Keeping your home in good working condition can head off bigger issues down the road. There’s lots to do, but don’t get overwhelmed. A little upkeep each season goes a long way.
Stop the flow
Before winter arrives, shutoff and drain exterior faucets—even if they’re frost free. Frozen plumbing lines can burst and cause major damage. If you have an underground sprinkler system, be sure to clear it too.
If you have someone to spot you on a ladder, give your roof a thorough inspection. Use roof adhesive to fix any lifting shingles and metal flashing of the roof valley. Also check the caulking around protrusions such as roof vents and skylights. Uncomfortable with heights? Consult a professional inspector.
Check your vents
Lint buildup in your dryer can start a fire. Inspect the dryer vent monthly—and clear the lint trap after every use. Check the furnace vent too. If it’s blocked by ice or debris, potentially lethal carbon monoxide can accumulate inside your home.
Strong winds can bring down branches and even uproot unhealthy trees. Look at tree roots and trunk for signs of decay like deep cracks and missing bark. Prune dead or broken branches, especially on mature trees.
In spring and fall, clear leaves and debris from eavestroughs to prevent clogging. Ensure downspouts extend at least two metres from your home, and that the ground slopes to lead water away from your foundation.
Filters and fans
Change furnace filters seasonally—every three months—to keep your home’s air cleaner and reduce wear and tear on furnace motors. In bathrooms, help keep your fans running well by clearing away dust from the exhaust covers. Since Manitoba has mineral-rich hard water, it’s also smart to annually descale or replace filters inside water softeners.
Under the roof
Check that the fiberglass batt or blown-in insulation in your attic has not become matted down: Compressed insulation loses its effectiveness. Ensure there’s good airflow from rafter baffles and vents to help prevent condensation buildup.
Plumb the depths
Heavy rainfall can cause flooding in unprotected basements. Make sure your sump pump is working properly; ensure it has power and the backup battery is charged. In older homes, prevent the nightmare of a sewer-line backup by having a pro install a backwater valve.
Be fire safe
Upgrade to combination smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. Test them monthly, change the batteries annually and replace each unit 10 years from the date of manufacture (listed on the back or side of the alarm). Keep a fire extinguisher handy and check its charge too.
Close the caps
Check caulking and weather stripping around windows and doors—and replace if necessary. Sealing drafts helps boost the effectiveness of your HVAC system, lowering your heating and cooling costs.
Get a Smooth Seal
Proper caulking around window frames, shower stalls and baseboards can stop drafts, bugs and water damage.
Pick your caulking: latex for interior trim and small cracks; paintable, no-shrink polyurethane for siding, windows and doors; antimicrobial silicon for kitchens and bathrooms.
Remove old caulk with a utility knife or razor. Use a wet rag to clean out dust, debris and grease. Allow area to dry.
Cut caulking tube nozzle at a 45-degree angle and load into good-quality caulking gun.
Apply pressure to get a bead flowing. Move slowly but consistently, pushing caulk into cracks and joints.
Smooth caulk with a wet finger, wiping excess with a damp rag.