Keep your home in shape throught the year.
• Make a list of projects you plan to complete during the year. Include big projects so you can budget ahead.
• Check toilets for leaks.
• Post important emergency info: Location of main gas valve, for instance, or contact numbers for heating and cooling service.
• Organize garage or shed; clean, sharpen and lubricate yard tools.
• Dispose of old paint, and properly. Add waste paint hardener, available at hardware stores and home centres.
• Clean lint from dryer exhaust ducts and vents.
• Repair window screens. Save old screening for future patches.
• Build or repair fences and arbors. • Repair deck boards as needed; remove protruding nails and replace with coated or galvanized screws. Be sure to check and tighten bolts in deck supports.
• Clean and seal wood deck as necessary. Deck stains with at least some pigment last longer than clear sealers.
• Check the operation of your garage-door opener. Consult owner's manual.
• Add a garage-door keypad outside for convenience - but be sure to keep it out of reach of young children.
• Move firewood at least 30 feet away from house; pull wood mulch away from foundation.
• Reverse ceiling fans - they should have been blowing upward during the winter-and clean tops of fan blades.
• Check to be sure winter wind hasn't lifted vinyl and aluminum siding, and repair as needed.
• Wash siding and gutters. You'll have fewer streaks if you start at the bottom. Always be careful with ladders around power lines!
• Scrape and touch up exterior paint, paying special attention to window sills, gable vents, garage doors.
• Clean gas grill and replace any' rusted or damaged parts.
• Check crawl space for moisture and remove debris. If you spot signs of termites, call a pro.
• Clean concrete drives, walkways and patios, and repair as needed.
• Vacuum coils behind refrigerators and freezers to ensure proper operation. (Don't forget about those appliances in the basement or garage.)
• Check supply hoses to washing machines. If hoses are soft or cracked, replace them. (They seem to break when you're away on vacation.)
• Remove toe panel from front of dishwasher and check for leaks under the appliance.
• Trim shrubs away from heat pump compressor, and trim those blocking crawl-space ventilation.
• Cut back tree limbs that are touching roof. Be careful around power lines!
• Flush water heater as needed Be sure to turn off power to water heater before draining, and refill before restoring power.
• Open and close cutoff valves to sinks and toilets. You don't want to discover during a plumbing emergency that valves are stuck.
• Call heating service to schedule fall heating system checkup; call propane company to fill tanks.
• If you smell a musty odour during peak air-conditioning season, check ducts for leaks. Repair leaks with mastic - not duct tape.
• Replace light bulbs with compact fluorescents. Information: http://www.gelighting.com,/ http://www.sylvania.com/.
• Check operation of door and window locks, and replace as needed before you go on vacation.
• Test smoke and carbon monoxide alarms, and replace batteries.
• Caulk around windows and doors. If you're going to paint, choose a caulk that's paintable. Pay special attention to places where dissimilar materials such as brick and wood meet.
• Be sure weep holes in storm windows are open to allow water to escape.
• Vacuum gas logs, and be sure they're properly seated before operating.
• Add new sweeps to the bottom of exterior doors as needed to block cold air.
• Reverse those ceiling fans again. They should blow upward in winter, to push warm air across ceiling and down walls.
• Clean gutters. Use hose to be sure downspouts are flowing freely.
• Check roof from ground with binoculars. Replace or repair any curled or missing shingles.
• Drain and winterize irrigation system; the backflow preventer is most vulnerable.
• Seal holes in foundation, espescially spots around pipes and wires where rodents might enter.
• Create a fire escape plan for family and practice it. Be sure fire extinguishers are properly filled. Information: http://www.usfa.fema.gov/
• Get rid of old medicines, and make sure household chemicals are out of reach of children. Post poison hotline number near phone.
• Make sure everyone knows location of main water shutoff, and that you keep access clear. Show neighbour where to find shutoff, too.