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Your Spring Home Maintenance Checklist

Get out early to spruce up your home and yard.

Overwhelmed by the thought of spring cleaning? Here's a helpful list of tips and tasks to get you started. You'll be done sooner than you think — it'll feel good to protect your investment, and enjoy it for the warm season ahead.

Inspect home exterior for cracks, mould and peeling paint

After the ice and snow heave-ho, take a walk around your home's perimeter to spy any troubled areas where moisture could seep in (mould can grow quickly), or for signs of rot or ground upheaval.

  • Look closely around your foundation for any obvious or new cracks, checking behind larger items, such as bins or stacked patio furniture.
  • Check the roof shingles, gutters, siding, stucco or bricks for signs of loosening, leaks, water stains, cracks, or other damage.
  • Examine your exterior windows for trim and sash wear or damage.
  • Inspect your retaining wall, fence lines, deck and walkways for signs of rot or upheaval, which could become a safety issue.
  • See peeling paint? A fresh layer of paint (after the right prep) can help protect and seal surfaces.
  • Spring is a time when birds (like woodpeckers or robins) can drill holes in your siding or block your gutters, looking for a nest to call home. Keep an eye and ear out!

Ensure proper water drainage

A surprising amount of debris can build up over winter, stuffing gutters, downspouts and window wells. And, if you're still dealing with snow and ice, slosh buildup may impede the draining melt.

  • Take a peak at gutters, give a quick glance into downspouts. Clear icy slosh and debris to help prevent water backup.
  • Keep your eyes up for another month or two, to spot overly-wet areas on exterior walls or leaky gutter joints which may require caulking to seal.
  • Check that downspouts drain at least four feet away from your home and foundation, and not directly onto walkways or driveways.
  • Assess whether there are freshly sunken areas on your property. Will your yard need levelling to reduce water pooling or muddy areas?
  • Eyeball the lawn grading to ensure there's enough slope to lead water away from the house, noting that gravel or mulching doesn't redirect water flow.

Check up on your HVAC system

The 'beating heart' of your home — now's a good time to have your HVAC system inspected or serviced to reduce utility bills, improve air quality and ensure health and safety.

  • Replace filters in your AC, furnace and humidifier, and clear and dust vents (have floor vents collected winter dirt or muck?).
  • Schedule an AC service call now, ahead of the hot summer temps.
  • If you had unattended furnace issues over the winter, schedule an inspection or repair.
  • Ducts matter, as they carry air from your AC or furnace to the rooms in your house. Up to 20% of cooled or heated air can escape on the way, have them tested during an inspection.
  • Is your water heater nearing the age of replacement? They tend to fail in freezing temps, or after being turned off for a vacation, so think about upgrading during a warmer season.
  • Check over any portable AC units, or ceiling or stand-alone fans to clean and replace filters.

Check attic for moisture and ventilation

Ahead of the hotter outside temps, it's important to check up on your attic ventilation, and ensure that your bathroom and over-the-stove fans are doing their job to clear out moisture or fumes.

  • Do you have enough roof vents? A professional can assess whether the attic may get too hot, which can damage your roof and shingles, plus make it harder to maintain cooler temps inside.
  • Clean bathroom fans. Are they still venting to the outside? Check the attic to confirm that condensation isn't collecting in conduits.
  • Your stovetop range and fan need cleaning and clearing, as well — which may help prevent a fire or reduce smoke damage from stove misadventures.

Seal and repair to protect against the heat and sun

Time to check interior windows and doors. A reversal from the winter cold, you'll now want to keep colder air in, but also affirm that windows open properly after a winter of being shut.

  • Check window seals. If you have a cloudy window or can see condensation inside the pane, the seal is broken and has lost its ability to properly insulate your home.
  • Check around windows and doorways for warping, gaps and cracks. Warping may need physical repair, and weather stripping or caulking can help reinstate a proper seal.
  • Add solar-absorbing or heat-reflecting window film or curtains to keep a room cooler and reflect the heat back outside.
  • Open all your windows, and breathe the fresh air. If they don't cooperate, now's the time to fix them to invite cooler morning or evening air inside when needed.

Be on the lookout for pest intrusion

It's that time of year, when all the multi-legged living things crawl back to life, but hopefully, not into your home or garage.

  • Grab that caulking gun (if you know what you're doing, or hire someone who does) and walk around inside and out to seal new holes and cracks (don't forget those hot tub hose entry points).
  • Replace damaged window screens, and install a screen door to let the breeze in and keep the bugs out.
  • Clear out debris from around basement windows and wells, cleaning dirt and grim from all sills to eliminate hiding places.
  • Inspect your basement and garage for past signs of pests, to clue you in to possible entry points.
  • Food attracts insects and rodents. Make sure to properly seal food in your kitchen and pantry, and don't leave food out anywhere for long, especially the basement.
  • If you're suddenly seeing more ants or other bugs marching or flying around (not just the odd one), call a professional before they get established inside walls, ceilings or floors.
  • The rule is, if you see one bug or mouse, there may be more. Keep an eye out! But also remember that you're bigger than they are, so don't lose any sleep worrying about it.

Clean up the yard

This to-do is kind of a no-brainer for most, but don't let enticing spring weather distract you from the task at hand. Early cleaning of your yard and home exterior can help you avoid pest and mould issues, kickstart lawn and plant growth, and help you enjoy your investment in the season of renewal.

  • Clear out leaves, debris and dead branches from fences and beds, and add mulch around trees and plants to retain spring moisture and discourage weeds.
  • Aerating your lawn can encourage healthy, strong growth to help reduce water usage, and weed or pest takeover.
  • Clean up debris and dirt from window wells, around patios and from under decks (watch out for skunks or other critters!).
  • Clear the way around utilities, play sets, AC units, and power poles.

Trim trees and shrubs, and water them

Powerful storm winds may break or swing large branches (or even snap them), which could cause damage, impede utilities or power lines, or even add a fire risk.

  • Trim large branches that are too close to your roof, utilities, fence and power lines (but avoid damaging new growth; check on the right timing and method with an arborist or garden centre).
  • Ensure that shrubs won't impede walkways or gates.
  • After the snow melts and your outside taps are on, it's time to start watering thirsty roots. For trees, usually a light trickle for up to 10 minutes per tree, once every 10 days until spring rains kick in.

Assess for energy efficiency upgrades

Once you know that your home's systems and components are in working order, consider making a few improvements to reduce your cooling and heating bills, or water and electricity usage.

  • Do your windows need replacing? As they age, they lose their ability to insulate your home or protect against UV rays. Installing newer, energy-efficient windows, or budgeting to replace them over time, can reduce bills and maintain your home's value.
  • Feeling the heat or cold more than usual? Adding insulation to your attic can buffer your need to turn up the heat or AC.
  • Consider planting evergreen trees along south or west facing walls to absorb the hot sun.
  • Investing in solar panels may help wean off more expensive energy methods.
  • Switching out old appliances for energy-efficient ones can make a sizeable dent in your utility usage.
  • AC units consume a lot of energy. Adding ceiling or stand-alone fans, or a window along a north wall, may help keep your house cooler.

Check detectors and fire extinguishers

Twice a year, check the gear. You never know when an emergency will spring up, so ensure your warning measures and safety equipment are in working form.

  • Spring is a great time to check batteries and test alarms, such as smoke, fire, water or carbon monoxide detectors, to make sure they can sound off.
  • Are detectors in the right spot? They should be heard from the primary areas of your home, and above a certain noise level, such as over TVs or stereos.
  • What about your house alarm? Check that all points are connected and working, and review if doors or windows need to be added to the system.
  • Check up on your fire extinguishers or have them serviced. It's a good idea to have at least one on each level of your home, including by the kitchen and in the garage.

Check equipment and start up your yard

Is your rake rusty? Does your lawn need some help to bring it into the green spectrum? A well-cared for yard can add curb appeal to increase the value and enjoyment of your home. So after your yard clean-up is done, a little prep can go a long way.

  • Give your yard equipment a once-over. Replace rusty or cracked items, such as rakes, shovels or hoses, and ensure your lawn mower and trimmer are functioning properly.
  • Check with your garden centre professional or yard-care specialist about the right time to fertilize or add compost to trees, beds and grass.
  • See dead patches in your lawn? Try sprinkling lawn seed before a rain.
  • Prepare and re-edge beds, add soil or mulch, periodically water perennials, and keep on top of early weeds.

Please note that the above tips are considered best home-maintenance practices; however, details and results may vary.

Spring into action, to protect your home and save some cash.

Taking care of your home, inside and out, helps to protect its value and safety. Getting your spring to-do's done can also help prevent storm damage and budget surprises. Plus, improving the energy efficiency of your home can take a bite out of bills — be sure to take advantage of municipal, provincial or federal rebates.

Need extra funds for major maintenance or home upgrades? Who doesn't. Talk to an expert True North Mortgage broker about refinancing your mortgage, or adding a HELOC (Home Equity Line of Credit) for a lower-interest way to get the spring job done.

Or, maybe your mortgage needs a checkup? If your renewal is coming up, or you're worried about rising mortgage rates, contact us now to reassess your mortgage needs — no matter your lender, it's quick, easy and free.

Give us a shout, we're happy to help you save thousands, anywhere you are in Canada — online, over the phone or at one of our convenient store locations.

Save thousands on the upgrade-funds you need.