Regular home maintenance does for your home what moderate exercise does for your body. It keeps it in good running order and helps to avoid the need for drastic (and costly) repairs. Get February’s maintenance checklist and tips to keep your home fit.
Check your roof for ice dams
February is a good month to walk around your home and check for ice dams on the roof, especially if this is your first winter in your home. Ice dams aren’t an immediate problem, but they cause damage that can add up to big problems over time.
They form when heat escapes through the roof and melts on sitting snow. Because some of that ice will melt and refreeze, it can seep under the shingles and into your roof’s wood structure, eventually creating rot. A few winters of this can result in pricey repairs.
Use a roof rake to pull the snow off your roof. It’s a light, telescoping shovel that you can buy at your local hardware store. Stay grounded – a roof rake and a ladder is a dangerous combination.
Long term fix
Regular ice dams are a good indication that your attic has inadequate insulation or leaks. Most building codes call for fiberglass and cellulose insulation to be 27 to 32 cm thick. Upgrade your attic insulation to at least R-40 and plug air leaks to the attic from light fixtures and cable holes while making sure attic can vent heat properly. If you decide to inspect your attic instead of hiring a pro, be sure to wear a dust mask and clothing that protects your arms and legs.
In the heart of winter, your home maintenance options are limited by the weather. Why not take the time to paint a tired room? If you don’t like the smell of paint, try painting a room with its own external fan system, like the kitchen or a bathroom.
Tip. Ask your paint store about one-coat paint. It costs more but it saves a lot of time – just check to see if it will work over your existing wall colour.
Start planning your garden
The days are getting longer and it’s time to start planning your garden. Even if your new home is blessed with a beautiful outdoor space, there’s always room for personal touches.
Start by joining some local area gardening blogs or societies. Ask members for tips on what grows well in your area. Make notes of the plants you find attractive (or the vegetables you find tasty).
If you need to do any landscaping, now is the time to evaluate local landscapers, get references and book your time. In another month, the good ones will be fully booked.
Order seeds and talk to local nurseries about what plants they’ll be stocking. You can also ask them about some more exotic choices or heritage fruit and vegetable seedlings.
Tip. Children enjoy gardening – and eating the vegetables they grow. Help your child plan their own little garden patch with low maintenance, quick-growing plants like radishes, lettuce, zucchini and carrots. Create a 3’ by 5’ carpet with construction paper vegetables to help them visualize their future garden.
Do you have a great home maintenance suggestion for February? Share it in the comment section below – and do explain any special tips that help you get it done better.