It’s spring time! Homeowners across the province are beginning their annual tradition of digging through their garages, sighing deeply at their basements, and getting a good spring cleaning going.
Cleaning out old junk is a good start, but that should only be the beginning of your home improvement endeavors this spring! These temperate weeks present the perfect chance to get your home set for a beautiful and hassle free summer! Follow these tips, and you’ll be ready for the months to come.
Inspect your home
Canadian winters can be rough on a property. While you’ve been hibernating inside safe and warm all winter, your lawn, roof, and siding have been out in the cold bearing the brunt of mother nature! So first thing’s first, take a good look around your home and yard and make sure everything is where it should be.
Pay extra attention to the weather stripping around your windows and doors and any exterior caulking. These soft materials are likely to have suffered the worst over the past season and should be replaced if they have any cracks or holes. Be sure to check any wood trim around your doors and windows as well. If it’s separated a little or if there are any gaps, be sure to tack or screw the trim back in place before any more water can get in.
Look at your roof and make sure it survived the winter completely intact. It’s not uncommon to be missing a shingle or two by the time winter is over, so be sure to replace any missing pieces. You’ll also want to inspect your gutters and eavestroughs. Bent or sagging gutters can mean spill over during the rainy season and create big problems if left unchecked, so repair or replace any parts that seem out of shape.
Prepping your yard
Getting your yard ready for the season is an important step in making your home look it’s best. First clean up any loose debris left over from the winter snow (dead leaves, twigs, moldy carrots and top hats left behind from deceased snowmen). Make sure there is nothing that might be a hazard to run over with a lawnmower.
The spring is a great time to fertilize your lawn and get rid of any weeds or pests. If you’re already noticing clover, crabgrass, or dandelions, now is the time to break out the herbicide and nip them in the bud before they have a chance to really take hold of your lawn. A little effort on a lazy spring weekend can make lawn care that much easier all summer long.
Trim any bushes or trees on your property. Trees that are left to grow wherever they please are potential safety hazards down the road when branches start to grow too close to your roof or over your driveway. Dead branches that break unexpectedly are a lot harder to deal with than trimming a few wayward branches each spring. Keep your flora nice and pruned so it won’t cause you any troubles next fall or winter.
Get your gear in order
Spring time means breaking out your mower, hoses, and gardening equipment. Before you settle in for the season, perform some preventative maintenance to make sure your tools last their longest.
Hopefully you remembered to drain the gasoline from your mower before the winter season (if not, remember that tip for next year!) so the first order of business is a fresh fill-up of gas. After that, you’ll want to check your oil. If your dip stick is covered in ink black oil or you can see any debris, it’s time to change it out and start fresh. Regularly changing your oil is one of the best things you can do to make your mower last year after year. After that, you may want to replace your air filter and spark plug if it’s been a few years to make sure everything is in the best shape possible. A quick sharpening of your mower’s blade will ensure a smooth, even cut through the season.
Make sure all your hoses and any extension cords have survived the winter unscathed. Even if you’ve packed them away in a shed, sub-zero temperatures can still result in deterioration and holes. Even manual tools such as rakes or spades might need a look depending on how they were stored.
Get the air conditioning working now
The spring is the best time to make sure your home HVAC is running at top efficiency. Inspect your unit for any kind of rust or damage that might have occurred over the previous winter. Be sure to change out your air filters for the season. Filters clogged up with dust and debris will prevent your system from cooling your home down when you really need it and inflate your electric bill – two things you definitely don’t want to deal with.
Clean your condenser coil and make sure there is no debris or foreign objects where they don’t belong. This can sound more intimidating that it really is, all you basically want to do is remove the side and top panels and get in there with a rag. This should just be a matter of loosening a few screws and lifting the case, you don’t need to disconnect any wires or mess with anything complicated (of course, it’s still a good idea to turn off the circuit breaker for your unit before you go poking around in it).
Check your wires and lines for any faults or holes and give it a spin! Hopefully you’ll get a nice cool flow of air and everything will be fine. If there is a problem though, you definitely want to know about it now before it gets hot. You don’t want to be trying to book a repairman during the first 30 degree weekend when everyone else finds out their central air is on the fritz!