Home Maintenance Schedule

Home Maintenance Schedule Regular Maintenance is the Key Inspecting your home on a regular basis and following good maintenance practices are the best way to protect your investment in your home. Whether you take care of a few tasks at a time or several all at once, it is important to get into the habit of doing them. Establish a routine for yourself, and you will find the work is easy to accomplish and not very time-consuming. A regular schedule of seasonal maintenance can put a stop to the most common — and costly — problems, before they occur. If necessary, use a camera to take pictures of anything you might want to share with an expert for advice or to monitor or remind you of a situation later. By following the information noted here, you will learn about protecting your investment and how to help keep your home a safe and healthy place to live. If you do not feel comfortable performing some of the home maintenance tasks listed below, or do not have the necessary equipment, for example a ladder, you may want to consider hiring a qualified handyperson to help you. Seasonal Home Maintenance Most home maintenance activities are seasonal. Fall is the time to get your home ready for the coming winter, which can be the most gruelling season for your home. During winter months, it is important to follow routine maintenance procedures, by checking your home carefully for any problems that may arise and taking corrective action as soon as possible. Spring is the time to assess winter damage, start repairs and prepare for warmer months. Over the summer, there are a number of indoor and outdoor maintenance tasks to look after, such as repairing walkways and steps, painting and checking your chimney and roof. While most maintenance is seasonal, there are some things you should do on a frequent basis year-round: Make sure air vents indoors and outdoors (intake, exhaust and forced air) are not blocked by snow or debris. Check and clean range hood filters on a monthly basis. Test ground fault circuit interrupter(s) on electrical outlets monthly by pushing the test button, which should then cause the reset button to pop up. If there are young children in the house, make sure electrical outlets are equipped with safety plugs. Regularly check the house for safety hazards, such as a loose handrail, lifting or buckling flooring, inoperative smoke detectors, and so on. Timing of the seasons varies not only from one area of Canada to another but also from year to year in a given area. For this reason, we have not identified the months for each season. The maintenance schedule presented...

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Avoid Basement Flooding Windsor Real Estate

Avoiding Basement Flooding Basement flooding is unfortunately a common occurrence in many parts of Canada. But the good news is that many types of basement flooding may be avoided. This publication explains some of the practical steps you can take to avoid basement flooding. How Serious Is Basement Flooding? Basement flooding is now being recognized as a potentially serious problem. There are many negative consequences associated with basement flooding, above and beyond the inconvenient mess and disruption of household routine. Research cites the following impacts: Chronically wet houses are linked to an increase in respiratory problems. Frequent occurrences of basement flooding can result in long-term damage to the building and equipment that may not be covered by insurance. Insurance rates may rise to compensate for repeated basement flooding claims, and/or the minimum deductible may be increased significantly. Property value may depreciate because the basement is prone to frequent flooding. Before appropriate measures can be taken, it is important to identify the causes of basement flooding. These range from problems originating in the individual dwelling to problems associated with the municipal sewer systems that serve entire communities. Why Do Basements Flood? Water can enter your basement for a number of reasons. Water in your basement is most likely to occur during periods of heavy rainfall, or when snow is melting rapidly during a spring thaw. In these cases, your basement can be wet because of: a leak or crack in your home’s basement walls; poor lot drainage; failure of the weeping tiles (foundation drains); and overflowing eavestroughs or leaking/plugged downspouts. Basement flooding may also occur because of: a blocked connection between your home and the main sewer in the street; a back-up of wastewater in the sewer system (or a combination of wastewater and rainwater from the sanitary or combined sewer system); and failure of a sump pump (in some areas) used to pump weeping tile water. Basements are also vulnerable to natural river flooding disasters, but these cannot be addressed by individual homeowners. Flooding Basics Municipalities attempt to prevent flooding by maintaining the public sewer system. Homeowners with private sewage systems (septic tank and field bed) can appreciate the need for regular maintenance, but unforeseen or accidental problems can occur in any type of system. Here is some municipal infrastructure terminology you should know: Sanitary Sewer A sanitary sewer is a pipe buried beneath the street that is designed to transport wastewater from your home. This consists of water from sanitary fixtures (toilets, sinks, etc.) and floor drains inside your house, and in some areas includes groundwater from weeping tiles around the foundation of your home. Storm Sewer A storm sewer is a pipe buried beneath the street that...

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Painting: Walls, Ceilings and Floors Windsor Real Estate

Painting: Walls, Ceilings and Floors Painting is not the chore it used to be. A professional look is now easier to achieve. Whatever your project, talk to the paint experts where you purchase your paint. They are a valuable resource. If you are having a hard time visualizing the colour, inexpensive computer software programs can allow you to try out different colours. Or, there may be a decorating service where you buy your paint. Selecting paints There are two main types of paint depending on the thinners and binders used; water-based (or latex) and oil-based (or alkyd). Water-based paints use water as a thinner. They are often called latex paints even though they don’t use real latex, since rubber is not used as a binder any more. Today synthetic latexes are used, most commonly acrylic or polyvinyl acetate. Paints with a high acrylic content tend to have a tougher skin and can perform almost as well as oil-based paints. Latex paints can be easily cleaned up with soap and water. Oil-based paints use a solvent thinner. Despite the name, oil-based paints are usually not made with oil. Instead, most use polyester resins, called alkyds. Although alkyds may be more durable and achieve a higher gloss finish, they are usually a less healthy choice than latex. Alkyd paints require mineral spirits for cleaning up. Because paints are applied wet, and because they cover such a large area, paints can create a significant health problem during a renovation project. The problem is mainly caused by alkyd or solvent-based paints. They give off a number of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) as the solvent evaporates after painting. These VOCs can be a strong irritant and can add to air pollution. Once the paint has completely dried and formed a tough skin, the emission levels drop. However, some paints can emit odours at low levels for a long time. Exposure to VOCs varies from person to person. Effects include coughing, headaches, dizziness, or more serious conditions. It is especially important for respiratory sufferers, those with allergies, asthma, and households with young children or pregnant women to avoid paints with VOCs. Comparing the VOCs of one paint to another is not an easy task. Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) are helpful, but manufacturers don’t have to list components which make up one per cent or less of their product’s weight. This means that some toxic components may not show up on the MSDS. The only sure way to know what the paint contains is by asking the manufacturer to list trace compounds. There are some paints on the market that are solvent and VOC free. Look for the key words: Low VOC, or better yet....

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What to do about a wet attic Windsor Real Estate

Attic Venting, Attic Moisture and Ice Dams It is rare for Canadians to visit their attics. For many years building codes have required high levels of attic insulation, making attics less-than-hospitable places. People usually go into their attics for one of two reasons: animal intruders, such as bats or squirrels, or water leaking through the top floor ceiling. This guide deals with water entry, such as roof leaks, ice dams, and attic condensation. Consult your local pest control expert to rid the attic of creatures. What to Do If Water Comes Through Your Ceiling Find out where the leak is in your ceiling by measuring its location from the nearest outside walls. Then, go into the attic through the attic hatch. It is often hidden in the ceiling of a closet or in the wall of an attached garage. If it is in a closet, move the clothes out of the closet so loose insulation won’t stick to them. Take a good flashlight and a tape measure. When walking in the attic in older houses, step only on the wooden joists that cover the floor. The joists are usually spaced every 16 inches. They are often hidden under a pile of insulation. If you step off the joists, you will probably put your foot through the plaster or drywall ceiling below. Many houses, especially in warmer climates, have some type of floorboard over the joists. This makes walking easier but can make air sealing and insulating more complicated. Most houses built since the 1970s do not have attic rafters and joists, but trusses – usually at 24 inch centres – with the ceiling below attached to the lower chords. Walking in trussed attics is trickier than walking in older attics. If you find vermiculite insulation in your attic, do not disturb it. Loose-fill vermiculite insulation may contain small amounts of asbestos, and you should consult a professional if it is going to be disturbed. CMHC’s information piece Asbestos provides additional guidance. One further caution: if you find a significant amount of animal droppings from bats or birds, do not disturb them. They can grow molds that can cause several illnesses. To clean up droppings, you need good respiratory protection (masks) and clothing that can be bleached or discarded. Find the water leak. Use the tape measure to roughly locate where the water is dripping through the ceiling below. Lift the insulation in this area to find the pooling water. Sometimes the water runs along the attic floor for quite a distance before coming through the ceiling. Trace the water to its source. Look for leaks in the roof, especially around chimneys, plumbing vents, and attic vents – anything that...

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