1. Electric panels. It’s important that you know the location of your home’s electrical panels in case you trip a circuit breaker. Usually, electrical panels are located in either a basement, garage, or utility closet. You should become familiar with how to operate the breaker box i.e. how to turn off the main circuit and the individual breakers. If your breakers are not labeled, take some time to turn off each breaker individually and label them according to which part of your home they provide power.

2.      Water shut-off valve. First, you need to locate the shut-off valve that is connected to the main water line that enters your home. If you have a basement, check along one of the outside walls to locate the valve. If you do not have a basement, check for the water shut-off valve at the ground level close to your hot water tank.


3.     Gas shut-off valve. Certain appliances in your home may be fueled by natural gas. These may include your water heater, fireplace, furnace, oven, dryer and more. In the event of a gas leak, you should know where to find the gas supply in your home so that you can quickly shut it off. Typically, the main gas shut-off valve is outside your home near the gas meter. Most importantly, if you suspect your home has a gas leak, immediately vacate the premises and call 911.

4.     Dryer vent. Dryers cause approximately 15,500 home fires, 29 deaths, 400 injuries and $192 million in property loss every year. To prevent this from happening to you, clean the lint from your dryer regularly.

5.      Sewer or septic lines. If you ever experience a major plumbing problem in your home, knowing where your sewer and septic systems are located is a huge help. If your home is connected to a city sewer system, locate where your main sewer line exits your home and check for a cleanout valve. If you have an older home, it may be best to have your sewer system replaced. For septic systems, you’ll need to know where the access points to your tank are and any inspection ports.


  1. Well location. If you have a home that is not connected to a city water supply, you need to know the location of your well. Depending on how your home is designed, it could be located inside your home in a crawlspace or basement. If you can’t find it inside, check your yard for a well cap, casing or pit. Knowing the location of your well can help speed up the process of repairs in the event of an emergency.


  1. Meter locations. Each utility service for your home has its own meter. Once you locate them, be sure to clean the areas around them well, so that you can access them later if you need to.


  1. Furnace filters. Filters help keep the air around you clean and safe to breathe. Your furnace will run more smoothly if it’s clean. Filters should be replaced every 30 to 90 days.


  1. Crawlspace and attic access. These areas may be different in every home. While some may provide access to utilities and appliances, others may just be empty. Still, empty spaces should never be ignored for long periods of time. Rodents and other animals could creep into these tiny spaces, and, if you’re not diligent, could chew through wiring inside your home. This kind of damage could result in a costly insurance claim.



  1. Sprinkler system. Take the time to understand how your sprinkler system works. During colder months, take the time to winterize your pipes and hose bibs to prevent freezing and bursting.


  1. Smoke alarms. You should have a functioning smoke alarm on every floor of your home. Test them regularly to make sure they are working. Smoke detectors should be replaced every 10 years.


  1. Property lines. Use a metal detector to find the stakes where your property lines are buried. You’ll want to do this sooner rather than later, especially before you begin any elaborate projects for your home. You don’t want your neighbors to get you involved in a nasty property dispute.



  1. Sump pump. Test your sump pump a few times a year to make sure it’s functioning properly. Do this by pouring water into the sump pit until the pump turns on.


  1. Gutters and downspouts. Clogged gutters and downspouts can spell disaster for the interior of your home. Test any underground drains with a garden hose to check for clogs. Be sure to clean the lines or to redirect water away from your home.


15. Your chimney should be inspected at least once a year to protect against fire and carbon monoxide.