So, you’ve bought a new home. Congratulations! As you get settled in, you’re no doubt tempted to make some improvements in your new residence. That’s a great idea, but new homeowners tend to make some common mistakes that can potentially damage or devalue your home. Keep an eye out for these common homeowner mistakes as you settle into your new digs.
1. Digging blind – When you get ready do put up a fence or plant new trees, don’t start digging until you know what’s under the ground. Call 811, the national dig-safely hotline, to find out the location of underground pipes, wires and cables beneath your property.
2. Ignoring attic insulation – The insulation in your attic is a major line of defense against heat loss, and many homes don’t have enough. If your attic isn’t easily accessible, locate the attic hatch and use a ladder to get into the attic to inspect the insulation. As a general rule, if you can see the attic joists, you could benefit from additional insulation.
3. Not checking the slope around the foundation – The ground around your foundation should slope downward away from your house by at least 6 inches over 10 feet. Maintaining this slope keeps rain and runoff from soaking the soil around the foundation, which can lead to foundation cracks, leaks and costly repairs.
4. Careless drilling – There are all kinds of reasons you may need to drill into a wall, but you need to be careful to avoid drilling into wiring, ductwork, pipes and cables. Use a stud sensor before drilling to find safe spots, and steer clear of areas within 2 feet of the floor and vertical locations above and below switches. To be on the safe side, never drill deeper than 1¼ inches deep. That’s deep enough to get through plaster and drywall, but not deep enough to damage most pipes and wires.
5. Cutting down trees – Think long and hard before cutting down trees on your property. Trees add value to your home and provide shade that can cut energy bills, so it’s usually a good idea to leave them be unless they pose a hazard. If a tree has to go, contact a professional tree service to remove it.