14 Home Summer Maintenance Tips
Summer brings sun, barbecues and outdoor fun, but it’s also the perfect time to tackle some maintenance jobs around the house.
Keeping these tasks up to date seasonally, maintains the value of your home and makes your relaxation time worry free. The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) recommends homeowners take care of these things to keep what is the biggest investment of most Canadians in tip-top shape:
Make general repairs/fixes
Prevent accidents and keep your property safe. Inspect your yard and fix anything that could cause accidents. This includes:
- resetting pavers to prevent tripping
- staining or repainting your deck
- repairing cracks in your driveway
- fixing any steps or supporting structures
Check the roof condition
Using binoculars enables you to stay on the ground for this inspection. Look for:
- sagging that could indicate structural problems requiring further investigation from inside the attic
- any shingles needing repair or replacement
- signs of cracking, leakage, split or damaged sealants around the roof flashings, chimney and roof joints
- damage on the chimney cap and the caulking between the cap and the chimney.
If you find anything of concern, hire a professional to take a closer look. Roofs that are left unrepaired, can cause water damage issues inside your home.
Inspect weather-stripping, caulking and vents
Examine the condition of weather-stripping and caulking around windows and doors. Be sure to check outside vents at the same time. This inspection should include:
- cleaning and dusting the debris off the tracks of sliding doors and windows
- ensuring hardware and other operating parts between the opening unit and the outside frame are working properly
- checking that protective covers and mesh on exhaust vents aren’t blocked
- removing lint build up from your dryer vent
Clean your central air conditioner
Have the outdoor unit of your central air conditioner serviced. If you haven’t done it yet, there’s still lots of hot weather ahead. The servicing should include:
- checking and/or adjusting the refrigerant levels, compressor, fan-motor and controls
- vacuuming the heat exchange grilles to remove debris
- cleaning or replacing your furnace filter
Look for signs of humidity
Check your basement pipes for condensation or dripping. The CMHC recommends monitoring your basement for humidity and avoid relative humidity levels above 60 per cent. Use a dehumidifier if the moisture levels are too high. Running your air conditioner can also help.
Other tips from home maintenance experts include:
Power wash your driveway/sidewalks
- Check areas for cracks and weeds
- Wash away dirt, mold and grime that’s built up
- If you observe cracks in your foundation, consult a professional
Note: Pressure washing is great for some areas (like sidewalks) and not for others (wooden decks). Soft washing is safe so pay attention to the pressure to avoid damage.
It’s not the most enjoyable job, but an important one that prevents water issues.
- Ensure downspouts are in good shape and pointing away from the house
Wash windows/replace broken window screens
Washing your exterior windows won’t make much of a difference if you don’t wash your window screens, too.
- Remove screens and gently scrub them with hot, soapy water. If they are too dirty to clean or have holes and tears, replace them.
Prevent bug breeding grounds
Since warmer weather calls for more outdoor time, you’ll want to maintain a yard that isn’t a home for insects.
- Ensure there aren’t areas of standing water which are a perfect breeding grounds for mosquitos
- Caulk windows and doors to help stop bugs and ants from infiltrating your home
Beautify your yard
A well-kept yard shows pride of ownership and has curb appeal.
- Remove dead parts from trees or plants and weed
- Mulch in landscaping beds is attractive and will help keep weeds at bay and allow plants to retain moisture
Inspect your BBQ
Your grill will get lots of use this season. Make sure it’s ready.
- Check hoses for cracks, holes and blockages
- Place your grill 10 feet or more away from any structures, railings or other flammable items
- For a gas grill, heat it up for about 20-30 minutes and scrub the grates clean with a grill brush
- For a charcoal grill, clean using a bucket of hot, soapy water, clean with a sponge
Reverse Ceiling Fans
Ceiling fans should spin counterclockwise in the summer. This pushes the air straight down, creating a breeze.
- Shut off the fan. Locate the direction switch on the side above the blades and change
- Once you’re up there, take the opportunity to clean the blades!
Renovating? Call your insurer
Summer is when many homeowners choose to do larger renovation projects. According to Canadian Underwriter, only six per cent of Ontario homeowners looked into their insurance policy prior to renovating while only 14 per cent ask if they need to update it after the work is complete. Depending on what the renovation is, it can lower or raise your premiums. Here’s why you need to talk to your provider:
- Existing limits may not be sufficient if someone gets hurt during the renovation
- Renovations that increase the property's rebuilding costs could leave you underinsured
Check batteries in smoke and carbon monoxide detectors
This only take a few minutes and could save your life!