Home Maintenance 101

home maintenancePreserving your property and keeping it spiffy is not only for when your mom comes over. It is expected, as part of your mortgage commitment. As stated in Vow #4, maintain your real estate, and keep it marketable. Hopefully this is one of those obligations that you find yourself doing anyway, but in case your mom never comes over, here’s a handy checklist to keep things up on a seasonable basis.

SPRING (This refers more to the weather conditions, then the actual date on the calendar! Please don’t hesitate, especially if you live in Saskatchewan, to wait until it is actually
“springish” outside, before springing from your chair to get on with ‘spring’ home maintenance!)

  • ROOF: The winter is punishing for your home’s frontline of defense.   Check shingles that may have come loose or broken in the icy winter conditions, Saving yourself from a roof leak, and puddles inside your house, is always worth the effort of getting your ladder out!
  • GUTTERS: Since your ladder is out anyway, check out all your gutters. Winter winds may have deposited twigs and leaves that will clog your gutters when the spring rain comes. If water is not properly funneled away from the foundation of your house, you could end up with water in the basement. As we know, water inside your house from any angle, is very destructive.
  • LANDSCAPING: Grab your pruning sheers and a garbage bag, and hopefully the sun is warming your back, as you remove any dead annuals, prune back perennials to the mulch line, and pull weed seedlings while the ground is still soft. The winter months often leave your soil unbalanced, so your plant beds will benefit from an application of fertilizer. This effort now, will really free up your time for you to have fun in summer!
  • AIR CONDITIONING: Depending on your home, and where you live, you may have a window unit, central air, or another alternative. Getting a service professional can save a headache, and profuse sweating in the middle of the summer; and usually runs at about $100. Even if you just take out your user guide, and follow the recommended regular maintenance, will result in cool and restful nights.
  • WINDOW SCREENS: All it takes is one hole for a pesky multi-legged creature to share your residence with you and your shrieking daughter! A quick fix with duct tape will last you awhile, but a more permanent fix will keep that place of yours a whole lot more marketable in the future!

Spring maintenance is just that. Remembering what it feels like to be outside without a toque on, while inspecting the exterior of your home, so it’s worthy of holding you and your summer plans up, without interruptions.

SUMMER: Depending on your green thumb, and the extent of your landscaping, keep things neat, stay on top of the little weeds before they take over, and keep the lawn mowed. If it doesn’t rain for awhile, it’s a good idea to bring out the sprinkler, or turn on your underground system. Check to see that all parts of your growing property are getting sufficient water, if you have a sprinkler system.

***Rainy Day Tasks***

  • TILE GROUT and SILICON: Summer always has its cloudy rainy days; and this would be a great time to look for any touch ups needed in the kitchen and bathrooms. You will prolong the life of your tiles, and things will simply look better, and be more sanitary in these rooms that are used so regularly!
  • PLUMBING: Since you’re in the kitchen and bathroom anyway, check out the toilets and faucets for small leaks. The aerator on the faucet can affect your water pressure, and is a surprisingly easy fix. Google it, and enjoy a healthy stream of water again.
  • INSECTS: Like the weeds, staying on top of these guys while there’s just a little problem, will prevent them from taking over your house. Remedy the problem as suitable to the type of critter. Finding the ‘root’ of the problem, how they’re getting into your house in the first place, is a good place to start. If your problem is termites, you will likely need to seek professional assistance.

***Warm Summer Day Projects***

  • DECKS and FENCES: Before any repairs are made, a good washing is always a good idea. Keeping stain or paint fresh, will protect all the lumber, and save you from having to make major replacements. Be sure the post, and boards are all sturdy and not abrasive.
  • WINDOW WELLS: Grab a garbage bag, and think of it as a treasure hunt. You never know what the wind has blown into your window wells, or if a creature thought it would make a cozy little sheltered home!
  • DRYER and EXHAUST VENTS: Run outside when the dryer’s on, and make sure there is exhaust coming out of the vent. If you can’t even smell your fresh laundry, check for blockages to the best of your ability. You may need to seek professional help. It’s always a good idea to keep the area around and behind your washer and dryer clean of lint, so that there’s plenty of airflow.

FALL: Just when winter will come, is always a mystery. Whether or not it’s coming, and how it takes a toll on your property, is always a guarantee. This type of maintenance needs to be done sooner then later, to make sure you get a chance to get it done, before everything is frozen for months!

  • HOT WATER HEATER: To keep your heater efficient, so you can enjoy that nice hot shower on a blustery cold day is always smart. Flush your heater, and remove the sentiment from the bottom, so the hot water keeps on coming, when you need it!
  • AIR CONDITIONING: If you have a window unit, now’s the time to take it out. Cover up your central air unit with a tarp, or other protective outdoor material, and secure with bungee cords, so it doesn’t go sailing away on a howling winter night.
  • HEATING SYSTEM: Inspecting all windows and doors for leaks can save a nice chunk of change throughout the winter. It’s a wise idea to have your furnace serviced or inspected annually, or at least every other year. Make sure vents are open, clean, and not blocked in anyway. If you have a fireplace, follow the safety recommendations, so all is merry and bright!
  • OUTDOOR FAUCETS: Turn off the water from inside for the outside faucets, and have them blown out, to prevent any lines from cracking. While your at it, flush out your water hoses, and store them in a place where they won’t be tripped on in the snow.
  • SUMP PUMP: It’s good to have peace of mind in spring, when the runoff is melting, that your basement will surely stay dry.
  • DRIVEWAY CRACKS: Sealing cracks will keep them from expanding when the water freezes and expands.
  • WINTER GEAR: As previously mentioned, winter comes when winter wants to come. Being prepared and waiting for it, is better then trudging around in the white stuff, looking for your shovel. And if you’re mom is on her way over, the last thing you want her to do, is slip on your sidewalk, so have some salt ready to keep all walkways safe!

WINTER: Everyone spends a little more time indoors during this season, so use this extra time to check things over that you may have overlooked. Always keep an eye on the exterior. Preventing problems is usually less costly, then having to fix them under pressure!

  • ICICLES and ICE DAMS: They may look pretty, and your kids might love them, but icicles are dangerous in all sorts of ways. They could fall on someone, or onto your property, causing damage. They can be the cause of unwanted water by your foundation, come spring, as well.
  • ELECTRICITY: There are a few things you can safely do to be sure your electricity is working soundly. This must always done with caution, though. Don’t pretend to be qualified for anything other then a routine check up, unless you have some kind of experience! Check that all outlets are working, and test your GFCI outlets. It is debatable how often these should be tested, so decide what’s best for you.
  • TIGHTEN UP: Take a walk through your house with a screw driver, and tighten up those loose doorknobs, deadbolts, doors, and windows. Keeping moving parts tight, keeps them working well, and not rubbing, which causes them to wear out sooner then necessary.
  • SHOWER HEADS: Remove shower heads, and clean out the sediment. You’ll have more water pressure, and the shower head will last longer.
  • BASEMENT: The notoriously overlooked underworld! Especially if this is primarily your storage area. Reorganize, clean, sort, and look out for mould and water.

Owning your own property is so rewarding, and keeping it in good marketable condition, is simply protecting your investing for the future. Take pride in your place, and your mom will certainly be proud of you. Hopefully you’ll feel good about it, too!! Water is a home’s greatest enemy, so keep on top of any kind of leak. You will sleep soundly, knowing your shower streamed plenty of water, was as hot as you wanted, the air is comfortable for the season, and drafts and creatures are kept at bay, outside, where they belong.


Questions about your home maintenance? Give Elise a call, and she will happily direct you to one of her trusted business partners.

Questions about your mortgage options? Call Elise!

Blogged by Elise Hildebrandt, AMP Mortgage Associate Broker Lic #316103 at The Mortgage Centre Brokerage Lic #31547, Saskatoon Elise has been in the financial industry for 16 years.

Contact her at: elise@mortgagecentre.com or www.elisehildebrandt.ca



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