The homeowner’s must-do maintenance checklist defined by nature
Elements of nature. Powerful and unlike anything invented by humans. In the end, nature always wins, so within here, we offer every homeowner a simple checklist to follow to ensure that you protect your investment, and everything inside of it, from falling prey to the forces attributed to the elements of nature.
Air, water, fire and earth – the four elements present different risks, and thus, different approaches to minimize those risks, when it comes to your property. To keep it simple and easy to remember, we will provide four tips for each element, for a sweet total of 16 maintenance items we can all get behind.
Roof – Inspect at grade and at roof for torn, missing or curling shingles as they can lift easily in high winds and expose raw sheathing. Check inside attic for proper ventilation and potential signs of moisture (mould on underside of sheathing, depressed or black insulation). Wind-driven roof damage may only otherwise show up when you notice ceiling damages on the inside.
Caulking – Window sills, joints between exterior cladding, door frames all bleed air. Insulation and caulking at basement floor joist headers can dramatically reduce air infiltration and exfiltration, resulting in energy savings and increased comfort.
HVAC – Have an annual furnace/boiler and AC service, replace filters every three months, clean ducts and ventilation fans inside grills.
Tie downs/weight – Lawn furniture, yard tools, anything left outside that is not overly heavy or tied down can become a dangerous projectile in a strong wind. Review these regularly before the storms blow into town.
Roof – Similar to wind risks, old or missing shingles cannot perform in keeping water out. Water inside the building envelope can create major finish damages, structural and health problems in a big hurry. Included with the roof inspection, we recommend cleaning eavestroughs twice per year to ensure proper flow and reduce ice damning risk in winter.
Caulking – Interior and exterior caulking should be inspected annually. Showers and sink edges, a crack the size of a credit card could result in major leak damage. Window and door sills should be inspected for bubbling and cracking of caulking, as well as roof vents to ensure reduced risk of water infiltration.
HVAC – Check hot water tank, furnace and air conditioners for leaking at floor, and drain lines to be free flowing. Ensure humidifiers are not overly scaled and flow as should.
Drinking water – Replace fridge or sink filter at least twice annually. Send test kit sample of tap water to municipality for testing annually. Also, turn off hose bibs on interior and open exterior by November 1st each year to avoid freezing damage (even on “Frost-Free” faucets!).
Alarm – Replace Smoke/CO alarm battery annually and test alarms monthly. We recommend the NEST alarms for their regular smart phone notifications and testing, as well as the neat night-light option.
Extinguishers – Check/recharge fire extinguisher(s) for the kitchen. Add a single sprinkler head or the Haven ceiling mount suppression device in the mechanical room (the location of most fires.)
HVAC – Clean or have annual service performed and check
Dryers – Remove and clean out ventilation grill, vent pipe and inside edge of appliance to prevent overheating.
Soil – Ensure positive slope away from foundations and fill any depressions around downspouts to ensure proper storm runoff.
Radon gas – Test kit or continuous monitor (preferred) and ventilate sub-slab in basement to depressurize against odourless carcinogen that naturally emanates from some soil types.
Fertilize – Early spring, mid-summer and late fall to ensure lawn and garden have adequate nutrients.
Sweep – Monthly cleaning of the hard surfaces around your house can highlight any rot or repairs needed to decks, porches and also reduce the amount of dirt dragged into your home.
If your home is in need of more than a little routine maintenance and you are contemplating a new home or more extensive renovation, remember there is real value in working with a professional to design and build the space. Visit renomark.ca, the home of the professional renovator, to start your search when looking to start your project.
Brendan Charters is a Founding Partner at Design-Build Firm Eurodale Developments Inc., the GTA’s only four-time winner of the Renovator of the Year award.