Get the Most Out of Your Home Maintenance

Is your house in trouble? Recognizing warning signs can help you save

Indoor SpacesHow to
5 min read

Fall is the perfect time for home maintenance before the colder weather sets in. Knowing what to look for in your home or condo can help you to prevent potential disasters. Here are a few warning signs that could save you money in the long run.


Inspect pipes and hoses

Plumbing that runs outdoors or is in contact with metal framing members that extend beyond the home’s energy envelope will be subject to below freezing temperatures. When water in these pipes freezes, it will expand and can bust the pipe resulting in water damage. Insulate your pipes or use heat tape to prevent freezing.

Hoses to dishwashers and washing machines should also be regularly inspected. If you notice bulges or cracks, it may be time to replace your hose before it bursts. You can also prevent water damage by turning the water supply to these appliances off when they are not in use.


Do you have a leak?

The best way to check if you have a leak is to take a reading from your water meter before you go to work and again when you return to see if the meter has been running. Leaks hike up your water bill and water damage can lead to mold and mildew which are costly to remediate.

Check all the taps for drips and ensure your toilet isn’t leaking. You can accomplish this by adding a few drops of food colouring into the tank. If the colour appears in the bowl after a few minutes, you need to replace your flapper.


Chimney safety

Have your chimney inspected and cleaned annually. If your chimney brickwork has efflorescence on it, ask a professional to check for leaks. White efflorescence forms on the bricks when water evaporates and leaves behind mineral deposits. While a small amount of buildup is normal, excessive efflorescence indicates that you have a leaking chimney. Water in your masonry can freeze in cold weather, causing cracks.

Check that the flue is in good working order. Noxious gases are often exhausted into the chimney and a faulty flue can mean they are escaping into your home. It also means your heated indoor air is leaking and that will drive up your hydro bill.


Winter deck maintenance

Clear your deck of fall leaves and other debris. They trap moisture that can cause your deck to rot. Ensure that there are no lose nails or boards.

If your deck is built right up to the house, backsplash will be finding it’s way into the house which can damage your siding, flooring and may cause rot to the rim joists and other framing members.

Lower your deck so it’s about 4 inches below the threshold of the door. Divert water away from the house by ensuring gutters are clean, that the grade slopes away from your home and by preventing snow from building up around the foundations.


Check your Fans

If your bathroom fans are discoloured, or there is mold or mildew forming on them, condensation is being created inside your ducting. The air from your bathroom is warm and moist and the ducting is cold which causes condensation.

This can cause mold and mildew in your ductwork which results in poor indoor air quality. Mold can also damage the drywall and framing around the fan.

Inspect the damper on your fan to ensure it is working and insulate attic ducting to prevent condensation in the first place. Run your fan for longer to give condensation a chance to dry.

You can get the most out of your home maintenance and renovations by consulting the Scotiabank Home Energy Savings Calculator. This will help to determine which home improvements will save you the most. 

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