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The Importance of Regular Home Maintenance

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You are residing in your dream home and you intend on protecting your most valuable asset.

Owning a home does require constant upkeep.  Consequently, it is important to conduct regular visual inspections of your house.  This will ensure your home will be both a healthy place and a safe place to reside. The easiest way to do that is to conduct seasonal maintenance checks.  By establishing a set routine, the work will be completed more quickly and timely.

If you don’t fancy yourself the kind of person who can do work around the home, you can always hire a qualified person to help you. This will be money well spent. Most maintenance programs can be broken down into seasonal activities. Since we are hitting the winter season, I thought it best to provide readers with some information on good home maintenance for this season.

During the fall, it is important to prepare for the often gruesome winter months which are typically the most taxing on your home.  On the other hand, the spring season is the time to assess any damages to the home by the winter and commence the repairs.

There are also some maintenance checks that should be conducted frequently throughout the year. These include:

  • Make sure air vents indoors and outside are not blocked by snow or debris.
  • Check and clean range hood filters on a monthly basis.
  • Test the ground fault circuit interrupter(s) monthly by pushing the test button, which should then cause the reset button to pop up.
  • If there are young children in the house, make sure electrical outlets are equipped with safety plugs.

It is also imperative to regularly check your home for safety hazards such as a loose handrail. Also, continually check your automatic garage opener, as well as smoke alarms, carbon monoxide detectors, and your furnace and water heater.

As well, all adults in the home should know where the main shutoff for the furnace is, as well as the main electrical shutoff, the main water shutoff and the fire extinguishers.

The following maintenance schedule is for the fall.  It should be noted that the timing of the seasons vary not only from different geographic locations across Canada but also from year to year in any given area.

  • Have furnace or heating system serviced by a qualified service company every two years for a gas furnace, and every year for an oil furnace.
  • Open furnace humidifier damper on units with central air conditioning and clean humidifier.
  • Lubricate circulating pump on hot water heating system.
  • Bleed air from hot water radiators.
  • Examine the forced air furnace fan belt for wear, looseness or noise; clean fan blades of any dirt buildup (after disconnecting the electricity to the motor first).
  • Turn ON gas furnace pilot light.
  • Check and clean or replace furnace air filters each month during the heating season. Ventilation system, such as heat recovery ventilator, filters should be checked every two months.
  • Vacuum electric baseboard heaters to remove dust.
  • Remove the grilles on forced air systems and vacuum inside the ducts.
  • If the heat recovery ventilator has been shut off for the summer, clean the filters and the core, and pour water down the condensate drain to test it.
  • Clean portable humidifier, if one is used.
  • Have well water tested for quality. It is recommended that you test for bacteria every six months.
  • Check sump pump and line to ensure proper operation, and to ascertain that there are no line obstructions or visible leaks.
  • Replace window screens with storm windows.
  • Remove screens from the inside of casement windows to allow air from the heating system to keep condensation off window glass.
  • Ensure all doors to the outside shut tightly, and check other doors for ease of use. Renew door weather-stripping if required.
  • If there is a door between your house and the garage, check the adjustment of the self-closing device to ensure it closes the door completely.
  • Ensure windows and skylights close tightly.
  • Cover outside of air conditioning units.
  • Ensure that the ground around your home slopes away from the foundation wall, so that water does not drain into your basement.
  • Clean leaves from eaves troughs and roofs, and test downspouts to ensure proper drainage from the roof.
  • Check chimneys for obstructions such as nests.
  • Drain and store outdoor hoses. Close valve to outdoor hose connection and drain the hose bib (exterior faucet), unless your house has frost proof hose bibs.
  • If you have a septic tank, measure the sludge and scum to determine if the tank needs to be emptied before the spring. Tanks should be pumped out at least once every three years.
  • Winterize landscaping. For example, store outdoor furniture, prepare gardens and, if necessary, protect young trees or bushes for winter.

By implementing this regular maintenance schedule for the fall—as outlined in this article—it will go a long way in looking after your most prized investment. It is time well spent.