Home Buying? Buyers' Resource Guide

SEASONAL HOME MAINTENANCE WINTER

Seasonal Home Maintenance

Most home maintenance activities are seasonal.  Winter 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.

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 here is, instead, a general guide for you to follow. The actual timing is left for you to decide, and you may want to further divide the list of items for each season into months.

 

Winter

Check and clean or replace furnace air filters each month during the heating season. Ventilation system, such as heat recovery ventilator, filters should be checked every two months.
After consulting your hot water tank owner’s manual, drain off a dishpan full of water from the clean-out valve at the bottom of your hot water tank to control sediment and maintain efficiency.
Clean humidifier two or three times during the winter season.
Vacuum bathroom fan grille.
Vacuum fire and smoke detectors, as dust or spider webs can prevent them from functioning.
Vacuum radiator grilles on back of refrigerators and freezers, and empty and clean drip trays.
Check pressure gauge on all fire extinguishers; recharge or replace if necessary.
Check fire escape routes, door and window locks and hardware, and lighting around outside of house; ensure family has good security habits.
Check the basement floor drain to ensure the trap contains water; refill with water if necessary.
Monitor your home for excessive moisture levels — for example, condensation on your windows, which can cause significant damage over time and pose serious health problems — and take corrective action if necessary. Refer to the About Your House fact sheet Measuring Humidity in Your Home.
Check all faucets for signs of dripping and change washers as needed. Faucets requiring frequent replacement of washers may be in need of repair.
If you have a plumbing fixture that is not used frequently, such as a laundry tub or spare bathroom sink, tub or shower stall, run some water briefly to keep water in the trap.
Clean drains in dishwasher, sinks, bathtubs and shower stalls.
Test plumbing shut-off valves to ensure they are working and to prevent them from seizing.
Examine windows and doors for ice accumulation or cold air leaks. If found, make a note to repair or replace in the spring.
Examine attic for frost accumulation. Check roof for ice dams or icicles. If there is excessive frost or staining of the underside of the roof, or ice dams on the roof surface, consult the About Your House fact sheet Attic Venting, Attic Moisture and Ice Dams for advice.
Keep snow clear of gas meters, gas appliance vents, exhaust vents and basement windows.
Monitor outdoor vents, gas meters and chimneys for ice and snow buildup. Consult with an appropriate contractor or your gas utility for information on how to safely deal with any ice problems you may discover.
Check electrical cords, plugs and outlets for all indoor and outdoor seasonal lights to ensure fire safety; if worn, or if plugs or cords feel warm to the touch, replace immediately.

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