Home Safety

New Homeowner Checklist: 4 Ways to Care for Your New Home

4 Ways to Care for Your New Home

Congratulations on being a new homeowner! In all the excitement, and maybe relief, of making it through the real estate closing, it can be easy to think “Now what?” after you're handed those keys. To limit some of the overwhelm of all you have to do next, here is a simple new homeowner checklist to get you started with 4 ways to care for your new home.


- If something was found in the home inspection, get it fixed! Don’t wait on this and let small problems become bigger problems. If you need to hire a professional and are new to the Dartmouth/Lake Sunapee Region, ask your local Realtor® at CG Shepherd Realty, LLC for a list of recommendations.

- Save that list of local professionals and add to it. Even if you prefer to DIY, sometimes you need to call in a professional.


- Know how and where to shut off the outdoor propane or oil supply and any indoor appliances just in case a problem occurs.

- Find where all the water valves are located inside your home. Often, you can find these under your sinks and behind your toilets. Small leaks can become gushers, and you don’t want to be scrambling to find the turn off valve when you have water spraying all over your bathroom. This is one of those new homeowner mistakes that can easily be avoided.

- Locate and label breaker box. Knowledge is power...literally.


- Check & clean gutters. Check the gutters of your home for debris and clean out any that you find. Clogged gutters can prevent proper drainage of the water runoff from your roof and leave standing water, which could cause damage over time.

- Do a basic interior cleaning. Unless you know your new home was recently thoroughly cleaned, it’s good to do a basic cleaning before you setup and organize all your belongings. Especially make sure the kitchen is clean before loading it up with all your dinnerware and pantry items.


- Try your house keys in all exterior doors to your home and garage to make sure they work and make the appropriate number of copies you will need.

- Test your detectors. Test all smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors. Also, make sure there are enough detectors for your whole house. Go ahead and replace the batteries in them so you know they’re fresh. CG Shepherd Realty, LLC gives out free 9 volt batteries twice a year at the fall back and spring forward time changes for this purpose.

- Create an emergency exit plan. We all hope we will never have to use something like this, but it is far better to be prepared than panicked if there is an emergency. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) has great instructions and tips for both creating and practicing your fire escape plan including a downloadable grid for drawing your plan. 

- Make a list of local Emergency Service Numbers and keep it somewhere handy, like your refrigerator.

These 4 ways to care for your new home are just the beginning of your journey as new homeowners. Take it one step at a time, and enjoy meeting your neighbors, getting involved in your community, and decorating your home any way you want!

Are you new to the Dartmouth/Lake Sunapee Region? Stop by CG Shepherd Realty, LLC for a list of community phone numbers and school schedules.

Winter Propane Safety Reminders for Your Home

With the substantial amount of snow accumulation we've experienced across the Upper Valley and Dartmouth-Lake Sunapee regions, it is important to keep in mind some snow hazards specific to your home propane heating system.

According to Irving Energy, "two of the biggest risks for your propane heating system related to snowfall and drifting snow are propane or oil leaks as a result of damaged fittings and carbon monoxide poisoning due to blocked vents."

Hopefully, the most severe winter weather here in New England is through, but we all know the snow hangs around for a long time and can cause damage even after the storm has passed.

So, here are some steps you can take to help ensure your safety before and after heavy snowfalls and icy conditions:

Before a Snowstorm:

  • Mark the location of your storage tank, vent, and/or fill pipe so that it can be easily located.
  • Ensure you know how and where to shut off the outdoor propane or oil supply and any indoor appliances in the event that a problem occurs. Especially if you recently moved into a new residence, put this on your New Homeowner To-Do List...we know you have one.
  • Be sure to clear the snow from your house number so that emergency services will be able to find your home in the case of an emergency. Your house number should be easily visible on the road for emergency responders.

After Each Snowfall or Icy Conditions:

  • Carefully clear heavy snow and ice from regulators, regulator vents, piping, tubing and valves. Failure to do so can cause damage that could result in an oil or gas leak. Appliance vents, chimneys and flues must also be kept clear of snow and ice so appliances can vent properly. Again, be very careful when doing so to avoid damage to system components. Finally, carefully clear snow and ice off the top of tanks, gauges, fittings, and lines. Using a broom to do so will help avoid damaging the tank or system components.
  • Watch for heavy icicles or large amounts of snow falling from the roof or eaves that can be very damaging to a tank and system components. Safely remove these hazards from above and around your tank, fill pipes, regulator, piping, tubing and valves, being careful not to damage your system.
  • Inspect your equipment frequently. If you notice your tank has shifted position, gas or oil lines are bent, broken or damaged, or you see something else unusual about your system or appliance, turn off the main gas or oil supply valve on your propane tank, if it is safe to do so. Then call your propane supplier.

Throughout the Winter Season:

  • Test your Carbon Monoxide detectors to make sure they are working properly, and change the batteries, if needed.
  • Be on the lookout for any signs of gas or oil leaks in and around your home. Although gas leaks can occur any time of year, severe winter weather conditions can make your system equipment and appliances more prone to leaks. So even if you are taking the proper precautions stated above, you should still be cognizant of the smell or indication of a leak. 

If you smell propane or suspect a propane leak in your home, follow these safety procedures (provided by Irving Energy):

  1. No Flames or Sparks
    - Immediately put out all smoking materials and pre-existing open flames
    - Do not turn on any lights or appliances
    - Do not use telephones or cell phones
  2. Leave the Area Immediately
    - Get everyone out of the building or area where you suspect gas is leaking
  3. Shut Off the Gas
    - Turn off the main gas supply valve on your tank, if it is safe to do so
    - Close the valve by turning it clockwise (to the right)
  4. Report the Leak
    - Once safely away from the area, call 911 or your local fire department
    - Then call your propane supplier
  5. Do Not Return to the Building or Area
    - Wait until the fire department or qualified service technician determines the area is safe
  6. Get Your System Checked
    - Your propane supplier should inspect your entire propane system to ensure it is leak free before using any heating source or appliance

Propane is an efficient and versatile fuel that is safe when properly used. By being mindful of the hazards and taking these precautions, you can ensure your safety when using propane heating in your home.

Some of the above information was adapted from Irving Energy's Winter Safety article.

For more information on propane safety, visit the Propane Education & Research Council website, or Irving Energy's Propane Safety Guide.


  1. Cheryl Smith on

    Checking the carbon monoxide monitor throughout the winter season is very important. I replace the batteries every six months just to make sure it is working properly. Being safe is the ultimate goal when dealing with my home. http://www.andersonspropane.com/