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Maintaining your new home throughout the seasons

 While most maintenance is seasonal, there are some things you should do on a frequent basis yearround:

check-mark  Ensure air vents indoors and outdoors (intake, exhaust and forced air) are not blocked by snow or debris

check-mark  Check and clean range hood filters on a monthly basis.

check-mark  Test ground fault circuit interrupter(s) on electrical outlets monthly by pushing the test button, which should then cause the reset button to pop up.

check-mark  If there are young children in the house, make sure electrical outlets are equipped with safety plugs.

check-mark  Regularly check the house for safety hazards, such as a loose handrail, lifting or buckling flooring, inoperative smoke detectors, and so on.

check-mark  Seasonal maintenance is important to ensure your new home stays in tiptop shape.

Here is a quick checklist for you to follow:

Spring

check-mark  After consulting your hot water tank owner's manual, carefully test the temperature and pressure relief valve to ensure it is not stuck. Caution: This test may release hot water that can cause burns.

check-mark  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.

check-mark  Have fireplace or wood stove and chimney cleaned and serviced as needed.

check-mark  Shut down, drain and clean furnace humidifier, and close the furnace humidifier damper on units with central air conditioning.

check-mark  Switch on power to air conditioning and check system. Have it serviced every two or three years.

check-mark  Clean or replace airconditioning filter, if applicable.

check-mark  Check dehumidifier and drain — clean if necessary.

check-mark  Turn OFF gas furnace and fireplace pilot lights where possible.

check-mark  Have well water tested for quality. It is recommended that you test for bacteria every six months.

check-mark  Check smoke, carbon monoxide and security alarms, and replace batteries.

check-mark  Clean windows, screens and hardware, and replace storm windows with screens. Check screens first and repair or replace if needed.

check-mark  Open valve to outside hose connection after all danger of frost has passed.

check-mark  Examine the foundation walls for cracks, leaks or signs of moisture, and repair as required.

check-mark  Ensure sump pump is operating properly before the spring thaw sets in. Ensure discharge pipeis connected and allows water to drain away from the foundation.

check-mark  Relevel any exterior steps or decks that moved as a result of frost or settling.

check-mark  Check for and seal off any holes in exterior cladding that could be an entry point for small pests, such as bats and squirrels.

check-mark  Check eavestroughs and downspouts for loose joints and secure attachment to your home, clear any obstructions, and ensure water flows away from your foundation.

check-mark  Clear all drainage ditches and culverts of debris.

check-mark  Repair and paint fences as necessary — allow wood fences to dry adequately before tackling this task.

check-mark  Undertake spring landscape maintenance and, if necessary, fertilize young trees.

Summer

check-mark  Monitor basement humidity and avoid relative humidity levels above 60 per cent. Use a dehumidifier to maintain relative humidity below 60 per cent.

check-mark  Clean or replace airconditioning filter, and clean or replace ventilation system filters if necessary.

check-mark  Check basement pipes for condensation or dripping and, if necessary, take corrective action; for example, reduce humidity and/or insulate cold water pipes.

check-markCheck the basement floor drain to ensure the trap contains water; refill with water if necessary.

check-mark  If you have a plumbing fixture that is not used frequently, for example, a laundry tub or spare bathroom sink, tub or shower stall, run some water briefly to keep water in the trap.

check-mark  Deep clean carpets and rugs.

check-mark  Vacuum bathroom fan grille.

check-mark  Disconnect the duct connected to your clothes dryer, and vacuum lint from duct, the areas surrounding your dryer and your dryer’s vent hood outside.

check-mark  Check security of all guardrails and handrails.

check-mark  Check smooth functioning of all windows, and lubricate as required.

check-mark  Inspect window putty on outside of glass panes of older houses, and replace if needed.

check-mark  Sand and touch up paint on windows and doors.

check-mark  Lubricate door hinges, and tighten screws as needed.

check-mark  Check for and replace damaged caulking and weatherstripping around mechanical and electrical services, windows and doorways, including the doorway between the garage and the house.

check-mark  Lubricate garage door hardware, and ensure it is operating properly.

check-mark  Lubricate automatic garage door opener motor, chain and other moving parts, and ensure that the autoreverse mechanism is properly adjusted.

check-mark  Inspect electrical service lines for secure attachment where they enter your house, and make sure there is no water leakage into the house along the electrical conduit. Check for overhanging tree branches that may need to be removed.

check-mark  Check exterior wood siding and trim for signs of deterioration; clean, replace or refinish as needed.

check-mark  Remove any plants that contact — and roots that penetrate — the siding or brick.

check-mark  From the ground, check the general condition of the roof and note any sagging that could indicate structural problems requiring further investigation from inside the attic. Note the condition of shingles for possible repair or replacement, and examine roof flashings, such as at chimney and roof joints, for any signs of cracking or leakage.

check-mark  Check the chimney cap and the caulking between the cap and the chimney.

check-mark  Repair driveway and walkways as needed.

check-mark  Repair any damaged steps.

Fall

check-mark  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, or as recommended by the manufacturer.

check-mark  If you have central air conditioning, make sure the drain pan under the cooling coil mounted in the furnace plenum is draining properly and is clean.

check-mark  Lubricate circulating pump on hot water heating system.

check-mark  Bleed air from hot water radiators.

check-mark  Disconnect the power to the furnace and examine the forcedair furnace fan belt, if installed, for wear, looseness or noise; clean fan blades of any dirt buildup.

check-mark  Check chimneys for obstructions such as nests.

check-mark  Vacuum electric baseboard heaters to remove dust.

check-mark  Remove the grilles on forcedair systems and vacuum inside the ducts.

check-mark  Turn ON gas furnace pilot light (if your furnace has one), set the thermostat to “heat” and test the furnace for proper operation by raising the thermostat setting until the furnace starts to operate.

check-mark  Once you have confirmed proper operation, return the thermostat to the desired setting.

check-mark  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.

check-mark  Check to see that the ductwork leading to and from the heat recovery ventilator is in good shape, the joints are tightly sealed (aluminum tape or mastic) and any duct insulation and plastic duct wrap is free of tears and holes.

check-mark  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.

check-mark  Check to see that bathroom exhaust fans and range hoods are operating properly. If possible, confirm that you are getting good airflow by observing the outside vent hood (the exterior damper should be held open by the airflow).

check-mark  Check smoke, carbon monoxide and security alarms, and replace batteries.

check-mark  Clean portable humidifier, if one is used.

check-mark  Check sump pump and line to ensure proper operation, and to ascertain that there are no line obstructions or visible leaks.

check-mark  Replace window screens with storm windows.

check-mark  Remove interior insect screens from windows to allow air from the heating system to keep condensation off window glass and to allow more free solar energy into your home.

check-mark  Ensure windows and skylights close tightly; repair or replace weatherstripping, as needed.

check-mark  Ensure all doors to the outside shut tightly, and check other doors for ease of use. Replace door weatherstripping if required.

check-mark  If there is a door between your house and the garage, check the adjustment of the selfclosing device to ensure it closes the door completely.

check-mark  Cover outside of airconditioning units and shut off power.

check-mark  Ensure that the ground around your home slopes away from the foundation wall, so that water does not drain into your basement.

check-mark  Clean leaves from eavestroughs and roof, and test downspouts to ensure proper drainage from the roof.

check-mark  Drain and store outdoor hoses. Close interior valve to outdoor hose connection and drain the hose bib (exterior faucet), unless your house has frostproof hose bibs.

check-mark  Have well water tested for quality. It is recommended that you test for bacteria every six months.

check-mark  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.

check-mark  Winterize landscaping, for example, store outdoor furniture, prepare gardens and, if necessary, protect young trees or bushes for winter.

Winter

check-mark  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.

check-mark  After consulting your hot water tank owner’s manual, drain off a dishpan full of water from the cleanout valve at the bottom of your hot water tank to control sediment and maintain efficiency.

check-mark  Clean humidifier two or three times during the winter season.

check-mark  Vacuum bathroom fan grille.

check-markVacuum fire and smoke detectors, as dust or spider webs can prevent them from functioning.

check-markVacuum radiator grilles on back of refrigerators and freezers, and empty and clean drip trays.

check-markCheck pressure gauge on all fire extinguishers; recharge or replace if necessary.

check-markCheck fire escape routes, door and window locks and hardware, and lighting around outside of house; ensure family has good security habits.

check-markCheck the basement floor drain to ensure the trap contains water; refill with water if necessary.

check-markMonitor your home for excessive moisture levels — for example, condensation on your windows, which can cause significant damage over time and pose serious health problems — and take corrective action if necessary.

check-markCheck all faucets for signs of dripping and change washers as needed. Faucets requiring frequent replacement of washers may be in need of repair.

check-markIf you have a plumbing fixture that is not used frequently, such as a laundry tub or spare bathroom sink, tub or shower stall, run some water briefly to keep water in the trap.

check-markClean drains in dishwasher, sinks, bathtubs and shower stalls.

check-markTest plumbing shutoff valves to ensure they are working and to prevent them from seizing.

check-markExamine windows and doors for ice accumulation or cold air leaks. If found, make a note to repair or replace in the spring.

check-markExamine attic for frost accumulation. Check roof for ice dams or icicles.

check-markKeep snow clear of gas meters, gas appliance vents, exhaust vents and basement windows.

check-markMonitor outdoor vents, gas meters and chimneys for ice and snow buildup. Consult with an appropriate contractor or your gas utility for information on how to safely deal with any ice problems you may discover.

check-markCheck electrical cords, plugs and outlets for all indoor and outdoor seasonal lights to ensure fire safety; if worn, or if plugs or cords feel warm to the touch, replace immediately.


 *Checklists courtesy of CMHC

 

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