After a long, cold — and what seemed like never-ending — winter, Canadians are ready to embrace spring! While chores may not be at the very top of your warmer-weather to do list, regular home maintenance can help you identify issues before they become big problems and help keep your home in the best shape possible.
Here’s our list of the top home maintenance tasks to tackle this spring both inside and out.
Inside home spring maintenance
Spring cleaning and inspection
Spring cleaning is a time-honoured tradition that allows us to pay special attention to areas that may have been neglected over the winter. In addition to clearing out the cobwebs and dust bunnies under the bed, be sure to take a critical look at potential risks in those hidden spaces:
- While you’ve got the washing machine pulled out, check the water supply hoses. Over time, hoses and connections deteriorate, leading to an increased risk of them leaking or bursting open during a wash cycle. Inspect them for wear and tear and replace them if necessary.
- Getting behind the dryer? Be sure to clean the dryer ducts while there. Lint can sneak by the lint trap and make its way to the ducts, potentially blocking the flow of air and causing excessive heat build-up. This can sometimes even lead to fire.
- Stuff can accumulate over the winter, especially after the holiday season. Take this opportunity to clear the clutter out your basement and other areas where things tend to pile up.
Clean and test smoke and carbon monoxide detectors
Some manufacturers suggest cleaning these alarms as dust can clog them. If manufacturer instructions suggest so, carefully vacuum the inside of battery-powered units using a soft bristle brush. If electrically connected, shut off the power and vacuum the outside vents only. When finished, restore power and test the unit. You should install a new battery in battery-powered detectors at least once a year (but bi-annually is even better). If you can’t remember when the battery was last changed, now is the time to do it. Alarms do wear out, so if you think your alarms are more than 10 years old, replace them with new ones.
Clean and repair damaged window screens
Open-window weather is almost here, but you’ll want to make sure your screens are in good shape so they only let in fresh air! Winter storms and wind can damage window screens, so it’s a good idea to assess them and replace what needs to be fixed. Depending on their level of dirtiness, you may want to vacuum screens clean, or wash them with warm soapy water and a rinse.
Replace the AC Filter
While hot weather may still be a few weeks away, you’ll want to make sure your air conditioner is ready to go when you are. A new filter will help optimize the efficiency of the unit.
Outside home spring maintenance
Check roof and shingles
High winds, excessive rain and snow, even the sun can damage your roof; and a leaky roof can cause a lot of other issues. Hire a professional to examine it for lost or damaged shingles. Shingles that are cracked, buckled or loose should be replaced. Flashing around plumbing vents, skylights and chimneys should also be checked.
Clean eavestroughs and downspouts
Didn’t I just clean them out in the fall? Yes, but more leaves and debris collected there over the winter and you’ll want to make sure your eaves and downspouts are ready to take on the spring showers. Check for loose or leaky gutters as improper drainage can lead to water infiltration. Make sure downspouts are directing water away from the foundation.
Check seals around windows and doors
Cold weather can cause cracks or harden the caulk around windows and doors. Inspect the seals and replace as needed. Good seals will not only help prevent water from getting in, they’ll also help keep cool air-conditioned air inside (the same will be true of the warm air your furnace produces when winter rolls back around).
Repair damaged siding or trim
Make sure your home’s siding and trim haven’t been damaged from winter conditions. If your home is made of brick or stucco, look for crumbling or deteriorated mortar. If you find a problem, contact a professional to repair or replacing the damaged materials.
Service the AC unit
Hire a professional to clean and service the outside unit of your air conditioning system. Clean units operate more efficiently, and an annual service will help keep the system working at peak performance.
Now you can get outside and enjoy the warmer weather with peace of mind knowing your home maintenance is up to date.