, wallpaper, or whatever, make sure you write down information about that product. Brand, name of color, pattern, what room it’s in etc, when when and where you bought it from. I do this on the back of the paint chips of the color I use and write down information on other items in a notebook that I keep with my homeowners policy and manuals.
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Step one, hire the best reviewed home inspector in your area. Even if you bought your home with no conditions, they can give you an idea of what expensive fixes are on the horizon and what ones may be far off.
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Pay attention to the interest rate when you get your loan.
Adjustable rate mortgages can mess you up. You’ll probably have a 30-year mortgage for most of your working life. Don’t get something that might explode in 3 years and be a nightmare for the rest of the time.
Refinancing usually costs several grand. Depending on current interest rates, it could save you money in the long run or not, but be aware that it might not be possible for you in the future. So plan for a home you can afford as it is right now.
Try to save at least six months worth of wages in a long-term savings account. The bank won’t care if your job goes away. If you can’t pay for your house, they’ll take it away from you. Also, things will break down at the least convenient time, and heat pumps or new roofs are NOT cheap.
Speaking of money, it can be worthwhile to shop around for loans. Many smaller local banks or credit unions might be able to offer you better terms than the big chains. If you already have a loan, it could still be worthwhile to refinance to one of these. If you can get 1.5% less interest, it can be worthwhile to add 3-5 grand to the total amount.
Everything will cost more than it should. The older you get, the truer it is.
Keep your stick on the ice. I’m pulling for you.
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If you have pets, pick up after them regularly. Even three minutes in the back yard will keep you from smelly aromas and dead grass.
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Invest in a set of tools. Even if you use them occasionally, a good set of tools (power, and hand tools) will enable you to save big in simple to moderate repairs and purchase of things you can make yourself. Black Friday/Cyber Monday offer screaming deals on midrange and better quality five-and-six piece power tool sets for sub-$200, sometimes even less. If you think you’ll be regularly working on your home/building things, invest the few extra dollars on the quality brands.
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Experts who can bang out repairs, and make bookcases from scrap lumber found in the gutter make it *look* hard because they’ve done it a million times, but *you* can fix and build stuff, too. YouTube is a godsend to learn how. Experts *hate it*!
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Try to create an emergency of fund of at least $5K. More is obviously better.
Understand and value needs vs wants.
Turn off the electricity at the circuit. Check it before you touch it.
Program your thermostat.
Not exactly house related but you just bought a home, likely with a mortgage and dependent on two incomes, what happens if you or your partner dies? Buy life insurance equal to 10x your salary and have a policy that is outside of your job. Do it when you are young and completely healthy.
Take some time to educate yourself on fire extinguishers and get the appropriate one for your home. Keep it somewhere easily accessible. Remember PASS – Pull the pin, Aim at the base of the fire, Squeeze firmly, and Sweep in your motions.
Never walk away when you’re cooking – especially oil or grease…not even for a minute.
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Use a pillowcase to clean fan blades every month. Set a reminder to clean your dishwasher and washing machine filters monthly. Also, run a monthly sanitizer load in the washing machine and wipe/clean the rubber liner if applicable.
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1) change the batteries in your smoke detectors every 6 mos.
2) clean your gutters. Once a year if only a few trees, twice a year if lots of trees around.
3) regular yard maintenace. Mowing, trimming, etc. Once a week is good for mowing, trimming once every 3-4weeks.
4) if you live in snow country, invest in a good snowblower. Your back will thank you later in life. You will also save money over the long run rather than paying someone.
5) buy homeowners AND contents insurance. Often they are separate.
6) include property tax in your budget. Always goes up every year.
7) have your furnace serviced every year.
8) know the lifespan of your big ticket items (roof, furnace, hot water tank).
9) make aure you know the location of your circut breakers, and that each breaker is properly labelled. Same with main powrr cutoff.
10) know where your main water cutoff in the house is. Useful for a flood or if you go away for a week or two. If you shutnoff the water, turn on a tap or flush your toilet to reduce internal water pressure.
11) sweep out your garage every spring, especially in winter areas. Dirt and salt adds up.
12) fix, or have fixed any leaky taps asap. They dont ever get better on their own.
13) ask questions/watch youtube videos on topics for minor home repairs.
14) if you dont know what you are doing dont f**k around with electricity, hire a professional. Same with plumbing and gas.
15) all your external doors should have deadbolts.
Edited to add:
16) buy a good tool kit. It should have multiple screwdrivers (flathead -, phillips +, and if you are lucky, robertson □), a hammer, and several wrenches (imperial if you live in the US, metric AND imperial if ypu live in Canada).
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– don’t be ashamed to ask someone to fix something for you. Some things (like electrical stuff) are better left to the professionals.
– don’t forget to replace your pillow every 1-2 years. At least that works for me
– make a maintenance schedule. Write in everything you have to check up/change out.
– nothing except liquids should go down the toilet. (Even then, too much oil/fat is also bad) in can save you big bucks in the long run.
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When my dad was around he taught me something I can contribute:
You don’t need to fully saturate the paint roller when painting a wall. Strive for even coats not thick layers. Also, taping is the most important part.
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With many people out there getting ready for cold weather I would say cover your outdoor faucets with covers (not rags) rags soak in the moisture and then freeze there are cheap Styrofoam covers you can get. Plastic kits over the windows can really help keep the heat in as well. On another note car batteries have more trouble in the cold so a lot of people go out on a cold morning and their car won’t start. The battery was old and dieing and the cold was the final straw.
Mow your lawn regularly, it is the best way of controlling weeds… Regularity depends on location.
One tip for buying any major appliance (Fridge, washer/dryer set, etc.) is check local repair places you like and see who they service. Certain brands you will find a lot of repair shops won’t touch. If the brand you are interest in only has one authorized service business serving a huge area all by itself and is an hour drive from your house that is a good sign you want to avoid that brand.
Don’t leave things for later; future you will regret it. It’ll make those bad days or times when you’re sick, so much easier to manage.
Also always have some bicarb soda in the pantry. It’s great for cleaning!
And if you live by yourself, take 4 slices of bread and keep them in the fridge in a small plastic bag, and put the rest of the load in the freezer. This way it’ll last longer and won’t go bad before you’re finished with it.
Have a good credit card when looking to finance appliance purchases. Low interest purchases, and possible extension of the manufacturer’s warrantee on appliances or fixtures can help you in the long run. Keep the receipts for major appliances you purchase-very helpful for returns or manufacturer refunds/warrantee service work.
Invest in good tools. Never skimp on eye or ear protection.
Don’t buy Samsung appliances if you care about your sanity
I had a plumber once who told me they make most of their money because people use products like Draino on clogs. Apparently it does more harm than good. He recommended a crystalline product called [Glug](https://www.amazon.com/Oatey-20410-Glug-Drain-Opener/dp/B018A46C18/ref=sr_1_3?crid=1N8OU1K7JA6G&keywords=glug+drain+opener&qid=1669167534&sprefix=glug%2Caps%2C76&sr=8-3) and now I can’t imagine owning a home without it. You have to be careful applying it, because inhaling it is quite dangerous, but the results on your drains are dramatically better.
Also, for bathroom sinks you should frequently run very hot water for an extended period to melt away the soap/toothpaste/hair product buildup that happens over time. Heating water to near boiling and then pouring it down the drain produces the same result.