It may not feel like it weather-wise, but spring is here. You’ve cleaned out your closets, right? But have you thought about your eavestroughs, water heater or your car’s cooling system? Regular maintenance on your home and car can save you money and potential problems down the road. Spring is a great time to do this and our tips will help you get started. Be sure to consult a professional if you don’t have the proper tools or sufficient knowledge to do the maintenance yourself.
Inside your home
- Replace or clean the furnace filter. A dirty filter can lower the efficiency of the heating/cooling system, increasing costs and the risk of fire.
- To help prevent a kitchen fire, clean the cooking grease from your range hood and air filter.
- Inspect the electrical system and outlets. Look for burn marks on the main electrical panel, and trip and reset circuit breakers regularly.
- Get ready for summer by servicing your air conditioning system and dehumidifier. Use a qualified contractor or consult the owner’s manual for proper cleaning instructions.
- When it’s warm enough outside, have your fireplace or woodstove and chimney serviced by a certified chimney sweep. Turn off the pilot in gas fireplaces.
- Check smoke, carbon monoxide and security alarms and replace batteries.
- Inspect your water heater for rust and leaks. If you have a gas heater, prevent carbon monoxide and other combustibles from building up in your home, by ensuring it’s venting properly. Light a match next to the air vent and wave it out (don’t blow it out). If the smoke doesn’t pull up into the vent, have a professional inspect it.
Outside your home
- Inspect brickwork, siding and stucco for chipping or cracking. If there’s water penetration, seal with an appropriate sealant.
- Clean gutters and downspouts and make sure they are still directing water away from the house.
- Check for damage to the roof. This includes missing, curling or cracked shingles. Water pooling on a flat roof may indicate low areas and inadequate drainage. From inside, look for signs of moisture or surface discoloration.
- If you have a sump pump, test it to make sure it’s operating correctly. If you don’t have one, spending a few hundred dollars on one could save you thousands in water damage, especially if your basement is finished. Consider a battery back-up pump, which will kick in if the electricity goes out.
For your car
- Test and replace any old or weak battery, especially if it’s more than three years old.
- Cold weather can reduce tire pressure, so ensure all tires (including the spare) are inflated to their recommended pressure. (This information can be found on the sticker inside the driver’s-side door). Ensure tires are properly aligned and balanced, and inspect them for tread wear and other damage. If you’ve been driving on winter tires, change them once you’re sure the snow is done.
- Inspect and replace worn or cracked belts and blistered, brittle or soft hoses. Even if they look fine, belts and hoses older than five years usually need to be replaced.
- Flush and refill the radiator according to the regular service schedule. Periodically check the coolant’s levels, conditions and concentration. (Before removing the radiator cap, let the engine cool.)
- Have the brakes checked. Proper brake inspection includes brake fluid, lines, hoses, linings and pads, and the parking brake.
Protecting your home and car also means having the proper insurance. To find insurance that’s right for you – and your budget – talk to your local BrokerLink broker about bundling your home and auto insurance.