Canada is notorious for unpredictable spring seasons, where we can wake up with it feeling like winter and go to bed with a hint of summer warmth in the air the next. Melting snow and ice combined with rain and winds from the west can impact your home and property if you’re not prepared. Review this collection of some of the best homeowner tips that will allow you to adapt to whatever Mother Nature dishes out this spring.
Melting snow and spring runoff can damage your home if enough of it floods into your home. Over time, the buildup of snow can cover our yards and create massive drifts leaning up against the exterior walls of our homes. Most snowmelt happens in March and early April so pay attention to weather forecasts and get out ahead of the warmer weather.
To minimize the risk of flooding, shovel snow away from your foundation, paying special attention to ground level windows and doors. Clear drainage areas around your home of snow so water can get back out if it does seep in. Check for leaks in the walls, windows, and foundation of your home and make it a priority to repair any you find to keep the water out. And remove snow and ice from the areas where your downspouts are. If you can, extend them by 2 metres or more to ensure excess water drains away from your home’s foundation.
Monitoring the relative humidity in your home is extremely important during winter and while spring temperatures fluctuate. A hygrometer is the easiest way to assess humidity. Older homes can suffer from air leakage and as a result, can have lower relative humidity in the winter season due to cold, dry air entering the home. Newer homes are built more air-tight and often have higher relative humidity levels.
Low humidity if caused by air leakage can be corrected by repairing areas or by installing a whole home humidifier. High humidity can be corrected by installing and/or simply using your existing ventilation system properly. If your home is equipped with a Heat Recovery Ventilator, turning this on during the colder months will bring in cool, fresh air while efficiently warming it with heat captured from air that’s exhausted.
With spring comes needed fresh air in your home, but there are drawbacks if you rely on open windows for temperature control. Opening the windows for a long period of time can allow dust and allergens to enter your home. This can aggravate those with seasonal allergies and potentially lower indoor air quality. But opening the windows in short bursts (particularly at the beginning of the season) can air out your home and any unpleasant odors. On cooler days, an open window can be a substitute for your air conditioner and may help save money on utilities. However, turning your air conditioner on and off too often can drive up utility costs,
If your windows are in need of replacement to ensure proper humidity and air flow levels, replacing windows while the weather is warm outside will help keep unwanted cold drafts from entering your home during the project.
A regular spring check-up of concrete steps and quick repair of any defects will help prevent major damage and improve safety of your home. Quick sealing of cracks is important to keep water from running or seeping into the concrete. The most convenient way to patch cracks up to about one-fourth of an inch wide is to use a premixed sealer with a caulking-gun cartridge, such as an acrylic latex flexible cement crack filler. Larger cracks can be patched with patching cement, sold in small bags and plastic buckets at many home centres and hardware stores.
A sturdy mat outside the front door keeps your house clean and doesn’t hold onto moisture. It also prevents mould, mildew, mud, and muck from coming inside. It’s recommended to clean your doormats seasonally. Be sure to follow your manufacturer’s instructions, but many outdoor doormats can be rinsed off with a garden hose. Tougher to clean spots may need a tiny bit of mild dish soap.
If you’re seeking more tips on how to stormproof your home for inclement weather, make sure to check out our How to Storm-Proof Your Home blog. For more helpful homeowner and moving information, read our AMJ Campbell blog.