For years the warmer temperatures and melting snow have been synonymous with the changing seasons. As winter turns to spring, it also carries another popular tradition: spring cleaning.
But before you leap into enjoying springtime activities including hiking, bike riding, or even neighborhood cookouts, it's always important to take the time to inspect your home and complete any necessary maintenance.
Completing annual inspections and routine upkeep can help maintain the useful life of your home and it's resale value. Furthermore, it will help prevent smaller, inexpensive issues from becoming major out-of-pocket expenses. Lastly, it's important to address any potential safety issues that might be bubbling under the surfacing.
However, compiling a comprehensive list of features around your home that need annual due diligence can be tough, especially since every home is unique. For example, you wouldn’t expect to complete all the same spot checks for a traditional single family home as compared to a condominium.
If you are a homeowner, here are a few features you should be on the lookout for when completing your annual maintenance check and sprucing up your dream home in preparation for spring.
1. Check Your Roof and Gutters
Toronto has been known to experience serious arctic temperatures over the winter months. Excessive snow and ice build-up on the roof can lead to ice damming, which can cause damage to your roof, gutters, and insulation1. It can even cause paint to warp.
One of the best things you can do for your home is to inspect your roof annually as the snow begins to melt, checking for excessive deterioration or even water damage. Make sure there are no missing shingles, cracks or leaks.
If you do start to see that the integrity of your roof is in jeopardy, consider a full roof inspection and/or replacement. Many homeowners elect to install new metal roofs that can withstand some of the harsher winters, allowing for easier removal of snow.
While checking your roof, make sure to also inspect your gutters, ensuring they are clear of debris. Seal any apparent holes or leaks and also make sure to position your downspouts to face away from the home to help maintain proper drainage.
2. Repair and Reseal Siding, Windows, and Doors
Much like a knight has a suit of armor to protect himself against imminent danger, your siding, windows, and doors act like armor by protecting your home against the seasonal elements.
To make your home run more efficiently, it's always a good idea to complete a visual inspection of exterior features to make sure there are no cracks or leaks that can allow drafts or moisture into the home.
Be especially vigilant of larger exposed gaps or opening near the ground level. These areas can be conducive to rodents and other pests that like to sneak into the walls and ceilings during the winter.
While you're at it, if you have any exposed woodwork or decking, consider hitting it with a clear coating sealant that will repel moisture and help retain the integrity of your finish. Installing a quick clear coat can also create a moisture barrier to help prevent and repel mold and mildew from building up. You don’t want a green deck when it comes time to host the neighborhood barbecue.
3. Prune, Plant and Trim
Speaking of green, spring time is the perfect excuse to exercise your green thumb. In fact, real estate experts say that landscape can even help increase your home’s value by around 15-20%2.
Start by dethatching and fertilizing your lawn so that as temperatures continue to warm, you will get that fresh and healthy green lawn you have come to know and love. Also collect and dispose of any yard waste such as fallen tree branches, left-over leaves, and mildew ridden mulch. Trim down any hedges or shrubs.
Consider installing fresh mulch for a nice clean look or even planting fresh flowers around your walk and entryways, giving your home a vibrant splash of color.
1. Clean and Inspect Your Furnace
The outside of your home isn’t the only area that needs attention. Lets face it, everyone wants to stay inside, cozy and warm, when it's freezing outside. That said, as the season shifts it's a good idea to make sure your furnace and air conditioner are in proper working order and ready to handle temperature shifts.
Most service technicians recommend you order a tune-up for your HVAC system every year or two to make sure it is in tip-top shape. It will also help make your unit run more efficiently, preventing you from having to shell out a lot of money on a replacement system.
Don’t want to spend the money on a service call? At least take the time to replace your system’s air filter. Most traditional air-filters need to be changed every three months or so, but some newer units have filters that only need to be changed annually. When in doubt follow the recommended maintenance instructions provided by your system’s manufacturer.
2. Examine Your Basement
Spring certainly provides an opportunity to purge the basement of junk and clutter, but it's also a good time to make sure there are no observable maintenance issues with your foundation or lower level.
While some moisture can be common, depending on how your home was constructed, it's always a good idea to inspect your basement (especially around mechanical systems) for excessive staining, leaks, and even water damage. Evidence of water damage may be an indicator of cracks in your foundation as well as other drainage issues.
3. Alarms and Smoke Detectors
A common home maintenance task that often goes unnoticed is checking and replacing the batteries in your home’s smoke detectors and carbon monoxide alarms. Although less common, it is also a good idea to check any fire extinguishers you might have on-hand or installed throughout the home.
If you are extra concerned about safety, you may also want to consider having a radon inspection completed in areas where it is more prevalent. Radon is the number one cause of lung cancer in non-smokers3. Roughly 7% of buildings in Toronto have levels of radon that may pose a health risk3.
One way to help counteract higher levels of radon is by installing a radon mitigation system. Radon mitigation systems are quite common and can be fairly inexpensive to install.
1 Cusack, L. (2021, February 12). Tips to prevent leaks and ice damming on your roof this winter. Retrieved March 9, 2021, from https://ottawa.ctvnews.ca/tips-to-prevent-leaks-and-ice-damming-on-your-roof-this-winter-1.5306719
2 Murray, A. (2020, June 02). Landscaping tips to increase your home's value. Retrieved March 9, 2021, from https://ottawacitizen.com/life/homes/landscape-tips-to-increase-your-homes-value
3 City of Toronto. (2018, November 13). Radon & Your Health. Retrieved March 9, 2021, from