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Time to Winterize!

Even though we’ve had a reprieve from colder temperatures, winter is still on the way, and you still have time to winterize your home.

Here are 5 easy ways to winterize and protect your investment:

  1. Seal up leaks in doors and windows with weather-stripping and/or caulk.
  2. Don’t heat an empty house! Invest in a programmable thermostat.
  3. Have your insulation checked to see if any needs to be added.
  4. Schedule a furnace  and water heater tune-up. Remember to change furnace filters and consider insulating your water heater and exposed hot water pipes.
  5. Clean gutters and turn off the water to outside spigots. Drain the lines and check for pipes in unheated spaces to prevent frozen or broken pipes.

 

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Exterior Home Maintenance Checklist

https://www.rona.ca/en/projects/Exterior-summer-home-maintenance-checklist

Courtesy of www.rona.ca

REPAIRS

The roof should be checked regularly; especially if the roof is older than five years and if the area has had a significant dose of adverse weather within recent years.

  • Keep track of the recommended time for which the roof tiles are rated. This can be done by checking the warranty. Usually a roof will need to be replaced once the warranty wears out.
  • If the roof needs to be replaced, consider an upgrade especially if it needs to be replaced sooner than expected.
  • Research roof tiles and recommended amounts of insulation that can be placed underneath if planning a full replacement.
  • Always check for loose or damaged shingles that can be replaced one by one without replacing the entire roof.

There are many projects that can be done to the garage from cleaning to organizing to finding new uses.

  • Begin the season by going through and cleaning the garage.
  • Apply a fresh coat of sealant to the flooring if needed.
  • Think about whether the walls or floor could be painted or freshened with a new coat.
  • There are many inventive ways to add shelving and other types of organizations systems to garages.
  • If the homeowners anticipate converting the home to a universal design, a handicap ramp accessible from the inside of the garage may be a unique way to access the first floor from street level.
  • Bike tires will last longer if the bike is hung on a rack or hook.
  • Rather than thinking about eliminating storage from the garage, think about it as a creative storage area.
  • An extra freezer or other appliances can fit nicely into a garage, especially if shelving accompanies the unit.

There are so many useful ways that a power washer comes in handy for the home.

  • It is recommended that the driveway is cleaned yearly with a power washer prior to fixing cracks and to providing a fresh coat of sealant.
  • The garage floor is another surface that can greatly benefit from a through cleansing.
  • The sidewalks surrounding the home would also need to be cleaned prior to fixing cracks.
  • Concrete porches can accumulate more stains and dirt than one might think. Use a power washer to clean the surface.

Different types of siding need different maintenance schedules.

  • Regardless of the type, all siding needs to be cleaned yearly. Most types can be cleaned with a power washer, but thin vinyl would need a garden hose with an attachment and a cleaning solution designed for vinyl.
  • If there has been some damage to the siding during the year, repair each piece. Hopefully your home came with extra pieces of siding. If not, when new pieces are purchased, plan ahead for the next set of repairs.
  • If the siding is a natural wood or a painted wood, consider restaining and repainting respectively.
  • There are many new types of siding on the market today. If your siding is in disrepair or if it has been high maintenance for the past several years, explore options and plan to replace it. Trim, house colors, and other decorative ideas could be updated at the same time.

Privacy and decorative fences are beautiful assets to the landscaping and are always on the radar for home maintenance project lists.

  • Begin to inspect the fence by making a judgement about the solidity of the post structures. If it needs to be secured, dig around the base down three and a half feet and fill with concrete.
  • Inspect the gate latches and make sure they work seamlessly. If the posts have moved, make an adjustment to the latch. If a repair is not possible or if the latch is too old, replace it.
  • Check to see if the gates open and close smoothly. The gate, along with the latching system, may need to be replaced.

Doors and windows must stand up to the weather and to a lot of wear and tear.

  • The summer is the most ideal time to repaint wooden windows & trims. Begin by scraping, applying a primer, and then painting the units.
  • Consider replacing the doors and windows with energy efficient alternatives that can save the environment, the budget, and taxes.

As the season begins to warm, make sure the air conditioner is working properly well in advance.

  • Have the unit inspected at the beginning of the season yearly. Many homeowners experience the air conditioning going out in the summer months when it is the hottest season and the maintenance repairmen are few and far between.
  • Maintain the shrubbery from around the outdoor unit. Remove shrubs and foliage from within two feet around the unit.
  • Make sure to clean and replace filters when it is recommended by the manufacturer.

During the growing season, lawn equipment is at the height of its usage and need.

  • Regularly sharpen the mower blades; mid-season if needed.
  • If the lawn mower is older than 5 years, make sure it has been serviced before the grass needs regular cutting.
  • Like every other tool and appliance today, consider purchasing a high efficiency mower.

Begin to inspect cracks in the foundation by walking around the perimeter of your home.

  • Repair the cracks with a recommended grout.
  • Inspect and repair cracks within the basement walls.

Prolong the lifespan of the driveway by with yearly maintenance.

  • Begin with the first steps by fixing the cracks with the type of filler recommended for concrete, asphalt, or brick pavers.
  • If years of cracks have been repaired and the driveway is outdated, resurface the driveway with tar / asphalt.
  • Consider redesigning the driveway to complement your home and landscape design. Stone and concrete imprinted design are two trends.

If the automatic garage door has shown unusual habits of opening and closing only halfway, opening again after it has been closed, or making loud screeching noises, it can be both maintained and repaired.

  • Yearly, the garage door can be oiled. This job can be done easily by the homeowner.
  • For doors that are not closing and opening as they should regularly, consider having it inspected and repaired.
  • The springs could be close to the end of their lifespan and will need to be replaced. Do not ever attempt to service the springs; always hire a professional.

Most homeowners think of water when thinking of summer. Make sure to maintenance all water features at the home.

  • Repair outdoor spigots if they are leaking. Occasionally the spigot will need to be replaced if it continues to drip after screwed tightly closed.
  • Prepare the swimming pool for the new season. Begin by using a yearly start up kit and cleaning.
  • If an outdoor hot tub has been in use, consider cleaning and maintaining it because of its prolonged seasonal use.
  • GENERAL EXTERIOR SUMMER RECOMMENDATIONS

When the projects go beyond DIY, hiring professionals is a safe choice.

  • Take care to verify that the professional is licensed, bonded, and insured. If an accident should occur on your property and the professional is not insured, your homeowner’s insurance policy would be liable to cover the costs.
  • Make it a rule of thumb to get three quotes from three different professional companies before hiring one of them.
  • Always ask the professionals a lot of questions about their materials and methods when doing your research.

Remember “safety first” for all projects whether small or large.

  • Take precautions when climbing tall ladders and when working on the roof.
  • When in doubt, hire a professional for projects that are considered a little more dangerous.
  • Always wear eye and ear protection.
  • Read all instructions and warranty details for all newly materials and items. Keep these in a safe file and send in warranty cards.
  • Keep in mind that a building permit is designed to protect the occupants’ safety. Contact your local building department for a permit. They will review your plans so that they pass up-to-date code requirements and they come out to review your work to verify that it is safely constructed.

As always, consider sustainability when planning and purchasing materials for each project.

  • Hiring a sustainability professional to conduct an air check will verify whether or not energy-efficient windows and doors would improve the home’s performance.
  • In a similar way, a professional can conduct an air check to evaluate cracks in walls that should later be patched and repaired.
  • The warmer weather months during the summer are a great time to add insulation to exterior walls and to the underside of the roof.
  • Since many homeowners are now recycling, consider organizing the trash system to accommodate this new habit.
  • Build a compost container for the home, at least twenty feet from the foundation’s perimeter, so that the rich soil can augment the landscaping and vegetable garden.
  • A rain barrel is a practical way to save water by using naturally gathered rainwater to use for watering the landscaping.
  • A current sustainable landscaping trend is the “no mow” design. Though a radical idea, investigate some inspiring design ideas.
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July Home Maintenance

https://www.moneysense.ca/spend/real-estate/renovations/home-maintenance-checklist-summer/

1) Replace furnace filters

Why: To keep your furnace running efficiently, you need to change the filters every three months. These filters collect airborne debris and allergens. Keeping a dirty filter means your furnace has to work twice as hard to push out heat.
How: Slide your old filter out (and put it in the garbage. Slide the new filter in. When in doubt, check your furnace’s manual (either hard copy or online). If your filter is not disposable you will need to hand wash the filter to get rid of all dirt and debris. Remember, use a non-toxic cleaner and tap water—nothing else.

2) Measure and grade your soil

Why: Soil and landscaping needs to be graded away from your home. This means that the slope of your lawn needs to be moving away from your house. This is because water will take the path of least resistance. If the dirt in your yard slopes towards your home, water will follow the slope and then find the easiest point of entry into your foundation.
How: For efficient drainage paved surfaces should have a minimum 1% slope, while turf, such as grass, or landscaped areas should have a minimum slope of 2%. To help you calculate: a 2 feet drop over a 100 foot long yard would create a 2% grade (or slope). If the distance is 10 feet, you’ll need a fall of 0.2 feet (roughly 2.5 inches) to create a 2% slope. If you only need minor adjustments to recreate the right grade, use a landscaper’s rake (aluminum rake on a handle that can grasp and clean debris out of lawns and dirt). For more comprehensive grading go online for how-to videos.

3) Fill foundation cracks

Why: Water can enter into small cracks and holes in your foundation and, over time, can cause significant damage to your foundation. To protect your home repair these cracks and holes.
How: Clean away dirt and debris and then fill the holes and cracks with sealant.

4) Clean up mold and mildew

Why: Mold and mildew grow where water sits on absorbent surfaces. Left alone, the spores will continue to grow and making the mold/mildew patch grow in size. Left even longer and the spores will eventually penetrate from the surface to the inside of its host (say a wooden window frame) and eventually start to sprout and grow in other areas where moisture is an issue.
How: Using rubbing alcohol and water spray the mold and mildew and then scrub it away. Remember to use gloves and a face mask as mold and mildew can be a respiratory irritant.

5) Replace cracked caulking around windows and doors

Why: Wooden windowsills and doorframes are prone to rot and this becomes an easy access point for pests, such as termites or carpenter ants or wasps to enter (as well as a great place for mold and mildew to start sprouting).
How: Don’t caulk over the old caulking. Instead, use a knife to remove the old caulking and then reapply a new seal around the window/door. As an added bonus, the new caulking will also help eliminate any drafts which will decrease your summer and winter energy bills.

6) Replace worn shingles and cracked or bent roof flashing

Why: Your roof is your home’s first line of defence when it comes to keeping out the elements. But this means your roof also takes a beating. Now that the weather is better you’ll want to inspect your roof. Any loose shingles will be a weak spot in your roof’s defence system—a place where water and pests can gain entry into your home.
How: The initial inspection should be from the ground. Note any areas where shingles look loose or out of place. Once done, you’ll want to take a ladder and inspect the shingles a little closer. Remember to use a harness (or hire a professional). To replace shingles, you’ll need a roof tile, roof nails and a hammer. Remember to remove the damaged shingle and inspect the board underneath for damage. For the flashing (the metal that joins the seams of each roof line) make sure there are no parts lifted up or curled. Also make sure the caulking is sealed and solid.

7) Test your hot water’s pressure tank valve

Why: Hot water tank valves do, on occasion, get blocked up and this can turn your tank into a pressurized bomb. To make sure you don’t have a dangerous hazard in your home, simply test the valve once per year.
How: Place a bowl underneath the valve (don’t use your hand or a cloth as the water is scalding hot). Then turn the valve. The valve is working if water pours out.

8) Test all faucets for leaks

Why: A leaky faucet doesn’t seem like a big deal, but did you know that one leaky faucet can lose up to 34 gallons per year.
How: Place a bucket or bowl under each external and internal faucet. Come back the next day. If there’s water in the bowl, your faucet leaks. If it leaks, first change the washer located in the faucet (shut the water off first). After that you may want to call a plumber (or if you’re really handy go online for some DIY videos).

9) Locate and check main shut off valve for water

Why: Typically your plumbing pipes won’t stop working (although they may spring a leak). But the reason why you want to test your main shut off valves once per year is to ensure that this shut off hasn’t seized. Too many times, a homeowner forgets about the shut off valve until one day a plumbing nightmare happens. To repair it (or at least prevent more damage) the homeowner will rush to shut off the water in the home, only to find the shut off valve is seized.
How: Simply twist the handle left and right. Open it up all the way and close it down all the way. If there is rust or gunk, consider cleaning off the dirt and spraying a bit of lubricant. You just want to make sure the valve is in good operating condition.

10) Check bulbs, outlets and cords

Why: Bulbs in outdoor lights, indoor and outdoor electrical outlets and cords should all be examined.
How: Broken bulbs should be replaced. Broken outlet covers should also be replaced. Outlets and cords that get hot to the touch should also be replaced, as it means the lifespan of this product is coming to an end.

 

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Is Your Sump Pump Hose in the Right Place?

http://winnipeg.ca/waterandwaste/drainageflooding/lotgrading/sumppumpdischarge.stm#right

If water in the sump pump hose freezes, your sump pump can overheat and burn out. There are two ways of preventing this. Try them out to see which works for your property.

In the fall, once the weather drops below freezing, disconnect the flexible sump pump hose outside.

  1. If you don’t already have one, attach a 90 degree elbow to the discharge outlet, and place a splash pad under the discharge outlet, or
  2. Fasten a larger size flexible, perforated drain hose or pipe (4″ or 6″ diameter) of suitable length to the discharge outlet (e.g., a piece of weeping tile pipe)Remember! In spring, reattach the hose you normally use or leave the winter one in place if it drains the water properly in spring and summer.

 

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