Spring Home Maintenance - Indoor

 

Here’s what you can do to help you get the inside of your home ready for the Spring and Summer seasons!

 

General Spring house cleaning

Wash windows, dust/replace light bulbs, shampoo carpets, wash floors and kitchen cupboards, wipe down your walls, etc.

 

Declutter the house

Go through your kid’s toys and your unworn clothing and donate it to charity.

 

 Vacuum refrigerator coils

Pull the fridge out and vacuum the coils on the back of the fridge. Over time, the coils get dirty and your fridge requires more energy. You can save up to $100 a year by doing this and lower your energy consumption.

 

Clean the kitchen sink disposal

One of the easiest ways to clean the sink disposal is vinegar ice cubes. Put some vinegar in an ice tray and let it freeze, then run the ice cubes through the disposal. It freshens it, but as a bonus, the ice sharpens the blades.

 

Clean the range hood filter

Take the filter off the hood and let it sit for a few minutes in a mixture of hot water and a degreaser. Rinse and dry and put it back on the hood.

 

Use touch up paint on walls

Use touch up paint to correct any wall nicks and imperfections.

 

Inspect and possibly replace the fresh air intake filter and furnace filter

For smaller families without pets or allergies, you’ll likely be okay changing the filters every 2-3 months. If the filters are dirty, change it out, otherwise inspect it again next month.

 

Clean the bathroom exhaust fan

Remove and clean the vent cover with a mild soap and water solution. Wipe away any dirt or built up debris. Use a window or mild kitchen cleaner to remove mildew, dirt and debris from the fan blades. Replace the fan cover.

 

Check the caulking around your showers and bathtubs

If you need to replace the caulking, remove existing caulking with a sharp tool, putty knife, or utility knife. Clean the surface to remove all traces of caulk and mold using a soft sponge with white vinegar.  Thoroughly dry the area to prevent future mold outbreaks. Tape off the area that you are planning to caulk. Place the tape about 1/8" on either side of the seam. Load the caulk into the caulk gun, and apply steady pressure as you move along the tub seam. You want a pace that gets you an even, steady stream. Too slow and the of caulk piles up; too fast and the caulk stream is too thin or it breaks. Smooth the finished line of caulk with a dampened rag or paper towel or a wet finger. Your goal is to have a concave and even surface when complete. Trick: Use an ice cube instead---it worked wonders. Run it along the joint to smooth the surface and squeeze out the excess caulk. The caulk will not stick to the ice, and the ice will melt to the shape of the joint to become the perfect shaped tool.  Carefully remove the tape and fix any blemishes that are left behind.  Wait 24 hours for the caulk to cure before using the bathtub.

 

Clean bathroom showerheads

This prolongs its life and helps with water pressure as well. Fill a plastic bag with white vinegar. Attach the bag to the showerhead by slipping the top of it underneath the rubber band. Wait one hour, then remove the bag and turn on the water to flush. Polish with a soft cloth.

 

Check the smoke detectors & carbon monoxide detectors

Your detectors should have a “test” button. If the alarm sounds, you’re good to go. If not, replace batteries immediately and test again. If it still doesn’t sound, it’s possible there’s simply corrosion on the battery terminal, and it won’t detect new batteries.  Clean it and try again. If it still doesn’t work, you’ll likely need a new detector. All alarms, battery-operated or electrical, need to be replaced every 10 years.

 

Review your family’s fire escape plan and check your fire extinguisher

Have your fire extinguisher easily accessible, that the gauge shows adequate pressure, and that it has no visible signs of wear and tear. Your fire extinguisher may or may not have an expiry date on the bottle. Even if there's no expiration date, it won't last forever. Manufacturers say most extinguishers should work for 5 to 15 years. There are many professional companies within Edmonton and surrounding area to choose from to refill your fire extinguisher. Also, ensure that there is a fire escape plan in place, everyone knows what to do in case of fire, and as a family determine the meeting place if you need to quickly exit your home (ex. At the neighbor’s 2 doors down, across the street, etc)

 

Check the attic for signs of rodents, insects, mold, and water damage

Grab a flashlight and a ladder and open the attic access door. Being very careful where you step or crawl, examine the all your attic areas: rafters, sheathing, soffit, fascia, the edges of the attic, and the insulation itself, for visible signs of pest habitation or droppings from rodents like birds, squirrels, mice, and bats. Ensure to clean up any nests, droppings, and close up any open areas where rodents would enter the attic using wood, netting, or other materials. If needed contact a professional to do the clean up and repairs. Take a look around for signs of insects such as bees, wasps, and ants. Bee and wasp nest should be removed and some ants can cause damage to your wood structure. Using insecticides will help to keep insects under control but you may require professional treatment to eradicate an infestation. Lastly, have a look for water spots, stains, mould, and puddles, and pay attention to water marks on the underside of the sheathing or along rafters and in your insulation.  It’s a sign that water is entering and could be from an improper roof, a damaged roof around the chimney and roof vents, or damaged shingles and flashing. You’ll want to get up on the roof and have a look or contact a professional to investigate further. Uncorrected moisture problems will reduce the effectiveness of insulation and can lead to structural damage such as wood rot or split rafters.

 

 Inspect attic insulation and ventilation

If you notice a musty smell in your attic, you may not have enough ventilation. The soffit vents allow for air movement.  You’ll want to ensure that insulation is not stuffed into the edge cavities, but rather it’s back a little bit, behind a baffle of Styrofoam, so that the attic edges are not restricting the airflow from the soffit vents. You should see a little bit of daylight.  Ensure that you have fresh air coming in through the soffits and that the air is then going out properly through the venting on the roof top.  If the soffits are blocked by insulation that means the vapour barrier isn’t properly taped or the baffles of Styrofoam are not doing their job by holding back the insulation.  If your attic venting ends up getting covered by snow in the Winter, problems such as heat loss, ice damming, and even mould may occur. Also ensure that you have good coverage of insulation thought the attic as insulation can compress and may need to be upgraded to keep your house cool in the Summer and warm in the Winter.  If needed, consult a professional about your insulation. Most companies offer a free quote and there is a rebate currently being offered where you can get back up to $3,500 towards the installation of new insulation.  Be sure to ask your professional about further details.

 

Inspect the basement and windows

Get a flashlight and inspect your basement windows and their casings for any cracks in the glass, discoloration and rotting from water, and if you feel any drafts. Cracked glass will need to be replaced with new glass. If water is coming through a basement window, re-caulk the window frame and consider a window well. Check the grading around the window or if your windows are older you may need to have them completely replaced. Check your basement walls and foundation for any cracks in the cement, mold, water damage, and signs of rodents and insects. Minor cracks in cement could be fixed using a crack injection product available at your local hardware store. For larger crack issues, water damage, and rodent infestations consider contacting a professional.

 

Test your hot water tank pressure relief valve

The water temperature is very hot in your hot water tank. Be careful not to touch the water that is released and avoid getting burnt. To test the valve to ensure that it’s working properly, simply raise and lower the test lever several times so it lifts the brass stem that it’s fastened to. Hot water should rush out of the end of the drainpipe. If no water flows through the pipe or you get just a trickle, replace the valve.  However, if a leak results immediately after a test, simply operate the test lever several times to free lodged debris that may be preventing the valve from seating properly. The temperature and pressure relief valve opens to release pressure buildup in the water heater when the temperature or the pressure get dangerously high, preventing a possible explosion. If your pressure or heat is too high, turn down the temperature on the water-heater controller and/or turn down the water pressure. Checking the valve will prevent mineral and corrosion buildup and safeguards against leaks.  It’ll also help your heater run more efficiently.  Water-heater experts recommend testing every six months.

 

Water well inspection

If you’re on an acreage and have a water well, check the water softener level and add salt if needed.  You shouldn’t need to add salt every month, but better to check anyway, as it only takes about 5 seconds.

 

 Check your sump pump

Ideally, you’ll want to ensure your sump pump is in good working order before the melting season starts. Unfortunately, for homeowners who don’t perform an annual sump pump check, the first sign of trouble tends to be a flooded basement. The important thing to know is that your sump pump is responsible for removing underground water and pumping it back up and away from your home. To ensure your sump pump is operating properly, here are a few things you can check. Ensure your sump pump unit is plugged into a Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI). If a short occurs while the sump pump is submerged, the GFCI helps protect against accidental electrocution. Remove the sump pit cover and look for any obvious signs of debris or blockage. Using a bucket of water, slowly pour it into the basin and watch and listen for the sump pump to cycle on as the water level rises.  If your sump pump has a float that activates the pumping mechanism, examine the float carefully to ensure it is functional and doesn’t catch on the lid or against the basin. If you’ve manually lifted the float to test operation, make sure you lower it back down after only a few seconds of testing. A sump pump that is receiving power, but not activating might mean there is mud clogging the pump. Try removing debris from the pit and pour clean water through the sump pump to help clear out the build-up. The outlet pipe is located outside your house and is where excess water drains as the sump pump pumps it out. Check for any damage or blockage and ensure water can easily drain out and away from your home’s foundation. On average, sump pumps last approximately 10 years and with the upgraded backup functionality and monitoring features of newer sump pump models, replacing an older model may be a worthwhile investment.

 

 Check your water well

If you’re on an acreage and have a water well, check water softener and add salt if needed.  This is best to check it once a month. You shouldn’t need to add salt every month, but better to check anyway, as it only takes about 5 seconds.

 

Have a Spring/Summer maintenance tip that you do and it’s not on our list?  Email us your suggestion to leroy@leroywarden.com.

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