Ontario - Doing a few
chores around the house this month can save homeowners major expense in the
spring, according to Rick Felton, President of Home service Club of Canada.
"By doing a little preventative maintenance now, you can prevent minor
problems from escalating into a major headache in the spring," Felton said.
"Minor repairs done now can prevent air and moisture penetration from
attacking the structural integrity of your home down the road," he added.
Cleaning the eaves troughs in the fall, for example, can prevent ice damming
in the winter, where moisture is forced up under the roof's shingles during
winter's freeze-thaw cycles. "Our roofing contractors are always busy in the
spring, fixing damage and leaks that have occurred because of ice damming,"
Here are some home maintenance jobs that should be on a homeowner's
" Clean eaves troughs after the last leaves have fallen. Run a garden hose
and check that they are draining properly and that downspouts are operating
and directed away from the home's foundation walls. Check for leaking or
damaged gutters, downspouts and hangers. Remove rust and patch the gutters
with roofing cement. Caulk leaking seams and make sure pop rivets are
" Check the roof for trouble signs such as broken or missing shingles,
cracked, buckling or curling shingles, or bare spots where the granular
coating has worn off. Check flashing around vents, skylights and chimneys.
Look for pieces that have peeled back and for cracked caulking that could
allow moisture penetration.
" Have the chimney cleaned and check the exterior structure for worn
flashing, loose bricks or crumbling mortar.
" Have your furnace cleaned, inspected and safety checked. Depending on the
system, you will need to have the furnace vacuumed, the filter changed and
the pilot checked.
" Check for blockage of attic louvers by wasp's nests and put sheet metal,
wire screen or wood over any openings, including under the eaves, to prevent
animals from nesting.
" Remove and store your window air conditioner. Make sure to clean the coils
and filters and cover loosely for the winter. If you are leaving the air
conditioner in the window, put a weatherproof cover over it to protect it
during the winter.
" Clean your lawnmower and other garden tools before storing. Give all the
metal parts of your tools a wipe with an oiled rag to prevent rusting. Drain
the fuel from gas-powered machines and run the engine until the lines are
clear. Drain the oil and replace it. Clean caked-on grass and debris.
" Check doors and windows for proper caulking and weather-stripping. Do the
draft test: hold a lit candle and run it along the seams of doors and
windows. A flickering flame means your heating dollars are going out the
window. Check the bottoms of doors for a snug threshold seal or door sweep.
" Make sure your fireplace is in safe working order. Check that the damper
opens and closes smoothly and fits properly to prevent heat loss. Check
inside the fireplace to make sure no bricks are loose or broken. If your
fireplace is smoking excessively, check the chimney for fallen bricks.
Installing a chimney cap can cure a smoking fireplace by improving the
" Drain exterior water lines, hose bibs, sprinklers, and pool equipment
before the first major freeze. Caulk around pipes where they enter the
" Clean your barbecue and store it in a protected place for the winter.
Never store propane tanks indoors.
" Clean patio furniture and store, loosely covered, in a dry place.
" Wash windows to let in the maximum heat and light during cold winter days.
Doing your fall chores can make your life easier come spring, when you would
rather be fishing than fixing winter damage. For more home maintenance tips,
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