Since you’ve just recently taken possession of your new home I would like to quickly bring you up to speed with some maintenance actions you should perform immediately. Of course safety issues have the highest priority.
1) Change out all smoke detector batteries. Most often, you won’t know when the batteries were last changed in your new home. More likely than not, they haven’t been changed recently. Smoke detectors almost universally use the rectangular 9v batteries. The recommended periodicity for changing out smoke detector batteries is semi-annually (every 6 months). There is an easy way to remind yourself to perform this important maintenance action: Change out the batteries every time you set the clocks forward or back for Daylight Savings Time.
2) Replace the air filters. Replacing the air filter in your home is just like changing the oil in your car; it’s one of the best things you can do to reduce maintenance and failure issues. 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. The Home Depot and Lowe’s carry a large selection of sizes and generally will have what you need.
Here, in the Las Vegas Valley, the air filters are most commonly located in ceiling areas. The single most common reason for homeowners not changing the filters as needed is because it can be a pain to perform this maintenance action. Luckily, I know of a trick that makes it easier.
Many homeowners set up their ladder, open the latches on the grill, and struggle to keep the filters from falling on their head as they open the grill! Then, they struggle to keep the new filters in place while they attempt to close and latch the grill. You don’t need to suffer through this scenario.
Before climbing the ladder, go to the thermostat. There are hundreds of thermostats out there but almost all of them will have two switches or buttons. One for “System” and one for “Fan”. The fan switch or button will have two settings: “AUTO” and “On”. The normal position for the fan should be AUTO. But when changing out the air filters you should switch the setting to “On”.
Now, when you unlatch the grill, the filters will stay in place because they will be held in position by the suction of the fan. Before you install the new filter(s), I recommend you take a Sharpie and inscribe the date on the side of the filter that will be facing down so that you can see the date through the grill when you look up.
Now, when you place the filters in the proper position in the system return, the suction from the fan will hold them in place making it much easier to close the grill.
3) Change locks and codes. It’s always a good idea to change all locks upon taking possession of title. Remember to obtain master alarm codes from the seller and if the front door has a programmable lock, make sure it is changed to a number unique to you. The garage door key pad code should also be changed. Most keyless exterior key pads for garage overhead doors will have the procedure for re-programming the combination inside the cover of the key pad.
4) Verify the settings on your irrigation system control panel. Did you know that, right up there with the Sun, lawn sprinkler systems are one of the most damaging components to Las Vegas homes? It is super important that you review the settings on your panel to ensure they are correct.
Be aware of the fact that you can be fined by the SNWA (Southern Nevada Water Authority) for watering your lawn on days or at times when it is not allowed. Yes, there are specific days and times when you should be watering, and specific days and times when you’re not allowed to be watering.
The settings for your panel are easy to find. The Las Vegas Valley Water District (LVVWD) has promulgated all the required schedules on their website. You only need to enter your address. The link is here: https://www.lvvwd.com/conservation/mandatory-watering-schedule/index.html
Your settings will need to be changed seasonally per your LVVWD watering schedule.