Caring For Your New Home

21411267_sProtecting the beauty and value of your new home begins on the first day of ownership. Begin by reviewing the maintenance information provided by Key Land and all the manufacturers’ materials that you receive. Though you may have owned and operated similar products in previous homes, minor changes and updates can be significant.

Make prevention the foundation of your home care plan. Regular inspection and routine maintenance can prevent unnecessary work and expense. A helpful guide to seasonal preventative maintenance can be found at www.home-smart.org; this site is sponsored by the Minnesota Building Industry Foundation which Key Land Homes is proud to support. You will also find helpful tips for maintenance during a home’s first year, energy efficiency pointers and a sign-up to receive a monthly checklist of common home maintenance and operation items.

As you plan the care of your home, think in terms of the following activities:

Protecting: Encourage habits that prevent damage such as scratches, chips, cuts, burns, stains, gouges and scrapes to preserve the appearance and life of your home’s cosmetic surfaces.

Cleaning: Regular cleaning is essential to counter the accumulated effects of time and normal living. However, some items in your home may require special attention so be sure to check with manufacturers’ guidelines for the cleaning of specific appliances or surfaces in your home.

Adjustments and Lubrication: A home contains many moving parts. Through use, some of these may require adjustment or lubrication. Adjustment tips and lubrication requirements can often be found in the manufacturers’ literature.

Replacement of Consumable Parts: Light bulbs, filters and batteries (in smoke detectors) will eventually need to be replaced.

Inspection and Preventative Routines: Furnaces and cooling equipment should be checked annually. In addition many of the other components in your home will benefit from regularly scheduled maintenance; become familiar with the manufacturers’ recommendations for each product.

Some aspects of home maintenance may require a bit of added emphasis:

Landscaping: A well-designed landscape plan can be a thing of beauty but it is also an important element of a well-maintained home. Of primary importance is to ensure that whatever your plan, there is sufficient drainage to keep water away from your home’s foundation. You will also want to make sure that soil is covered either with grass or plantings to prevent erosion. When developing a landscaping plan, you may want to think of a plan that can be implemented in stages and with many communities implementing watering restrictions you may want to consider native plants to minimize irrigation needs.

Settling – Expansion and Contraction: Building materials expand and contract because of changes in temperature and humidity. And since different materials expand and contract at different rates, you may notice a slight separation between items such as trim and drywall. Many people refer to these changes as “settling”. Most settling is routine and can be corrected with minor cosmetic maintenance. You may see evidence of settling in drywall cracks and nail pops, separations where moldings meet walls or at mitered corners of door and window casings.

Caulk: Over time, caulk dries, shrinks and cracks. Once this occurs its effectiveness is diminished and it no longer seals against moisture and air infiltration. Maintaining caulking will be a routine item over the life of your home.

Concrete: Some minor cracking in your home’s concrete flatwork (garage floors, walks) is to be expected. These cracks result from shrinkage during curing, temperature changes or soil movement and do not affect the structural integrity of your home. While cracking cannot be entirely prevented, you can minimize it by following these tips: maintain good drainage away from concrete slabs, fill low spots or settled areas near concrete slabs, seal cracks with concrete caulking, remove ice and snow as soon as possible, and protect concrete against de-icing agents.

Mechanical Systems: The mechanical systems in your new home are likely to perform differently from those in your previous home. And every installation varies among homes, even if the same trade contractor performs the installation. Plus each home is unique in the way that it interacts with wind, passive solar effects, and weather. Communities update their codes and construction requirements regularly meaning your new home may have to comply with regulations that did not exist when your last home was built. Common examples are low-flush toilets to save water and high-efficiency furnaces to save heating fuel. Become familiar with the operation of your home’s new systems to maximize their efficiency and your family’s comfort. Learn where all main safety shut-offs are for water, electricity and gas.

Ventilation: Today’s homes are built tighter than ever. This saves energy dollars, but it also creates a potential concern. Condensation, carbon monoxide, radon and other indoor pollutants may accumulate in an extremely tight home unless properly ventilated. All Key Land Homes are built with state-of-the-art ventilation, so be sure to pay attention during your home’s orientation to learn how to maintain appropriate settings. Other tips include never interfering with the fresh air supply to the furnace, running the cooking hood or exhaust fan when cooking and bath fans when bathrooms are in use.

Paint: Improvements in paint formulations mean that we no longer have to worry about harmful chemicals such as lead. And while today’s paints are extremely durable, you will want to be careful when scrubbing stains that may occur. In fact, touching up painted surfaces may produce more satisfactory results than scrubbing.

Kitchen Appliances: Appliance manufacturers will work directly with homeowners if repairs are needed. You will find service numbers in their respective care and use brochures. Please refer to these booklets to learn about your new appliances and to make sure that you are operating them correctly. If you need to contact an appliance manufacturer, prepare to supply the model and serial numbers found on the sticker or metal plate attached to the appliance. Activate manufacturer warranties by completing and mailing any registration cards.
Maintenance and Your Home’s Warranty

As the homeowner, you are responsible for normal maintenance. But if part of your home behaves in a way that exceeds the warranty tolerance or if an installer erred in assembling materials, the materials and workmanship warranty applies. For instance, carpet requires regular vacuuming to look its best. This task is maintenance and therefore the homeowner’s responsibility.

You can maximize the protection from the warranties that you receive with your new home if you:

Key Land Homes provides guidelines for their limited warranty. These can be found under the warranty section of our website. As a Key Land homebuyer, you will be given a password to access the Warranty section of the site where this information can be found. Additionally, Key Land homeowners can report warranty items on our Warranty section of the website, place a request for service and track any service issues.

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