Now that winter has all but left us and Spring is just around the corner we thought we would give you some tips on easy maintenance around the house that will keep your home at its best and save you some money and real headaches down the line.
Firstly, as the snow starts to melt away, it is important that you check your sump pump is operating properly. Test it by slowly moving the float until the pump kicks in. Look for leaks at connections and tighten as necessary. Make sure that the float travels freely and that there are no obstructions that could catch the float, and cause the pump not to operate. These pumps tend to move about a little as they cycle on and off, so if you are concerned the float could catch on a hose or cable, it is a good idea to secure the pump to the wall of the sump pit with straps to stop it moving. Many basements have flooded due to a float getting stuck and a perfectly good pump failing to start up.
2 ) Once the snow has melted from the roof, it is important to do a visual inspection to see if the winter has caused any damage . Check for loose or damaged shingles and flashing, which can quickly turn in to a leak with the spring rains and summer storms. This can often be accomplished from the safety of the ground with a pair of binoculars or even the zoom feature on your digital camera or phone. If you see some damage it will give you time to complete a repair now before the rain comes or call in the professionals to do the job.
3 ) Clean out those HRV filters. Your HRV system works hard throughout the fall and winter bringing in fresh air and removing the stale air from your home. There are normally three or four washable filters that need to be taken out and cleaned regularly to keep this unit working at it's peak. Not cleaning these filters out at least spring and fall will lead to condensation and moisture build up throughout the home which can ruin your windows and doors. If you noticed a lot of condensation on your windows this winter, the HRV filters could be the problem. Cleaning details are always in your owners manual or go on line and look up the make of your unit.
4 ) Chances are your clothes dryer has been working overtime all winter and now is a great time to give the vent a good clean out. I know most people are pretty diligent about cleaning out the lint trap on their dryers but the trap doesnt catch all the lint. Take apart your solid vents and give them a good clean out or if you use flexible venting take it off the dryer and away from the wall and clean it out. A good shop vac will do the job or for the $10 bucks or so just replace it. Dont forget to clean out the hard vent pipe that goes out through the wall. This simple process will reduce the risk of fire as well as reduce the drying time and electricity used everytime you do laundry. If your clothes seem to take longer to dry than when the machine was new, lint is often the cause.
5 ) This is a good time of year to check the caulking around the windows and doors. After a hard winter caulking can crack and come loose and lose its seal, it wont take long for a heavy rain storm to penetrate where the caulking is damaged. Carefully remove any old damaged caulking completely, re-aply with outdoor caulking from any hardware store. This is a quick $5 maintenance that should be done spring and fall to save you thousands in repair costs down the line from water penetration.
6 ) After a snow filled winter we all know the effect that the salt used on our roads has on our cars. Well that same salt drips off the car and on to the garage floor every night and can cause real expensive damage. Now is a good time to use a good firm yard brush to get all that salt and grit off the cement before it has time to pit and deteriorate the garage floor. Using an oil based sweeping compund available at most hardware stores will really help to keep the dust down as you go. Once things warm up a little more give it a good rinse with the garden hose to remove any residue left behind.
7 ) As we hope not to use the snow blower again this year its a good time to take a look at the summer yard tools. Change the oil in lawn mowers and tillers, check the nuts and bolts are all tight, charge the batteries and add clean gas. Lubricate any moving parts and give your equipment a good clean. Checking that everything is working fine now can save you a lot of headaches later if things arent working quite the way they should. You'll have the time to make repairs or shop for sales should it be necessary to replace anything. Better to find out now than when you need them.