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Stephanie Drenka


Advice for New Homeowners (from Someone Who Learned the Hard Way)

Advice for New Homeowners (from Someone Who Learned the Hard Way)

Disclosure: Reliant Energy provided a complimentary air conditioning tune-up service for purposes of this post and compensation for my time. All opinions are my own.

“The ache for home lives in all of us, the safe place where we can go as we are and not be questioned.” (Maya Angelou)

This September will mark four years since my husband and I purchased our first home. I love this place, quirks and all, because we’ve slowly but surely made it our own. Perhaps we watched too much HGTV, but the idea of buying a 1960s house seemed like a fun challenge to us. We learned the hard way that Chip and Joanna make home renovations/repairs look much easier on television than it is in real life.

I’ve contemplated the personal ups and downs of owning a home that we experienced to leave this advice for new homeowners:

Don’t be afraid to ask for help.

To summarize the breadth of information I had about home ownership before we bought our first house, I think this classic quote from Game of Thrones works best– “You know nothing, Jon Snow.”

We put in an offer on the first house we walked through (after seeing a few others), and never looked back. Neither Holden and I even knew what questions we should be asking… our realtor, the inspector, or ourselves. Feeling empowered by making this huge investment in our future, I was too nervous to ask anyone anything out of fear that it might make us seem ill-prepared.

This overconfidence proved to be quite costly…

Within three months of moving into the house, our air conditioning stopped working. While the repairman quickly fixed the A/C, he informed us that we had a crack in our furnace and the entire unit would need to be replaced so we wouldn’t, you know, die of carbon monoxide poisoning in the winter. We trusted this same repairman to sell us the new Trane unit, and (thousands of dollars later) thought we were good to go!

Again, we didn’t even know to ask the A/C guy what we needed to do to take care of said new unit or maintain it over the years. Flash forward to September of last year when we came home to a flooded hallway (due to a leak from aforementioned air conditioning unit), which turned into the Great Asbestos Crisis of 2016.  

A year (and tens of thousands of dollars) later, we have asbestos-free floors and a working air conditioning unit, but I’m always waiting for the other shoe to drop. When Reliant Energy reached out and offered to let me try their A/C tune up service, I was more than grateful for the help!

Reliant offers a convenient A/C Tune Up service to customers. With the summer weather already making its 100+ degree appearance, I wanted to make sure that our A/C unit is running smoothly and efficiently.

Last Friday evening, a Reliant service technician came to our home and not only inspected our A/C unit and furnace, but also took the time to answer all of the questions we had accumulated over the past four years. He even gave us helpful information that we hadn’t thought to ask about.

Here are some of the important things we learned from our Reliant technician:

  • How to correctly install our air filter. It turns out, our air conditioning filter was not facing the right direction. (Which perhaps explains why our allergies have been so terrible lately…) He showed us the proper way according to the air flow, and also gave us the helpful advice to write down the date when we replaced the air filter on it, so we’d know when it was time to get a new one. He also told us how often we needed to replace the air filter (every two months). I think this was the third air filter we’d purchased in four years? Oops!! Reliant customers can take advantage of their Air Filter Delivery service, and not make the same mistake that we made all these years.
  • Outside Air Conditioning Units need to be cleaned. We didn’t realize that we should have been cleaning our outdoor unit periodically to keep it working properly. He gave us the advice to hose it down whenever we’re out watering the plants. Otherwise, it would eventually need to be power-washed by a professional, which would be more costly and time-consuming.
  • Our thermostat had not been installed correctly. While we had the technician there, we asked him to install our new Nest thermostat from Reliant (which I’ll be discussing in a future post). When he removed our old one, he discovered that it was missing a wire for the heater. The person who installed our system took a shortcut, spliced some things, used incorrect color wires, and basically realized that we wouldn’t know any better, so he could get away with it.

For more moving resources and tips, click here.

It made me feel much more at ease that we had an honest, caring service professional helping us. He wasn’t a salesperson, but a partner who truly wanted the best for us. It’s how I feel about Reliant as a company. They have a deep understanding of their customers, and what could help make their lives a little easier. Seeing first-hand how far out of their way the company will go to help customers save money, energy, and sanity made me feel proud to be a part of their Life Switched On program. Owning a home is both amazing and stressful. I’m so grateful to Reliant for helping me keep my cool this summer!

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