Thursday, Sep 27, 2012

Spring maintenance checklist
Small tasks now will save you time and money later
By MARK SALERNO, Special to QMI Agency

Keeping your home in top shape requires year-round care. While each season brings different tasks and challenges for homeowners, spring is an especially important time – it’s when to assess winter wear and prepare for summer.

Having a schedule of regular home maintenance can really pay off. That’s because many big home repairs start out small but, left unattended, become more costly problems. By taking care of little issues now, you can save yourself a lot of money and stress in the long run. Keeping a list of what needs to be done, and when, can help you to avoid and prevent the most common household problems.

Many of the necessary tasks are probably easy enough for you to take care of yourself. However, if you don’t feel comfortable or don’t have the proper equipment, consider hiring a qualified handyperson to help you.

Assess and repair

The long winter months usually take a toll on the exterior of your home.

• Start by walking around your home and write up a checklist of all the items needing attention.

• Check for signs of damage and wear and tear, such as loose siding or eavestroughs, or cracks in your bricks, foundation, walkway or driveway.

• Winter winds, ice and snow can lay a beating on your roof, so be sure to inspect it carefully, looking windows for worn, curled or missing shingles, or pieces of shingle in your eavestroughs or on the ground.

• Don’t forget to check your roof from the inside, too. Look in the attic for any signs of moisture or surface discolouration on the underside of the roof that may point to leakage from above or air leaks coming from your house.

• Look up from the ground to check for visible damage to soffit and fascia boards; they help prevent rain from getting into your attic or interior walls.

• Clean and clear your eavestroughs and downspouts, and ensure your splash-pads are in their proper location to prevent soil erosion and to keep water well away from your foundation.

• Spring is also a great time to clean your windows, screens and hardware and replace storm windows with screens. Check your screens for holes or tears first and repair or replace them if needed.

Indoor chores

• Spring maintenance is required for your furnace, hot-water tanks and ventilation equipment.

• Have your air conditioning system and dehumidifier cleaned and serviced if necessary, to be ready for the summer months. Be sure to consult your owner’s manual for cleaning instructions or hire a qualified contractor.

• When it’s warm enough outside, have your fireplace or woodstove and chimney cleaned and serviced by a Wood Energy Technology Transfer (WETT) certified chimney sweep. Turn off your gas fireplace pilot lights where possible.

• Check your smoke, carbon monoxide and security alarms and replace the batteries.

• Reopen any valves for outside hose bibs that were shut last fall.

You have a lot invested in your home, so protect that investment for years to come with a routine of seasonal maintenance. To help you, CMHC has a free About Your House fact sheet called "Home Maintenance Schedule." Get your copy on our website or call our toll-free number: 1-800-668-2642.

Mark Salerno is district manager for the Greater Toronto Area at Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation. You can reach him at 416-218-3479 or

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