Being a homeowner is the best. You can wallpaper the guestroom. Remodel the kitchen. Put in a doggie door. Whatever you want!

But let’s be honest … you also have to take care of all that stuff. Which means sometimes being a homeowner is, well, not the best. While it can seem overwhelming to take care of everything that needs to be done, it does get easier with time. But new — and even veteran — homeowners don’t know what they don’t know, so consider this your cheat sheet to ensuring that you’re up on all the surprising tasks homeowners need to tackle.

1. Update your home appraisal

Didn’t realize you were supposed to do that every now and then? You’re not alone. Remember: the more accurately your home is appraised, the more likely you are to have adequate homeowners insurance coverage. Some elements to point out to the appraiser are any remodeling you’ve done, growth in the neighborhood that might’ve caused your home to appreciate, and any other factors that might make your home worth more or less.

Just a heads up, getting your home appraised can cost you some cash up front. Usually it’s a few hundred dollars, but it can vary depending on your location, the size of your home, and other factors.

And of course, once if your appraisal changes, your insurance needs will likely change as well. Learn more about how much homeowners insurance you need.

2. Change your smoke alarm batteries and your smoke alarm

You probably already knew this, but it’s SO important we’re going to remind you again. Change them every year. Do it now. What you might not realize though is that smoke alarms themselves don’t last forever. You should change them out with fresh ones every decade. 

3. Double-check your insurance coverage

Circumstances change and it’s smart to talk to your insurance company to do an annual check-up (before your policy renews) to make sure your coverages are up to date. Like if you recently remodeled your house. It’s also smart to run some numbers to make sure you’re getting the best deal and that you’re realizing all the available discounts, from having multiple policies with one insurer to installing a hail-resistant roof.

Find out how to compare insurance companies.

4. Replace your fire extinguisher

Did you know that your fire extinguisher can expire? Manufacturers recommend changing it out every 5 to 15 years. See if yours is still up to the job by checking the pressure gauge to make sure the needle is in the “green.” What to do with the old one? Why not practice using it before you recycle it? Check out our instructions for how to effectively use a fire extinguisher.

5. Refresh your disaster preparedness kit

If you’ve put together a kit, good on you! (And if you haven’t, please get busy). But if you haven’t looked at it in a few years, well, you might be disappointed to find out that batteries or first-aid items you stowed have expired. Just drag it out, take a look, and swap out old items for new ones.

6. Clean the refrigerator coils and wash the dishwasher

Nope, we’re not putting you on! There are a bunch of home maintenance tasks that you really should do to keep your appliances working in optimum order. We’re talking cleaning out dryer vents, draining hot water heaters, and yes, even cleaning the dishwasher and other appliances that clean your things. The payoff? Harder working appliances and possibly even lower utility bills.

Check off these tasks for peace of mind in your home sweet home! And for even more peace of mind, make sure your insurance is up to snuff. Get a homeowners insurance quote from Esurance today and see how surprisingly painless insurance can be.

Safe and smart | Home safety

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about Cathie

Cathie Ericson writes about personal finance, real estate, health, lifestyle, and business topics. When she's not writing she loves to read, hike, and run. Find her @CathieEricson.