Follow this spring home maintenance checklist for maintaining the interior and exterior integrity of your home for years to come.
Spring Home Maintenance: Exterior Inspection Checklist & Tips
After a long winter, the milder weather—along with a burst of sunshine— is the perfect inspiration to do an outdoor spring home inspection of you home. Alberta winters can be especially tough on roofs and cause extensive damage to your house’s foundation, exterior woodwork and windows.
As you inspect your house’s exterior to prepare your home for spring, check off the 10 items below.
1. Inspect the roof
Winter weather can do significant damage to your roof. Start by doing a visual inspection of the roof to figure out what, if anything, you’ll need to fix. Look for missing shingles or signs of leaks and rust. Check for any damage from snow or ice and make necessary repairs to minimize cracks. If you notice extensive damage, hire a professional roofer to do an assessment and make the repairs.
2. Clean out the gutters and downspouts
After the winter thaw, clean out leaves and other debris from gutters and downspouts to reduce water damage and keep water moving. Clogged gutters and downspouts can destroy eavestroughs and even cause wood trim to rot. If the gutters are falling, reattach or replace them completely.
3. Examine the foundation
Go over the foundation carefully and seal any cracks. Look for spots around the house with unlevel soil and firmly repack the soil so water can’t make contact with your home. If you’ll be doing some spring gardening, plant your vegetation away from the foundation so that roots and water don’t become a problem. You might even consider hiring a contractor for larger landscaping projects for your spring lawn care and spring garden needs.
4. Take a look at paths and driveways
Take a walk around your property and look for disruptions to your driveway, walkways and paths. Compared to concrete, asphalt tends to fare better in cold weather because it is more porous and pliable. Asphalt is not as durable as concrete though, so you may have to repair it more often. Luckily, you can usually patch smaller areas of asphalt on your own using a kit from your local home and garden store.
If you have concrete, it will be more durable than asphalt, but repairs will likely be more difficult and expensive to perform. If the concrete has extensive lifting and cracking from cold weather conditions, you may want to consider calling a professional or replacing it completely.
5. Test the sprinklers and irrigation systems
Months of frozen ground can take a toll on your sprinklers and irrigation systems. Run the systems to make sure they are operating correctly. If you find damaged sprinkler heads, replace them as soon as possible when preparing you home for spring to avoid more damage to the system.
6. Repair the deck and reseal woodwork
Winter storms can leave mounds of snow on your decks and exterior woodwork, which can destroy wood trim and finish. Check your wooden deck, wooden trim and wooden structures for any signs of discoloration, water stains or warping. Reseal if necessary.
Look for loose nails or boards on the deck and secure the railing and steps. Finally, replace any boards that are rotting after exposure to the moisture and cold of winter.
7. Fix windows and screen doors
Check all your screen doors and window screens for holes that small bugs can fit through. Use a store-bought screen repair kit to fix any cracks or tears you find.
Then, inspect your windows for drafts and leaks, which can bring in water and cold air. Look at the condition of the caulking and weather stripping and reseal or replace the window if needed.
8. Inspect the air conditioning unit
Your air-conditioning maintenance should include removing debris and changing the filters. According to Natural Resources Canada, you should clean the air filters at least once each season to extend the life of your air conditioning unit. A clean filter can take away the strain on your system to maximize airflow.
9. Look for tree damage
You should remove damaged or rotting trees from your property to keep the rest of your spring foliage healthy. Look for any dead trees or branches that have fallen during heavy winds or storms and remove them from the yard. If a tree is too large to remove on your own, consider hiring a professional tree-removal company.
10. Trim foliage
While you’re in spring-cleaning mode, take the opportunity to beautify your yard. In early spring, trim branches, trees and shrubs as well as any branches that overextend to your home. Trim thriving trees and bushes and keep them away from utility exposure. Trimming prepares your foliage for new growth in the spring and allows you to shape your shrubbery and trees before they grow leaves again.
Spring Home Maintenance: Inspection Checklist & Tips for Indoors
As hard as you’ve worked to keep the cold outside this season, freezing temperatures can still manage to wreak havoc on the interior of your home. To get your home ready for the spring, follow the tips below.
1. Clean the furnace
Your furnace has been working nonstop for several months. The arrival of warmer weather presents a great opportunity to clean (or replace) your furnace’s filter system, blower and motor. For a deep cleaning and regular furnace maintenance, consider signing up for a home services plan.
2. Check the attic
After a cold winter, take a trip to the attic to make sure no leaks have developed. Watch out for mice, insects or pests that may have taken up residency during the winter months. Make sure the insulation is intact and look for signs of mould and water damage.
3. Go to the basement
Basements are particularly susceptible to water leaks after the winter season. If you detect a musky scent, chances are you have a leak somewhere. Check the walls, ceiling and surroundings for discoloration and any signs of water.
As a first step, consider running ventilation fans from your basement to the outdoors to dry up as much of the room as possible. You might also consider installing a dehumidifier to speed up the process. If you notice water or dampness on the floor, make sure your outdoor downspouts face away from your home and the ground around your house slopes down and away from the foundation. If you see water on the basement ceiling or walls, there’s a chance you have a plumbing problem and will need to contact a professional for help.
4. Tune Up the A/C
Your air conditioning has probably been on a very long hiatus during the winter. Before turning the air on for the season, have a qualified HVAC technician give your A/C a proper tune-up. Consider replacing your old air conditioner with an ENERGY STAR®-rated model. According to Natural Resources Canada, these energy-efficient units use 30 to 40 percent less energy than a majority of units sold 10 to 15 years ago.
5. Look for leaky pipes and mould
A frozen or leaky pipe can cause flooding or extensive water damage inside your home. Check under the kitchen and bathroom sinks to ensure the connections are properly sealed and fill any holes. Look for moisture around your dishwasher and washing machine, sealing any hoses with bulges or cracks.
6. Check the water heater
A water heater system that is not working properly can cause damage and run inefficiently. Small leaks and rust can cause sediment buildup that can disrupt the system. If you see signs of leaks or corrosion around the water heater, call a professional to do a spring home inspection of your water heater and related appliances.
7. Clean out dryer vents
Make sure your clothes dryer vents are clean and properly connected to minimize fire hazards. Inspect the vent on your dryer where it attaches to the dryer and where it goes out of the house. Clean the exhaust duct and the space under the dryer.
8. Check the fire extinguisher
You should inspect any portable fire extinguishers at least monthly, according to the Canadian Centre of Occupational Health and Safety. As part of your spring home maintenance, fire extinguisher checks should include looking at the hose and nozzle to make sure they are in working condition, with the pressure gauge in the “green” range. Replace any nonfunctioning fire extinguishers immediately.
9. Test carbon monoxide and smoke detectors
Inspect smoke and carbon monoxide detectors to ensure they are working properly and change batteries if necessary. According to MyHealthAlberta.ca, you should install at least one smoke alarm on every level of your home, including the basement, to ensure the safety of your home and family.
10. Do general cleaning
Get inspired to clean areas of the house that you don’t regularly tidy up. Dust or vacuum high-reaching cabinet tops, ceiling fans and window seals. Remove dust and other allergens to ensure a cleaner, healthier home for your family. Vacuum under rugs and wipe down your refrigerator and freezer. The possibilities are endless! Plus, a thorough spring cleaning can help you identify other unsuspecting areas of your home that may need repairs.
Utilize Our Resources
As a reminder, Alberta’s winter weather can do substantial damage to your home that you may not be aware of for months or even years. As your Alberta energy company and neighbour, we’re here to offer guidance where we can. From assessing your Alberta electricity needs to preparing your home for spring, we’re here to help you meet your home and energy needs. Contact us anytime at 1.866.420.3174.