Around The House
You love your home and the people in it, which is why annual maintenance and improvements are so important. There are things you can do, big and small, to help make your home more comfortable, efficient and safe.
HELP REDUCE THE RISK OF FIRE
Metal Dryer Ducts
Replace existing plastic or foil dryer ducts with metal ones. The ridges can collect lint and the flexibility of the foil and plastic ducts can cause sagging, leading to lint buildup. Metal vents are less likely to have a buildup of lint since the metal doesn't sag and the edges are smooth. Additionally, in the event of a fire a metal duct will help contain the flames. Always make sure the outside vent is clear of lint.
Wood Burning Units
Regularly remove ashes from your woodstove into a metal container with a lid. store the ash container outdoors on a cement or brick slab, not a wooden deck or steps. Professionally clean your unit annually to ensure the chimney is free of creosote build-up, the flue is clear and the stove itself is in good working order.
Cut Back On Clutter
Keeping your home free of accumulated clutter will reduce potential liability and fire. A crowded house will allow fire to spread quickly and will make it difficult and dangerous for emergency personnel to get to you in an emergency situation.
HELP REDUCE THE RISK OF WATER DAMAGE
Choosing The Right Appliance Hose
There are two options when it comes to appliance hoses, rubber (made with layers of rubber and cloth) and stainless steel braided hoses (made using flexible rubber and reinforced with a mesh of stainless steel wire). Choose stainless steel braided hoses. Rubber hoses can deteriorate over time, causing them to break or burst. Stainless steel hoses are up to ten times less likely to burst! Their design allows them to be installed in tight spaces without kinking, which is usually the cause of a burst hose. Consider this: A washing machine hose can produce up to 75 litres of water per minute, causing real damage to your property.
Prevent Water From Entering Your House
Eavestroughs direct rainwater and melting snow away from your home’s foundation and exterior walls. They can help you avoid costly repairs by preventing water and excess moisture from seeping into your house. To keep them functioning properly, make sure to always keep them clean of leaves and sludge. Keeping them clean will also prevent sitting water from accumulating and causing warping and bending. When landscaping your yard remember that the way it looks is just as important as the way it works. Ensuring your yard is properly landscaped, with grading that drains water away from your house will prevent water from entering or damaging your property. Remember – water will always choose the path of least resistance. During a heavy storm the ground can become saturated and the water will need somewhere to go. If your yard slopes away from your house you won't have to worry about excess water entering your home.
Avoid water damage by turning off the water at the main valve when leaving your home for extended periods of time. Drain the pipes to keep them from bursting by running the water and flushing the toilets after shutting off the water. Keep your furnace at a reasonable temperature and leave cupboards that are under sinks open to allow warm air to circulate around the pipes.
Polybutylene (also called "Poly S" or "PS") plumbing should be inspected and replaced if necessary. Check sump pumps annually to ensure they are operating well and consider replacing them every three years. Invest in a water alarm. This can be a complex centrally monitored alarm or a simple battery operated unit to alert you if there is a water problem.
GENERAL HOME MAINTENANCE TIPS
Annual servicing of your furnace can reduce dust particles and bacteria, help prevent unexpected and inconvenient breakdowns and ensure there are no carbon monoxide leaks. Regular maintenance can also ensure your equipment is running efficiently and will extend the lifespan of your furnace.
Oil tanks should be inspected annually to check for leaks and signs of rust or deterioration.
Storage tank water heaters are the most common way to heat water in most households. Most tanks hold between 30 to 60 gallons of water. Water is heated and stored; as the hot water is used it is replaced at the bottom with cold water. Water heaters will typically need replacing after 10 years. Tankless water heaters (sometimes called on-demand or instantaneous water heaters) are an alternative way to heat water and have many benefits. These units heat water on demand. When the hot water tap is turned on, it triggers the burner which then heats the cold water as it enters the heater. When the tap is shut off, the system shuts down. This unit is considerably more energy-efficient as it does not have to store and heat 40 gallons of water. It also eliminates the risk of water damage that can be caused during a water heater leak.
Check handrails for sturdiness at all stair locations and around porches and balconies. Keep lights on timers when you are away to give the appearance that someone is home and ask a neighbour to collect any mail that collects at your front door.
By Terry Markell
Content in this article is for information purposes only. We recommend always contacting a licensed professional for home maintenance needs.