Tulsa Home Inspection & Emergencies
I have 15 water shutoff valves in my house and I know exactly where each of them are and how to operate them. Do you? Many small Tulsa home emergencies become huge disasters for homeowners because we don't know how to take care of the property when the unexpected happens.
Buying a Tulsa home of your own is not just about building wealth and saving taxes -- it's not just about money. Since Tulsa homeownership represents the largest investment for most people, you definitely need to become a project manager as well. Homeowners' losses for 2002 from all perils totaled $25.6 billion, down from $26.8 billion in 2001, according to the Insurance Information Institute.
Get to know your Tulsa home intimately. Knowing where the shutoff valves are located, for instance, can save you a lot of money and grief later if disaster strikes.
Each of my bathrooms has three cut-off valves -- one for the commode, two under the sink (hot and cold water). If, for some reason, those break and I have water coming through, I also know where the main water valve is located and I've tested it to make sure the knob doesn't break off in my hand if I ever run up against a real emergency. There are also two water shut off valves going toward the outside water faucets.
It's easy to let these valves age into disrepair. Honestly, they aren't items that we work with on a regular basis. Except for the testing of the water main, I've not touched the knob in more than three years (when I moved into the dwelling).
Have you looked over your electrical panel as well? If you've remodeled, the labels may need to be changed (that's assuming you have labels). If they aren't clearly marked, you will have a great family project on your hands. This can take either a few minutes or an hour or so, depending on how many outlets, switches and lights you have in the house. If you have those handy walkie-talkies or a mobile phone, it makes the job of identifying the circuit breakers or fuses a lot easier. One person stays by the panel flipping switches, while the other teammate walks the house letting you know what's on and what's off. Otherwise, you'll have to do what I did -- speak very loudly through the laundry chute.
To identify the circuits will require turning on all the lights in your Tulsa house. For outlets, you'll just have to switch off the breaker and have your partner flip on an appliance, radio or lamp that's plugged in that outlet to determine the match. The good thing about this project is that it won't have to be done again unless you remodel and add on more outlets and switches on more circuit breakers.
Hot Water Heater
How's the hot water heater? Have you checked the bottom of it lately to see any evidence of rust? For many homeowners, this is one of those household items that never gets checked until water is running everywhere. The hot water heater should also have a cutoff valve. Know how to use it and have your kids try it out too.
A couple of intensive appliances are the dishwasher and washer. Keep up with what's happening underneath these appliances. Look over the hoses periodically and make sure they are not getting old and about to split open. Check for rust in the bottom of the baskets (if you have metal construction).
I remember noticing a touch of rust in the bottom of my dishwasher once when loading the dishes. I made a mental note to keep an eye on it in case it got worse. What I didn't understand is that the rust was working its way up from the bottom -- by the time I saw it inside the dishwasher, it was already too late. My neighbor came upstairs and let me know she had water dripping onto her countertops.
Finally, if you find that you didn't do the above preventative activities, then you should at least know where your insurance policy is located and understand what is covered and what is not. If you live in attached dwellings, like condos and townhouses, then you want to make sure you keep enough insurance to cover your house and any damage that might cross your limited property line.
To keep your rates down, take care of the little stuff -- anything under $500 -- and report the more expensive accidents (flooding of the basement). If you're looking for lower homeowners insurance rates, you could even consider a higher deductible. Switching your deductible from $250 to $1,000, for instance, could cut your premium by 25 percent.
Emergencies can become less taxing with a little testing, preventative home maintenance on your Tulsa home and knowing your home's systems.