Keep your home in shape through 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 the 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 arbours. • 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 the 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 a 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.