A spring maintenance routine helps keep the space you and your family love operating at peak performance. It also helps you identify and carry out small repairs before they become big ones. Here are seven must-do jobs and three extra tips.
A little attention now ensures you’ll have cool air when you need it most. Start by removing debris from around the unit and vacuuming the fins with a soft brush so air flow is unimpeded, then clean the coils and check the condensation drain. Make sure you follow your unit’s start-up procedures. Your owner’s manual should tell you how to do all this; if not, check this site or hire a reputable professional: a tune-up runs around $100 to $200.
Sump pumps help protect basements against flooding during heavy rain. Testing the pump is easy: slowly pour a bucket of water into the pit to make sure the pump turns on and drains quickly. Keep the drainage point, often a ditch, clear of debris. A sump pump usually lasts ten years, so keep an eye on yours if it’s aging. More tips on sump pump maintenance here.
It’s easy to forget about your fireplace when warmer weather arrives, but a little TLC now means a trouble-free start-up when fall comes. Make sure the gas is turned off and then gently vacuum dust and debris from the control and burn areas as well as checking the fire logs for cracks or corrosion and replacing if necessary (hire a professional for this). Use window cleaner on the glass insert but avoid spraying the metal around the glass because the cleaner may damage it. You should also check the glass for cracks. Once a year, hire a licensed gas contractor to inspect the fireplace.
Eavestroughs & window wells
Clean-flowing eavestroughs are essential to keep water away from your soffit and foundation, where it can cause rot or seep into the basement. Clearing debris from window wells also helps protect your basement. More information on maintaining gutters and window wells here.
Don’t forget to check the grading around your foundation, including window wells, as part of your spring maintenance routine. The grading should slope about five degrees to prevent water from pooling and potentially getting into your foundation (five degrees means an eight-cm drop-off over a two-metre distance). Grading can settle around a new-built home and adding flowers, shrubs and grass can also impact the slope, which may need to be increased with fresh fill or topsoil. Check this Mike Holmes article for more information.
Once the temperature consistently hits seven to 12 Celsius, overseed your lawn to promote thick, healthy turf. Cut your lawn close, rake up the cuttings and put them on your compost pile, add a thin layer of lawn soil to the existing lawn, spread the grass seed and some starter fertilizer, then water it all a couple of times a day until the seed has germinated and reached about 3 cm. Adding white Dutch clover to your grass seed at a rate of 1:15 helps create a vigorous lawn that needs less maintenance and provides food for pollinators (and who doesn’t love finding a lucky four-leaf clover?).
Lawn mower tune-up
Gas lawn mowers can last for years with a little maintenance. Changing the oil, spark plug and air filter are the three annual must-dos and easy tasks for most homeowners. If you no longer have your owner’s manual, check for it online or read this how-to article. Remember to sharpen the blade as well, but disconnect the spark plug first to avoid accidentally starting the machine. A sharpening tool like the one at the right attaches to your drill and is about $12 at stores like Home Depot. Own an electric lawn mower? Check your owner’s manual for easy maintenance procedures.
More spring maintenance tips:
Test your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors monthly.
Check your deck for rot or loose components and fix them to keep everyone safe.
If you have a central vacuum system, your owner’s manual will tell you how to maintain it.