TIPS + TOOLS
May 7, 2018
In part two of our Mother’s Day-themed appearance on CTV News at Noon with Leanne Cusack, Amsted President Steve Barkhouse offers some ways to show Mom you care by helping her with spring cleaning and maintenance. The home décor inspirations he offered in part one may not be in your wheelhouse, but Mom is sure to appreciate your help with spring must-do chores around the house … while she relaxes, that is.
First, you’ll want our handy maintenance checklist. We provide one of these to every client when their project is complete. It allows them to secure their investment and we recommend laminating for continued use. The checklist contains all your annual maintenance items and is designated by season. In spring, for instance, you’ll want to assess winter damage, start repairs and prepare for warmer months.
With your checklist in hand, you’re ready to hit the stores and pick up the necessary items to complete this season’s work. Here are some ideas that will help tackle the list, with products from our friends at RONA.
On the patio: If it’s nice outside on Mother’s Day, the first thing we recommend doing is breaking out the patio furniture and giving it a good scrub so Mom can lounge while you work on the rest of the house. A simple bucket with soapy water might do the trick, but to take it one step further, and if you’ve got somewhere else for Mom to sit while it dries, for metal furniture, apply spray enamel and prevent further damage from sun, rain and humidity. Try RONA Enamel Spray Paint ($6.39), available in a variety of colours and fast drying. It’s an inexpensive option that breathes new life into the furniture while preserving it.
Get venting: After you’ve set Mom up to relax, head inside where it’s probably still stuffy from what seemed like the winter that wouldn’t end. A great first task is to get rid of some of that dust and debris that gathered during the winter by removing and cleaning all vent covers to ensure a nice clean air flow. While you’ve got them off, consider grille filters (a four-pack of 14-inch x 8-inch Baseboard Grille Filters is $17.81). They trap dust, pollens, pet hair, dander, dust mites and carpet fibres, making them a great option for this allergy-prone season! They also help keep your system clean and extend the life of the main HVAC filter.
Don’t forget: Cleaning your bathroom fan is equally important to make sure you are getting the maximum air quality and flow and reducing humidity and cold/warm air back drafts. If you find your fan needs replacing, consider the Broan Invent Series Bathroom Fan ($66.99). It has a few different faces to choose from, is easy to install (no attic access required), reduces air leakage by up to 50% and improves home performance and building airtightness.
On the walls: Next up is something that tends to get overlooked — cleaning walls and ceilings. And it’s certainly not going to be a favourite chore of Mom’s! While you can break out the ladder and use a simple bucket of soapy water, if you’ve got older kids, you can set them up with one of these great extendable options and let them do it safely from the ground. Use an extendable duster first, like the Swiffer ($12.99), to clear all dust and cobwebs. Then wash the walls with an extendable microfibre floor mop (try the Vileda for $23.99).
What about maintenance?
Now that you’ve got some of the spring cleaning tasks out of the way, let’s move on to some of the maintenance items we’ve got on the checklist that you can tackle for Mom.
Filter it: With the furnace taking a backseat and the air conditioner taking over, the changing seasons is a good reminder to change out your AC filter to ensure the air is clean as it pumps into your home. Your air conditioner may have a specific filter for its particular brand, but many everyday units use a black polyurethane filter, like the RCR air conditioning filter ($5.49). Remember, without a properly functioning AC filter, you run the risk of leaks and other damage. Keeping a clean filter also ensures safety and efficiency.
Window works: Now that you’ll be opening up the windows to let the fresh spring air in, make sure to check all window screens for any damage. Don’t worry, a hole in the screen doesn’t necessarily mean you have to replace it! Many holes can be fixed with a screen repair kit, like the RCR ($18.29). Fixing any holes now will help avoid letting the bugs in as they start to fly around.
Seal it: While you’re checking the window screens, have a look at the sealant along the windows. A window that is not properly sealed can let in heat and force your air conditioner to work overtime. A fully sealed window ensures efficiency and helps avoid a steep hydro bill. Rain also drives into a window differently than snow does. So, while you might not have experienced leaks during the winter months, if you’ve got cracked or failing seals along your window, you might be in for some damage if this isn’t addressed in the spring. Silicone is the best sealant for our changing climate. As the windows expand and shrink, silicone is a flexible barrier that will be resilient to moisture, and therefore reduce mildew. Try the RONA silicone sealant ($5.89). It comes with a 50-year warranty and is certified for reduced environmental impact.
Detect it: The changing seasons are another great reminder to check smoke and carbon monoxide detectors to ensure they are working. You may have a single unit for each or a combination unit, depending on the age of your home. They can be battery operated, or hard wired to your home with a back-up long-life battery for power outages. As of 2015, detectors are required on all new builds, including one in each bedroom. While they’re not mandatory as of now if you’re simply renovating, why not add that little bit of additional peace of mind? If yours need replacing, consider upgrading to a smoke detector with a strobe light, like the Kidde Smoke Alarm with Strobe Light ($133). This option also offers a much nicer, more narrow profile than the original ones that came out with the building code update three years ago. So, even if you already have one with a strobe, you might consider swapping to this unit!
And finally, we’re bringing you back outside to check on Mom and get in a few outdoor maintenance items.
In the eaves: You may not see it, but your eavestroughs definitely need to be cleared of build-up. Again, while you can break out the ladder, grab your trusty bucket and trowel and go at this task manually, may we suggest an alternative? The Holland Telescopic Gutter Cleaning Wand ($33.99) is an extendable wand that fits onto any garden hose and will do the trick with your feet firmly on the ground. It also does double duty to clean debris from windows, siding, and more.
Shield it: If you are going to break out the ladder, consider installing a gutter shield like the Alu Rex Elements “Max Sturdiness” Gutter Shield ($56.99). It prevents debris from clogging rain gutters while letting water drain normally. It comes with a 5-year warranty and as an added bonus this aluminum shield is designed to stay in place under snow and ice, which might mean you can skip the eavestrough cleaning all together next year!