Spring Maintenance

Q: What home maintenance things should I be doing in the springtime?

Spring is the time to be working around the house, inside and outside. Here’s a checklist of
things that you should be working on to prepare for the year ahead.


  • Clean the gutters and check for any leaky or loose areas.
  • Check the siding for missing or peeling paint and repair. Also check siding for any damage that may have occurred over the winter.
  • Trim shrubs and trees away from the house to preserve the siding and roof.
  • Rake up any leaves from last fall. Pull up weeds and dead plants from last season.
  • Check your roof for any missing shingles that may have been lost during winter. Have a qualified roofer check the flashing around plumbing vents, skylights and chimneys and repair if necessary.
  • Remove any firewood stored near your home so that it is at least 18 inches off the ground and at least 2 feet from the house.
  • Check your outdoor faucets for freeze damage.
  • Have the air conditioning unit cleaned, inspected and tuned up for the hot days ahead.
  • Check your gas- and battery-powered lawn equipment to ensure that it’s ready for spring and summer use. Tune up the lawn mower and have the blades sharpened.
  • Examine the house’s foundation for any cracks and caulk or call a foundation specialist for more permanent repairs.
  • Pressure-wash your home to remove dirt, mold and stains from the siding, deck and patio.
  • Repair cracked sidewalks and driveways.
  • Inspect your deck and reseal if necessary. Also check for and fix any loose railings and decay.
  • Check and clean the dryer vent.


  • Check windows and doors for air and water leaks and fill or repair.
  • Check your cracks and gaps where insects or mice can get into your home, and fill these areas.
  • Check faucets and plumbing for leaks and repair or replace any leaky pipes or faucets.
  • Check tiles and grout for cracks and reseal any areas where cracking occurs.
  • Clean the windows and screens inside and out.
  • If you don’t have central air conditioning, then spring is the time to reinstall window AC units.
  • Vacuum your refrigerator coils so the fridge operates at top efficiency.
  • Replace batteries in smoke detectors.
  • Drain your water heater.

Sources: HGTV.com, BobVila.com, Kiplinger.com,www.usnews.com.
Be Advised

Move the Firewood Pile

Now that it’s spring, chances are you’re not using your fireplace as much, so it’s time to move the wood pile. To prevent wood-boring pests such as termites from invading your home and nearby structures, you’ll want to move the woodpile at least two feet from any structures and 18 inches off the ground. You can use concrete blocks, bricks or a firewood grate to keep firewood off the ground to encourage air flow and prevent moisture, which attracts insects.

Don’t store firewood near trees, either, as insects such as bark beetles can move from the woodpile to invade your trees and cause severe damage.

Article contributed by Garry Pigeon of Global Property Inspections


2014 BC Home & Garden Show

The BC Home & Garden Show will take place February 19 – 23 at BC Place Stadium in Vancouver.

Tell your friends! Purchase tickets online before January 13, 2014 and use the code NEWYEAR to obtain tickets at $7.50 (half the regular adult price).

Dates and Times for the show are:

Wednesday, February 19  4:00 – 9:00 PM
Thursday, February 20 Noon – 9:00 PM
Friday, February 21 Noon – 9 PM
Saturday, February 22 10:00 AM – 9:00 PM
Sunday, February 23 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM

Please drop by the CAHPI(BC) Booth and visit us to learn about Home and Property Inspections in BC. We look forward to seeing you there.


Start at the Top


As the weather gets colder, take a look at ways you can winter-proof your home – starting at the top and working your way down through your house. Draft proofing your home can reduce heat loss by 10%.

  • Insulating your attic is a great way to get a high rate of return on your investment if you have an older home. In fact, it can be the most cost-efficient way to cut home heating costs. Older homes that were built before energy efficiency standards had little or no insulation. As a result, large amounts of heat can be lost through walls, floors and – since heat rises – ceilings. When heat escapes through the roof, it causes snow on the roof to melt and freeze over. If there is an accumulation of ice on the roof, it can create excessive weight and leaks.
  • Another great way to winterize your home is to simply block obvious leaks around your house, both inside and out. Check for leaks and drafts by holding a lit incense stick to areas that are commonly drafty, such as windows, doors and electrical wall plugs on exterior walls. Weather stripping on your exterior doors should be checked and replaced if cracked or if you can see the light around the edge of the door. Install door sweeps to close off the space under the bottom of the door. Consider replacing your windows if they leak badly or install storm windows. Apply caulking to window trim to protect against water leaks and drafts. Install pre-cut foam gaskets that fit electrical outlets and light switches to reduce air infiltration. Close the damper on your fireplace when it is not in use.
  • Arrange for a yearly service of your furnace and hot water heater. Change your furnace filter regularly – a dirty furnace filter restricts air flow, reducing efficiency, which results in increased energy use.
  • Reverse the direction of your ceiling fans so that they turn clockwise. Although ceiling fans are generally associated with warm weather usage, a ceiling fan is in the reverse motion (winter mode) will push the warmer air trapped at the ceiling back down to the floor making your feet feel as warm as your neck.  Without a ceiling fan pushing the warm trapped air from the ceiling, the ceiling area of a room can be 15 degrees warmer than on the floor.
  • This is also a good time to clean your dryer vent. Clogged dryer vents area potential fire hazard.

Enjoy the winter in a draft proof home.

Canada’s first National Radon Action Month is taking place this November. Radon exposure is the leading cause of lung cancer for non-smokers and Canadians are urged to take action to protect their health and the health of their families.

“November is the time to purchase your radon detector kit, because the winter months are the best time to test your home. Your windows are now usually closed and detectors will record levels that show you your highest risk,” said Helene Barton, Executive Director of the Canadian Association of Home & Property Inspectors BC. “CAHPI(BC) is very pleased to participate in the Campaign Take Action on Radon”.

Health Canada is supporting the development of a national collaborative radon action campaign, to be promoted each November. Take Action on Radon (www.takeactiononradon.ca) is coordinated by the New Brunswick Lung Association, the Ontario Lung Association and Summerhill Impact.

“The Lung Association is very proud to launch Radon Action Month, in partnership with Summerhill Impact Group and with support from Health Canada,” said Barbara MacKinnon, President and CEO of the New Brunswick Lung Association. “The initiative enables us to partner with organizations across the country to share information about the health risks of radon and to motivate Canadians to take action to reduce their radon exposure. A key strength of our Association lies in our ability to translate science into usable information for Canadians, so that together we can prevent lung disease. This campaign builds on that strength and is all about enabling people with the information they need to protect their family’s health.

All Canadians are urged to test their home for radon using a long-term test kit available at many hardware stores; you cannot know the level of radon in your home unless you test. If the level of radon is over 200 becquerels per cubic meter (Bq/m³) there are simple steps you can take yourself to reduce the levels. Homeowners can visit Health Canada’s website for information on the steps they can take to reduce radon levels in their home, or you can hire a contractor to assist with remediation efforts. Contractors wanting to provide radon testing or mitigation services are advised to become a certified under the Canadian National Radon Proficiency Program (C-NRPP).

Ontario Lung Association President and CEO, George Habib, said that concerted action to reduce dangerous radon levels in homes and other buildings could prevent thousands of lung cancer deaths in Canada each year. “The Ontario Lung Association is proud to be a partner in this important public health campaign,” he said. “By taking action on radon we can prevent up to 16 percent of lung cancer deaths in Canada.”

“Our strength is in collaborating with organizations and businesses to find solutions that enable people improve their health,” said Heather Farquharson, Managing Director of Summerhill Impact. “Amongst the general public there is low awareness of Radon, its potential to harm, and what to do about it. We plan to change that.”

We need to raise the awareness of Canadians of the potential risk of radon gas in the home, and how to reduce that risk. It is an important issue which requires action which is why we have declared November Radon Action Month. As part of this effort, Health Canada has enlisted the help of a prominent, well-respected Canadian scientist to get the word out in both languages with an informative public service announcement. This PSA will be aired across the country on November 18th as part of Radon Action Month.

Information on Radon can be found on various websites including those of Health Canada, the Lung Association, and at www.takeactiononradon.ca.

Spring Maintenance Checklist


Spring has finally arrived in most areas of BC. After a harsh winter, the exterior of your home should be given some attention in your ‘spring cleaning’ list. The following checklist targets areas that could need maintenance. Getting these tasks done quickly will allow more time to enjoy the spring weather.


Gutters & Downspouts
Clean out any debris from the gutters and make sure they drain at least three to four feet away from the house. Check for loose or leaky gutters and reattach any that have pulled away from the house.

It is recommended that you hire a professional roofer to do repairs, but you can do a visual inspection of the roof from the ground (sometimes with the aid of binoculars) to see if any of the shingles were damaged or lost during the winter. Shingles that are cracked or loose should be replaced. A qualified roofer can check and repair flashing around skylights, vents or chimneys as well.

While you are looking at the roof, check the exterior of the chimney for any signs of repair needed. To reduce the risk of a chimney fire, have your chimney inspected and cleaned regularly.

Change furnace filters regularly. Remember that if you have an air conditioning unit that operates with your furnace, the furnace filters need to be changed during the summer months.

Humidifiers Attached to the Furnace
Turn off the humidifier and shut off the water as extra humidity is not needed during the summer months.

Air Conditioner
Air conditioner coils operate more efficiently when clean. An annual service call from a qualified heating and air conditioning service firm will keep the system working at peak performance by measuring the operating pressures, checking controls and cleaning the condenser coils.

Exterior Concrete
Small cracks are normal, but large horizontal cracks or cracks that are wider at the bottom than at the top are signs that your foundation might need to be repaired. Check concrete stairs and walkways for signs of damage, and check for cracks in driveways and sidewalks. Test the railings that are set in concrete steps to ensure that they are stable.

It is always a good idea to protect your wood deck by resealing the wood. Before you do this, be sure to check that there aren’t any loose or rotting boards. If any of the wood is soft & spongy, it is a sign of rot, and needs to be replaced.

Garden Hoses and Water Taps
Check all exterior water taps to ensure they are not leaking. Caulk any cracks between the taps and the exterior walls. Make sure that all garden hoses are not leaking.

Lawn Equipment
Clean and service your lawn mower, changing the oil and having the blades sharpened.

Enjoy the sunshine!


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