Your home is your most important investment; it houses your family, memories and belongings. Protect this investment with a regular schedule of seasonal maintenance and repairs to prevent future costly problems before they occur or worsen.
Canada has four distinct seasons and each one affects your home differently. Changes in temperatures, types of precipitation and the normal wear and tear of daily family life impact the Canadian home, especially during the thick of the winter season. Owners of Barrie homes and Barrie townhomes also have to contend with several feet of snow that falls upon the city every season, and the potential issues this causes. The following list addresses general maintenance tasks to get your home winter ready.
- Check, clean and or replace your furnace filters each month during the heating season. A dirty filter is the #1 cause of inefficiency for forced air heating system by blocking airflow through the fan. A clean filter delivers cleaner healthier air throughout your home. Heat recovery ventilator filters should be checked every two months.
- Read and consult your hot water tank’s manual on how to drain off a dishpan amount of water from the clean-out valve at the bottom of your hot water tank to control sediment, this will help maintain maximum efficiency.
- If you have furnace humidifier or freestanding portable, clean it once a month during the winter season.
- Vacuum the bathroom exhaust fan grille.
- Thoroughly vacuum all interior wall vents and grilles, lift floor vents vacuum any dust and household debris that may have fallen into the ducts.
- Vacuum the front grilles of refrigerators and the back grilles of your freezer, this will help extend the life of the compressor and use less energy.
- Check the basement floor drain to ensure the trap contains water; fill with water if necessary.
- Check all faucets if there are signs of dripping – change the washers. Faucets that require repeated replacement washers probably need a repair.
- If you have a laundry tub or spare bathroom sink, tub or shower that is not used often, run some water briefly to keep water in the trap.
- Visually inspect the roof and eaves troughs for leaks and damage. Clean the eaves and extend the downspouts at least 4’ to 6’ from the home’s foundation. Roof repairs should be done before the temperature drops and damp weather prevents you from doing a good repair.
- Your homes heating system should be inspected for optimum operating efficiency and safety. The heat exchanger should be
inspected for cracks or damage. Fans switches, capacitors, circuits and reversing valves need to be inspected while in operation by a qualified service person.
- Remove garden hoses, drain and store. Bleed all exterior water lines after turning them off for the winter.
- Replace the outside light bulbs before the snow falls regardless of whether it needs changing. It’s much easier to replace bulbs now than when they burn out on a snowy winter night.
- If you have a gas fireplace have the chimney checked for any blockages or damage.
- Inspect the openings around exterior windows, doors and patio doors. Caulk and seal any cracks you can safely reach. Small holes at the base of some brick joints are drainage holes and are supposed to be there. Do not fill these in.
- Remove excess snow that builds up on the roof and make sure the eaves troughs are clear of snow. This will prevent ice damming which can result in leaks from melting snow.
- Check the flashing to make sure water cannot enter the home. Check your attic for frost accumulation, and also check the roof for ice dams or icicles. Have icicles safely removed before they accumulate or “grow”.
- Monitor and ensure outdoor air vents (intake, exhaust and forced air) are not blocked by snow or debris such as fallen leaves. Check gas meters for snow and ice buildup, and keep them clear and accessible.
- Don’t let snow pile in the swales at your basement windows.
- During the winter, use an alternative to damaging salt to keep your walkways and porches ice-free.
These are just a few of the maintenance tips that should be included in your seasonal home maintenance routine. By keeping your home winter safe and repair-free, peace of mind and pride in ownership are two more perks of doing these tasks regularly.