Key’s 10 post move-in “To Do” list

Congratulations! You found your dream house, made an offer, had your inspection, packed up your belongings and you are settling into your new home! After taking possession of a new home, there are some maintenance and safety issues that should be addressed immediately. We compiled a list of the 10 most important below for you:

1. Change the locks

This may seem like an obvious one, but one that for sure you don’t want to miss. Make sure to get new locks on all exterior entrances, for improved security.

2. Plan additional security

In addition to locks there are many other important features of a home that need to be made secure. Check that all windows and doors are secure. Improve window hardware as necessary. Security rods can be added to sliding windows and doors. You may want to consider a security system also depending on your neighborhood.

3. Install Smoke Detectors

This is a new home, so start off right. There should be a smoke detector on each level of the home, these are easy to install, so if they aren’t there already, go buy a few and put them in. Ensure that there is also a smoke detector outside all sleeping areas.

4. Make sure Smoke Detectors work

Replace batteries on any existing smoke detectors and test them when you first move in. Then, make a note to replace the batteries again every year to ensure your home is always protected.

5. Create a Safety Plan

Create a plan of action in the event of a fire in your home. Ensure that there is an operable window or door in every room of the house. Consult with your local fire department regarding fire safety issues and what to do in the event of fire.

6. Fix any trip hazards

Examine driveways and walkways for trip hazards. Undertake repairs where necessary. Examine the interior of the home for trip hazards. Loose or torn carpeting and flooring should be repaired.

7. Fix any fall hazards

Undertake improvements to all stairways, decks, porches and landings where there is a risk of falling or stumbling.

8. Study your home inspection report

You paid for it, so make good use of it! Review your home inspection report for any items that require immediate improvement or further investigation. Address these areas as required.

9. Keep the critters out!

When you make such a hospitable home, sometimes other creatures want to move in along with you. To keep your home to yourself and your family, install rain caps and vermin screens on all chimney flues as necessary.

10. Know your shut offs

Investigate the location of the main shut-offs for the plumbing, heating and electrical systems and know how to shut them off safely in the case of a leak or other emergency. If you attended the home inspection, these items would have been pointed out to you.

Pre-drywall Inspections

Once a house is completed there are many building components sealed in walls and no longer visible. This includes structure, exterior wall openings, cooling and heating, electrical and plumbing. After moving into the house if there is a problem with these hidden systems then interior walls have to be opened up to gain visual access.

A pre-drywall inspection involves observing what eventually will be hidden inside the walls of your house. It is done before the walls are insulated and the drywall, also known as sheet rock or gypsum board, is installed. Hence the use of the term “pre-drywall”.




I find components fail over time for several reasons.  Either because of age, a material defect or by it being  improperly installed. Components come with installation instructions. Typically the builder is required to install the components per those installation instructions. This may not happen. So if the installation does not look plausible based on the inspectors experience, then this is the time to ask questions of the builder before it gets sealed up in a wall.

In addition to considering having a pre-drywall inspection it can be beneficial for the buyer of the home to take photos of the interior of the open structure.  These photos should then be placed in a photo album for future reference. When a stain shows up on an interior surface you can refer to your photos as to whether there is an obvious water source there. Or some day, should you want to make an opening in a wall you will know what lies behind it. The photos can be a time saver for locating the cause of the problem and reduce the number of access holes you need to make.

Water Hammer Arrested

Home Improvement StoreWe have an energy efficient washing machine that just recently started to cause a loud water hammer noise during the initial fill cycle. Water hammer occurs when the flow of water through pipes is suddenly stopped. The sudden stop of the water behind the valve creates an abrupt pressure spike that results in a loud “banging”  noise in the pipe which can damage the plumbing.

I remember discovering this phenomena as a kid. Then turning the water on and off quickly to get that banging noise until my Dad told me to “knock it off” or something to that affect.
After some internet research, I went to my local home improvement store and acquired two water hammer arresters. These arresters are designed to install between the hot and cold water hose bibs and the hoses which go to the wash machine. Following the instructions on the back of the packaging, and with the help of a pair of pliers, their installation was pretty straight forward and the process took maybe 15 minutes at most.
The result was positive. The water hammer or “banging” noise no longer occurs when the washing machine operates.

Now may also be a good time to replace any rubber washer hoses with the metal braided style hoses.  I’ve read that washing machine hose failure is the second leading cause of serious water damage to a home so this is a good item to be proactive on. I’ve seen the rubber hoses fail and it is not a pretty sight.