Summer home maintenance
Your home maintenance schedule should change with the seasons. A millimetre of prevention is worth a litre of cure. Use our handy warm-weather maintenance checklist to help you get started.
Outside your home:
- Clean out and repair gutters and downspouts
- Repair driveways, walkways, patio deterioration and seal cracks
- Paint or stain exterior trim, fences and decks as needed
- Repair damage on the outside of your home, including cracks or storm damage
- Find and seal any foundation, crawlspace, or basement crack, seepage or leaks
- Wash and repair holes in window and door screens
- If you have a masonry chimney, check the joints between the bricks or stones for vegetation growth or mortar deterioration; re-seal if necessary with a water-resistant barrier material available at your local hardware store
- Make sure air conditioning units are in good working order—change the filter, check hose connections for leaks, and make sure the drain pans are draining freely
Inside your home:
- Inspect the attic for signs of roof leaks, mould, or critters
- Inspect the washing machine and dishwasher hoses and clean the filters
- Check the float of your sump pit to ensure it’s clean and moving freely by slowly pouring water into the sump tank (our short video explains how a sump pump keeps your basement dry)
- Check that the battery of your sump pump is in good condition by running the sump pump a second time with the power off
- Change batteries in your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors and test them to be sure they work properly
- Inspect sinks, faucets, appliance hoses, and your hot water tank for leaks
Do you know your seasonal maintenance responsibilities? Review your condo ownership documents—not everything is taken care of by the condominium association.
For example, heating and air conditioning (HVAC) unit maintenance usually falls to the condo owner because these mechanicals are not shared and therefore not part of the “common” areas covered by condo fees.
Check the following on your HVAC unit:
- Air Filters. After months of constant use, your air filter can get clogged with dirt, dust and pet hair. Filters are usually easy to access—they simply pull out. Turn the unit off to check the filter for excessive grime. Depending on the type of filter, you can rinse it off and reuse it, or replace it with a new one. If you don’t clean or replace your filter, it can force the HVAC system to work harder to circulate hot or cold air through your house and won’t be very effective at cleaning the air.
- Furnace inspection. When you shut down a furnace there’s more to it than moving the thermostat function from “Heat” to “Off”. Every spring you should have the unit professionally inspected for small cracks or damage that might cause problems come fall.
- Prepare your air conditioner. Once the furnace is shut down, check your A/C for anything that might block airflow around the outside or on top of the unit and clear it away. Spray the compressor unit down with water to clear out any leaves or small pieces of debris that may have fallen into it over the year. Schedule an HVAC specialist to check the coolant levels and gauge the cooling function before summer heat hits.
Prevent water damage
In most Canadian provinces, water is the leading cause of damage to homes. Water damage is expensive and sometimes difficult to eradicate.
Identify problems early to keep them from getting worse and to save money in the long term—it’s cheaper to do maintenance now than to replace later on. This video series offers prevention tips from a professional contractor to stop water damage before it starts.
Other things you can do:
Check your roof. Have any shingles shifted, cracked, or disappeared? Are any shingles being pushed up by nails? Did you have any ice-dam buildup over the winter? Once your roof’s waterproof seal is compromised, excess moisture can lead to structural deterioration and damage to the ceilings, walls and insulation inside. You should inspect your roof twice a year, in the spring and in the fall, regardless of its age.
Check the foundation. Walk around the outside of your house to identify areas of concern and highlight signs of damage. Seal any cracks you find and check for potential water leakage through basement window wells. Make sure concrete or stone walkways and patios slope slightly away from the basement walls for proper drainage. In areas where water pools, add backfill to create a slope away from the foundation. Realign patio or walkway stones to slope away from the house.
Clean and repair gutter systems. Keep gutters free of leaves, dirt and debris. Repair loose joints and missing sections, and ensure downspout extensions point away from the foundation so the water drains at least 1.8 m (6 ft.) away.
Keep an eye out indoors. Look for telltale signs of water damage inside your house—stained ceilings and drywall, damp areas in the basement, or cracks in your concrete floors that get wider over time or have signs of discolouration from water seepage. Check for cracked caulking around windows and doors. Sniff out musty, wet odours and look for signs of mould and mildew along wall edges and baseboards.
Consider installing a sump pump. If you already have one, make sure it runs effectively. You might wish to have a back-up sump pump in case the first one fails during heavy rains.
Monitor local weather conditions. Check with your local water authority for updates about flooding and water levels in your area. Watch children and pets to keep them safe around bodies of water that may be unsafe due to high water levels and spring runoff.Next Article