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Q&A: First-time homeowners need advice

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Q: I’m a first-time homeowner and a home-repair novice from a long line of clueless apartment dwellers. What’s the least I need to know about my home to keep my family safe in case of emergency?

A: If you only know one or two things about your home this is it: “Know where your main disconnects are,” says John Warnerky, owner of Warnerky Electric in Bohemia. “That includes your main water, electrical and gas shutoffs. You should know where the valves or switches are, and how to quickly them off, during home repairs and serious storms."

Or what if you hear dripping in the middle of the night and see water coming through a ceiling light fixture? Warnerky says to make sure there’s never water or water damage in and around the electrical panel.

“The outside should be weather tight and the wire on the side of the house should be in good condition,” he says. Now instead of panicking if something goes wrong, you could stop a disaster by shutting off the water, electricity or gas and call an expert in the morning. Be sure to ask your electrician, plumber, the Long Island Power Authority or National Grid to make a visit and take you on a walk-through of your house. The education will be well worth the cost, if any.

Need some house advice? E-mail your question to realestate@newsday.com.
 

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