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What should a new Homeowner do when they get keys to the house?

Congratulations! You are a proud homeowner and just got the keys to your new home. You ask yourself, what do I do next?

Here are a few things you need to consider before moving in, assuming, days before you closed on your home, you’ve already set up the utilities, packed your belongings, and have arranged movers.

1. Change locks and codes
Change all locks upon taking possession of the property. Do not forget to get the alarm codes from the seller. If the front door has a programmable lock, make sure you reset it and change the combination to a number unique to you. If there’s a garage door keypad present, the code should also be changed. Most keyless exterior keypads for garage overhead doors will have the procedure for re-programming the combination inside the cover of the keypad.

If you like the existing style of the door handles (doorknobs), a more economical way to change the locks, is to just have them re-keyed by a locksmith. This will save you more than having the entire doorknob changed to a new one.

2. Change out all smoke detector batteries
You definitely won’t know when the batteries were last changed on all smoke detectors and more likely than not, they haven’t been changed recently. Smoke detectors almost universally use rectangular 9v batteries. The recommended periodicity for changing out smoke detector batteries is semi-annually (every 6 months). But, if you think changing batteries twice a year is too soon (like I do), change it at least once a year. An easy way to remind yourself to perform this simple, but important maintenance is to pick a certain date in a year to change out the batteries. For example, change the batteries when you set the clocks forward or back for Daylight Savings Time. This is a perfect time to do it since some of your clocks are probably mounted high and may need a ladder or a step stool to reach it. In reality, it doesn’t matter what date you pick, as long as you pick a date that you are easily reminded of this task.

3. Replace the air filters
Most often, replacing the air filter in your home is just like changing the oil in your car. It is one of the best things you can do to reduce maintenance and failure issues with your HVAC system. With regard to the quality of the air filter you purchase, don’t waste your money buying a cheap air filter. They’re only marginally better than having no filter installed at all. You will never regret buying a decent quality air filter. Any major home improvement stores carry a variety of filters and sizes and generally will have what you need. You just need to know what size filter you need in order to buy the correct one.

Depending on how clean or polluted the air is, it is best to check the filter occasionally (between 3-6 months) and see how clean or dirty it is then adjust accordingly.

4. Update the settings of your irrigation system on your control panel
Here in Las Vegas, the majority of the homes have their own irrigation system. The control panel is usually installed inside the garage. The watering schedule changes every season. It is important that you review the settings on your panel to ensure they are correct. If you don’t know your watering schedule, visit type in your address and it will provide your watering schedule.

Also, there are specific days and times when you should and shouldn’t be watering. Be aware that you can be fined by the SNWA (Southern Nevada Water Authority) for watering your lawn on days and times when it is not allowed and you can all find that info on their website.

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