It’s easy to get caught up in the ‘busyness’ of life and forget about some of our home’s maintenance needs. Really, it’s not usually a matter of spending a tonne of time doing them; it’s more about remembering those ‘once in a while’ jobs.
I have come up with a basic list of home care tips for you. Now that spring is approaching, it’s the perfect time to check some of these off our to-do lists.
It’s a really good idea to clean out your gutters, and downspouts, each spring. Once your gutters have been cleared of debris, use a garden hose to spray out your downspouts to remove any remaining particles.
Finally, check thoroughly for leaks and make sure everything is securely attached to your home.
*While you’re outside, take a quick moment to check the vents for your clothes Dryer. The build up from the lint collected by the dryer is a major fire hazard and also can lead to the early demise of your appliance.
Changing the direction of the ceiling fans in your home can help you feel more comfortable and can also help you enjoy potential energy savings.
In the spring and summer, set your ceiling fan to rotate counter clockwise to push cool air to the floor.
In the fall and winter, change the direction that your paddles are rotating in order to spin clockwise. This will help to pull the cool air up and circulate the warm air down
Spring is a good time to check your home’s foundation, since the snow is melting and the areas around the founding will be clearing up. Walk the perimeter of your house and mark any cracks with tape. Check them every three-months to monitor for an increase in sizing (contact a professional if any cracks become large enough to fit a coin inside of them). The same process can be done from inside of your home, if your basement is unfinished
*While you are outside, check your air conditioner to make sure it is clear of yard debris and plant growth. You’ll want to make sure you do this before starting up your A/C for the first time. While you’re thinking about your A/C unit, you might also shut down your humidifier for the summertime…it should be turned ‘off’ while your air conditioning is ‘on’.
Decks, railings, and fences should all be checked annually, preferably in the springtime. Look for deterioration and/or water damage and make repairs promptly to extend the life and maintain the integrity of your wood.
It’s a good idea to consider re-staining, or re-sealing, anything that is wood every one to two-years. In addition to extending its life, you will help maintain your home’s curb appeal.
The vinyl siding, on your home, should be checked periodically to make sure there aren’t any missing or broken pieces. If it’s looking dusty, or dirty, it can easily be washed with mild detergent, and a garden hose, to remove the dust and keep it looking vibrant!
The asphalt shingles, on your roof, should be checked periodically for loose, broken or missing shingles. If you notice anything that doesn’t look right, contact a professional right away. Damage on your roof should be re-paired immediately to prevent water from leaking into your home (Ack!).
Furnace filters need to be changed regularly, in order to keep your air quality at its best and also, to prevent hardship on your furnace’s mechanics.
If you’re not sure what kind of filter you have (or how often it should be changed/cleaned), check the manufacturer’s directions but, generally, most filters are intended for approximately 90-days of use (that’s how often I change mine…especially given how dusty it is living in our newer suburban community).
Having said that, it’s best to have a quick check for dust & debris monthly. Keeping a supply of filters on hand can help keep you on schedule and avoid delaying this important home maintenance task.
Your smoke detectors, and Carbon Monoxide Alarms, should be tested monthly and the batteries should be replaced annually (rechargeable batteries are not recommended).
You can test either of these devices by pressing ‘test’ button. You can also do a ‘real’ test with your smoke detector by lighting a match, or some incense, and placing it directly below the unit (if it doesn’t go off, replace the batteries and then repeat the test).
Did you know that smoke detectors and carbon monoxide alarms expire?
To determine if your smoke detector is expired, remove it from the wall or ceiling, look at the back for the date of manufacture. If it was made more than ten-years ago, or if a date cannot be located, replace it with a new one.
To determine if your carbon monoxide alarm is expired, refer to the packaging it came in. If you no longer have it, you can do a simple search online.
Your exhaust fans should be vacuumed with a brush attachment regularly. You can also wash the vent fan cover in hot, soapy water as needed.
You should also do a simple ‘tissue test’, annually, to ensure your fans are working properly and efficiently (the fan should be able to hold tissue to it, while it’s turned ‘on’). If your fan fails the ‘tissue test’, it’s time to contact a professional – it’s important that bathroom humidity can be drawn out of your home!
Garage doors are often forgotten when homeowners consider their home maintenance projects. Door hinges should be lubricated every three years and the perimeter weather stripping should be checked once per year, before the wintertime
I get that life can get busy! Trust me…as a full-time, working wife, and mom…I totally get it! Having said that, properly maintaining our homes can save us a lot of money in costly repairs later, so it’s definitely worth the time and effort.
If the thought of trying to remember ‘all things home maintenance’ is a little overwhelming for you, consider adding some recurring reminders to your calendar (or favourite ‘reminders’ app). Keeping a calendar is a great way to help stay organized!
Also, if you think you might need help, from a professional, with any of these jobs – please don’t hesitate to reach out to me! I’m more than happy to help put you in touch with local, reputable, Calgary-based service providers.