|Spring has arrived at last. It’s time to give your house the once-over and get all of your outdoor equipment back into service. Ready to get to it? |
Use the table below as a checklist.
If you have a sloped roof, check the condition of its covering (e.g., asphalt shingles, metal covering) and the caulking around any projecting features (e.g., chimney, plumbing vents, flashing).
If your roof is flat, make sure the drain is unblocked and its protective strainer basket properly installed. If you have a built-up roof (asphalt and gravel covering), make sure the gravel completely covers the asphalt coat. If on the other hand your roof covering is an elastomeric membrane design, check to see if any of the protective granules have come loose. If they have, call a specialized roofer. Also make sure that chimneys, skylights, electrical service masts, flashing, etc., have not been damaged during the winter.
|Heating season is now over, so have the chimney swept and the fireplace or furnace thoroughly cleaned.|
|Have a look at the roof gutters. Snow and ice may have damaged them or torn them loose from their brackets. To prevent damaging water infiltration, all gutters must connect to downspouts that carry water a sufficient distance away from the foundation.|
Inspect the exterior cladding. Any sheathing materials that are poorly anchored or have come loose must be repaired without delay. If they are cracked, flaking, discoloured or showing signs of mould, have them inspected. If the house has brick or stone cladding, locate any elements showing signs of crumbling or spalling, joints that are cracked or missing mortar, or bowing (outward swelling of the wall). In case of anomalies, contact a masonry contractor.
|Test all stairs, balconies, decks and handrails for solidity, and proceed with any necessary repairs.|
|Test all exterior electrical outlets. Each should be equipped with a ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI).|
While washing all your windows, inspect the screens for holes. If there are any, repair them before mosquitoes and other bugs return. At the same time, inspect the caulking around the windows.
|Clean out the window wells and, if necessary, their drain pipes to make sure they work effectively.|
|Thoroughly inspect the foundation. If you find cracks, efflorescence (whitish deposits), or localized infiltration/humidity, have the foundation more closely examined by a specialist.|
|If you get your drinking water from a well, the end of the snowmelt is a good time to have the water quality analyzed by a laboratory.|
|Prep your air conditioner, if you have one. Clean the coil and filters (or replace the latter). You should have the unit serviced every two or three years.|
|If you have a heat pump and it sits on the ground, check that it is level; freeze-thaw cycles may have destabilized it.|
|Inspect your garden shed and fences and plan any necessary maintenance.|
|As soon as the temperature permits, remove any protective coverings from trees and shrubs. If any de-icing salts, sand or gravel have accumulated next to the lawn, remove them. Thoroughly flush areas where salt or chloride compounds have built up.|
|Make sure the lawnmower and garden tools are ready for the season.|
|Around the end of April, dethatch (rake) the lawn. Wait until May, however, to re-seed bare patches where weeds might easily spread. The first time you mow, cut the grass to a height of 5 cm (2 in.); on subsequent mowings, cut it to 7.5 cm (3 in). Spread natural fertilizer on the soil.|
|Once the risk of frost has passed, turn the outside taps back on and reconnect garden hoses.|
|Avoid trimming trees that lose a lot of sap, such as maple, birch, elm, walnut and linden, too early in the spring (from late March to early May). With fruit trees, get as much information as you can before you break out the pruning shears.|
|Take your garden furniture and accessories out of storage and clean them. Reinstall children’s play equipment (e.g., swings, sandbox).|
|Thoroughly inspect every component of your gas grill. Make sure there is enough propane in the tank; you may want to enjoy a barbecue on the first nice day of spring!|
|Restart the swimming pool water treatment system as soon as the sun comes out for good and all traces of winter have disappeared.|
|If your home is heated by a central combustion appliance, have it maintained and cleaned as soon as the heating season ends.|
|If you have a forced-air heating system, buy replacement filters now so you’ll be ready in the autumn.|
|If you have a portable or central humidifier, clean it thoroughly.|
|If you have a sump pump, make sure it is working properly.|
|Clean out the catch basin in the garage, if you have one.|
|Pour water into floor drains to prevent sewer backup odours.|
|If the house has a crawlspace, as soon as the warm weather returns, open up the vents to ensure the space is properly aerated, as it tends to stay very humid throughout the summer. Make sure the grates on the weeping tiles are in good condition to prevent insects or small animals from getting in.|
|Clean out the garage and/or other places where maintenance products are stored. If you have any toxic products that you don’t need any more (e.g., paint, oils, pesticides), take them to your local eco-centre.|
|Clear out any lint that has accumulated in the dryer exhaust duct and the outdoor vent.|
|If you have an air exchanger, clean it thoroughly and replace the filter if necessary.|
|Adjust and lubricate door hinges and window mechanisms.|