What to Change When You Move Into a New Place

When you move into a new property, you’re probably just one of many residents who’s lived there over the years. And that means there are some safety (and hygiene) hazards that should be addressed as soon as you’ve moved into a new place.

The list begins with a basic safety measure, recommended by Redditor u/Lionel_Vs_The_World on r/LifeProTips, that could be the only thing standing between you and a home invasion:

One of the first things you should do when moving into a new home is to change the locks. You never know who might have a key to the house in their possession.

Yes! Of course! You have no idea how many people had keys to your apartment. The past tenants could have been handing them out like candy. Maybe they had key parties every weekend, or just had a loose open-door policy with friends cycling in and out of the apartment. If you are renting, do not replace the key without speaking to your landlord; some may refuse, or they might agree if you offer them a copy of the key. The rules about replacing the lock might also be addressed in your lease, and are wise to discuss with your landlord prior to signing.

The replies on the reddit post also include stories from a few people who lived to regret not doing this, as well as a recommendation for keycode locks from u/Vaporware371, as long as you’re replacing everything anyway:

I switched to combination locks. It was more expensive at the outset (the locks some additional holes needed in the door), but totally worth it. I can set a code for someone who’s house-sitting or doing work, and then immediately change it at no cost. Makes going out for walks or biking nice too since I need no keys with me.

However, keep in mind that a code is easily shared, and there is debate as to whether or not they’re actually a safer option for home security (at Lifehacker, we typically don’t recommend smart locks, for instance).

A few people said check the hinges while you’re at it, like u/Jjayray, since builders tend to just use the ones that come in the kit which are too short for real protection:

Also the put longer screw in the door jam

(the metal thing that’s attached to the frame that closes the door)

The screw that come with the door handle kit are an inch long and only screw through the frame of the door and can’t reach the stud in the wall.

Buying longer screws and simply replacing them with your drill is a fairly easy thing to do, and you can see a tutorial on how to put in new screws into stripped doorjambs here created by This Old House.

There are also a few other tips for what should be switched out when you move into a new/old place. The garage is apparently very vulnerable, as u/newtekie1 writes:

The second thing you should do is reset your garage door openers so they forget all the old remotes. Anyone can have an old remote to your garage. You can reprogram the remotes you already have, you don’t have to buy new remotes.

If you want to do this, there are a few different types of remotes and most have easily searchable tutorials online. This is a basic general one from Aaron the Garage Door Expert on YouTube:

Some posters upped the ante on this topic, like u/EyeGifUp, who argued that you should get new remotes entirely:

So here’s the thing about that. If they leave the remotes, it’s the same frequency. If they have a car that records the remote rather than programmed directly to the opener, that means even if you reset it, the previous owner still has access.

I bought a new remote altogether and reset all other programmed. It’s more expensive, but worth it.

Then u/Zesty_Pickles had some new home owner tips that were more about getting familiar with a new house and what does or doesn’t work in it:

Also very important:

Check for/Purchase REAL fire extinguishers. Make sure the one you have is rated for an actual fire. You know, something that you’d actually like in your hands when shit starts happening. Make sure everyone in the house knows where they are and how to use them.

Figure out how to turn off the water and MAKE everyone else there learn it, too. The difference between you turning off the water when you drive home after getting the call and your child/spouse/whoever doing it when they come home to find it, instead of calling you first... could easily be tens of thousands of dollars.

Buy some plungers and put them in all the bathrooms. Yes, even the guest bathroom. A curse on all you bastards who don’t. Also, look up the difference between a sink plunger and a toilet plunger. I guarantee a lot of you are using the wrong one.

This finally tip courtesy of u/sonia72quebec is more about hygiene than safety, but it makes sense:

I also change the toilet seat.

Really, there’s no arguing with that one.

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