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Home Buyers Guide

Looking after your new home

The NHBC booklet – “Guide to your New Home” contains lots of very useful information about how your home was built and how you should maintain and care for your new home.  Please pay particular attention to the section “Running your new home”.

Below are some additional notes to help you get the best from your new Calon home.

Location of Main Control Points

Please ensure that you are familiar with the position of the mains control points for the water, gas and electricity within your home.  If you are unsure of these contact your Sales Advisor and she will either furnish you with the information or arrange for another member of our team to do so.

The Running in of Your New Calon Home

During the building of your new home, the structure absorbs a considerable amount of water – it simply cannot be avoided.

We advise the following to ensure that you get the very best from your new home.

  • During the first few months, your home will go through the drying-out period. As this happens a few small cracks may appear in the walls and timberwork, this is quite normal and can be cured when you re-decorate
  • Keep your central heating down to a comfortable level and use sparingly during the first few weeks. This will help to avoid the home heating up too quickly causing cracks to appear.
  • Keep doors and windows open a little whenever possible to ventilate your home.
Condensation

Condensation is a common problem for new homes because of the amount of moisture absorbed in their construction.  It is also caused by steam and water vapour turning to water when it touches cold surfaces (i.e. glass and tiles) and condenses.  To minimise condensation we suggest the following guidelines:

  • Please keep your new home warm and ventilated. This will avoid in extreme cases condensation, which could lead to mould growth in restricted areas.
  • Close bathroom and kitchen doors while in use and ventilate these rooms by turning on ventilation fans or opening windows a little.
  • When drying clothes indoors keep a window open. This applies especially if you are using a tumble dryer that is not vented to the outside.
  • Do not let kettles boil longer than necessary.
Electricity

The electricity supply enters your home through a cable to the electricity meter and then via cables to the control box, which houses a number of fuses and circuit breakers.  The incoming cable and meter are the property of the Electricity Company and must not be tampered with.  The cables and equipment inside the home are your responsibility.

Treat the electricity supply with care – it can kill.  Follow these Safety Rules:

  • Before starting any work on an electric circuit always switch off the electric supply at the mains.
  • Unplug any appliance before working on it and always use the correct fuse and wiring in accordance with the manufacturers’ instructions.
  • Do not overload a socket with plug adapters as this can lead to overheating. One socket to one plug is advisable.
  • Never take an electrical appliance into a bathroom or shower.
  • When filling or pouring a kettle always switch it off and unplug it from the socket.
Gas

If you smell gas and suspect a leak:

  • Put out all naked flames and extinguish any cigarettes.
  • Do not use any electrical switches; the smallest spark could cause an explosion.
  • Turn off the gas supply at the mains
  • Open doors and windows in an effort to disperse the gas.
  • Call the Gas Board on the local emergency number you will not be charged for their visit.
Water

Most new homes now have water meters situated in the service strip close to the property.  The cold water supply enters your home via the mains stopcock and is then stored in the cold water storage tank.  Some homes may not have a cold water storage tank dependent on the design of the hot and cold water services water pressure and heating system.  Listed below are useful hints to ensure a trouble-free plumbing system in your home.

Winter Rules
  • To avoid frozen pipes try to leave some background heating on all the time.
  • Although your pipework is well insulated if you think the pipes may be frozen do not turn on hot water taps as this will empty the hot water pipework.
  • If you have to go away during the winter it is advisable to put the heating on for an hour or so each day and ask a friend or neighbour to check the home.
  • Make sure the stopcocks to any outside taps are shut off during frosty weather.
Normal Conditions
  • Always close the main stopcock before beginning work to any part of the plumbing system.
  • If the system has been drained down, do not light the boiler or switch on the immersion heater until you are sure the system has been refilled.
  • Do not let the water overflow from storage tanks or cisterns.
  • Take care when fixing down carpets, find out where the pipes run to avoid nailing through them.
  • If you are unsure how to carry out plumbing works then call an approved plumber. 
The Loft

Your loft is insulated to help keep your home warm.  Please adhere to the following:

  • Do not obstruct the ventilation provided as this may cause condensation.
  • Do not store anything in the loft that can be damaged by the cold conditions.
  • Do not leave loft access open in cold spells this will allow heat loss to your home and condensation to form.
  • Do not store heavy objects in the loft as it is not designed to carry such loads. If you have to carry out any work in the loft please ensure that you walk on the joist timbers.
Central Heating

Your Calon home will have:

  • A central heating system with a boiler, thermostatically controlled, supplying radiators and hot water.

This is covered for breakdown (details are supplied in the section ‘Introduction Letters’) for the initial 2 years.  However, it is still your responsibility to have the boiler serviced of your own accord.

When re-decorating your radiators do not paint over the small valves, these are the bleed valves which allow you to release any air trapped in the radiators. 

Fuel Economy

Your Calon home has been constructed with fuel economy in mind and is already very well insulated, but by following the guidelines below you should be able to conserve energy.

  • It is not normally necessary to heat a room to a temperature higher than 17°C (65F) unless it is extremely cold. However, small children and elderly people need more warmth, 20°C (70F) is the recommended temperature for a small child’s room.
  • Your heating system has been fitted with a timing device so use this to its optimum effect. Most homes do not need to be heated throughout the night.
Roofs and Gutters

If you should need to carry out any works on the roof of your home you should always use a roof ladder to protect the tiles or slates, and for your own safety.

  • Gutters and any gullies should be regularly checked and if necessary cleaned of leaves and other debris.
  • Take care not to lean ladders against plastic guttering.
  • When using ladders make sure the foot is on level ground and an adult is holding the base.
Decorating Your New Home

New woodwork absorbs a lot of paint or stain and the initial decoration may not give as good a finish as future re-decorations.

The exterior woodwork of the home should be regularly re-painted using good quality paint or stain normally within 2 years, however coastal and exposed areas could require decoration sooner.

Emulsion paints are normally used on interior walls.  Further coats of emulsion and oil-based paints or wallpaper can be used for later re-decorations after drying out period (normally 9 to 12 months).

When re-decorating never paint on wet wood.  External paintwork is best done in the summer or early autumn.  Interior cracks on walls and woodwork can be made good with a common decorators filler.

When re-decorating Artex ceilings or other similar plastic compound finishes, these should never be sanded or washed with water as this could spoil the texture.  Lightly brush these surfaces before applying one or two coats of emulsion.

Your New Garden

Calon Homes use their own landscape architects to design development landscaping in accordance with the plans passed by the Local Authority and to ensure the continued beauty of the environment.

Rear gardens are a very personal thing, like decorating, and are left so that you may design as you choose.

Turfing and planting may be provided on the front garden to enhance the development.

We include a few points to bear in mind when planning your new garden:

  • Trees and hedges take moisture out of the soil. If this is clay, then new planting may cause it to shrink, while removing existing trees and hedges may make it swell.  Excessive shrinkage or swelling could damage foundations, much depends on the type and size of the trees and type of clay.  Obtain advice from an expert before planting new trees.
  • Remember that recently planted trees and shrubs may need to be watered copiously during their early months if they are to get away to a good start.
  • Your new lawn should be watered regularly during dry spells. When established it will need constant attention (i.e. feeding, weeding, cutting and raking).
Appliances

Your new home may have built-in appliances provided and these will have manufacturers guarantees for the first twelve months.

Should you have any problems with your appliances contact the manufacturers.

We have included an additional warranty card supplied by the manufacturers of your products.

It is essential that you complete this card and send it back to them to ensure that you are registered for the additional warranty.

Fire and Smoke Detectors

Smoke detectors are installed as standard in your new home.

Remember smoke can kill as quickly as flames.  If you cannot tackle the fire then get everyone out of the home at once, shut all doors behind you to prevent the fire from spreading, dial 999 and ask for the Fire Brigade.

If a chip pan should catch fire, switch off the heat and then smother the flames with a fire blanket or damp cloth.  Do not move the pan or throw water onto it, as this will cause the fire to spread.

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