If you’re a first-time homebuyer and you’ve found your new home in San Marcos, you’ll have a big checklist of things to do when you first settle down, like buying new furniture, hosting a housewarming party and setting up utilities and mortgage payments. During these busy first few months, it can be easy to overlook basic home maintenance tasks, especially if you’ve never had to do them before!

TRACE in San Marcos has created a list of basic home maintenance activities that will help you get acclimated to homeownership:


The leading cause of damage in homes is water damage. Knowing where to locate your water valve and how to shut it off can save you a lot of money and grief in the case of a leak or flood. Many water valves are located under sinks or behind the appliance. In some cases, you may follow the hose to find the valve.

For most water valves, all you do is turn the handle to the right to stop it from flowing. Once shut off, drain the remaining water where the valve feeds. Do your repairs. After finishing and confirming everything works, turn the valve to the left to restore the water supply.

Also, find your water main valve. This is what turns off the water for your entire home. Occasionally, a situation will require it. Better to know about it now than seek it out when an emergency arises.


You’ll grow your collection of tools to use around the home, but you want to buy a plunger, auger, bucket, and rubber gloves as soon as possible. Clogged toilets happen to everyone. Typically, the plunger will do the job. If the problem calls for something stronger, then the auger comes next.

Before plunging, assess whether the water will overflow. If yes, then shut off the valve found near the toilet. Remove half of the water from the toilet, form a tight seal with the plunger, and plunge several times. If the water goes down, do one more plunge. Turn on the valve and flush the toilet.

Still clogged? Time to call the auger. Insert it into the drain and slowly crank it to the right until it feels tight. Crank in reverse for a little bit and then crank forward as far as you can. Once done, crank in reverse while pulling backward. This should resolve the issue. Flush the toilet several times to confirm.


Just like you want to know the locations of your water valves, you also need to know where you can find your circuit-breaker box and switches. Verify the switches contain labels so you know which controls what.

The most common reason you’ll need these is when the power goes out in one part of the home. Typically, this means something tripped the switch for safety reasons. Fixing this only requires going to the switches to turn it back on.

Kitchens, bathrooms, and some outlets feature a reset button. An overloaded hairdryer or overly hot appliance can trip the switch. You won’t need to go to the circuit-breaker box. Instead, you press the “reset” button on the outlet.


Replace the air filter every three months. For new homes in San Marcos, you’ll want to change it out more frequently in the beginning. Drywall dust and other things take time to settle. During this time, change the filters every two weeks for the first few months.

Final Tips for Home Maintenance

The final tip is to keep the manuals for everything: the refrigerator, washing machine, dishwasher, and so on. Sometimes parts need replacing like the water filter in the fridge. The manual lets you know what you need.

Anything not covered here, just use your favorite search engine to look for home maintenance solutions. YouTube can help since it provides visuals. You might consider browsing your device’s app store for home maintenance apps that provide checklists and references.

Now that you’ve worked through the list and checked off anything that can be done now, treat yourself to a pumpkin spiced latte or your favorite drink. Or are you looking at new homes in San Marcos? You may find the one you want in the TRACE community with its diversity of options.