Ottawa Spring Maintenance

The warmer weather is finally upon us after a marathon winter. This past winter had many ups and downs in more ways than one. The temperature swings, usually right after fresh snow caused excessive ice build up around the exterior of our homes, for building materials to expand and contract more often and for caulking and other sealants to crack or separate. It is time for Spring Maintenance and ensure that the outside of our homes is in good order and that we are as prepared as possible for the heat of summer and next winter.

Take a couple of minutes and inspect the outside of your home for any damage that may have occurred, especially in places that may not always be easy to see, such as behind gardens or shrubs. Take a step back, maybe across the road or the end of the driveway and try to see the “whole picture”. Try this from all sides of the home to the best of your ability. Then from the ground (if you have them maybe with binoculars) inspect the roof, the condition of the shingles, the vents and any obvious debris or damage.

Then slowly move your way down each side of the building like you were reading a page, top to bottom and left to right. Take a look at things like windows, caulking, the condition of the building’s exterior veneer ( siding, brick, stucco or wood) and see if anything sticks out. In my case I found some stucco which had some damage and that a woodpecker apparently liked my cedar siding out back…..When you get to the foundation level take a look at the parging, especially around sources of water and salt. Also take a look at the ground around the foundation for any sinking or shifting of any items (deck or AC Units) next to or attached to the structure.

Anything that seems out of the ordinary probably is. By inspecting now you have the best visibility and most time to do repairs during the warmer months, either yourself if you’re handy or by hiring a contractor to further evaluate and/or repair.

Turn on the outside taps (or hose bib) with caution. Sometimes the interior portion of the supply plumbing line close to the tap can crack if it was improperly shut off in the fall. I highly recommend a quick trip to the basement as you turn each one on to verify to the best of your ability that there aren’t any leaks.

Uncover and clean your AC unit and schedule maintenance before you use it every season. This will prolong the life expectancy of the unit and in the long run save you money. Better to find out there is an issue now than when it is 35 degrees Celsius.

Along the same lines, why not ensure that your furnace is in good order as well. By scheduling the maintenance of both furnace and AC at the same time, usually with the same company, in the spring between “seasons” you might just get a discount. Be sure to change the filter, ready for the air conditioning season.

If you are physically able and have the required equipment (a ladder that is tall enough and a second pair of hands) clean out the eavestroughing and downspouts of all those last minute leaves and debris from last fall. Consider cleaning the tracks and exterior mechanisms on windows and doors for a smoother operation, lubricating if appropriate (see manufacturers specifications if available).

Your home, like mine, is probably your biggest asset. By staying on top of yearly maintenance we can prevent potential problems before they occur. Please remember Safety should always come first and please know your physical limits, when in doubt hire a professional.
Ps. I am so glad winter is over!