Homeowner Helpers: Six July maintenance tasks

Homeowner HelpersHome upkeep can seem like a never-ending chore, but if you space out these six July maintenance tasks you’ll be surprised how much you can get done over the course of a week or two.

Our DIY jobs will help keep the place you love operating smoothly and looking shipshape. We’ve even included links to professional services if you need them.

Porch light clean-up

If your glass fixtures can be easily removed, wash them in warm water and dishwashing or other mild soap to get rid of gunk, dead insects and the like. If they can’t be removed, wipe down the outsides and, if you can reach them, the insides with a clean cloth dipped in soap and water. Polish with a dry cloth. Remember to turn off power to the fixture before washing the inside and dry it thoroughly.


Fence, deck and porch check

A periodic check of fence posts and boards, decks and wooden porches helps keep family and visitors safe. Keep an eye out for rotten, damaged and sagging wood and loose posts or railings. Now might also be a good time to refinish your deck or other outdoor wooden structures. Need a pro to tackle a repair or replacement job? Check our business directories for local experts.

Pesky critters

Our six July maintenance tasks include checking your basement, attic and other little-used spots for summer pests like earwigs and squirrels that belong outside, not inside your home.

You may not like spiders, but they’re mostly harmless and help control potentially dangerous insects like fleas and ticks. You’d be well advised to let a few spiders share the darker corners of your home, but if you really can’t stand them, don’t squash the little creatures; instead, trap them with a glass jar or other container and release them outside.


Conserve water

Climate change may mean longer and more intense droughts in Ontario, which is one more reason to conserve water. While a dry lawn doesn’t look great, grass normally bounces back after a drought so there’s no reason to soak it regularly during dry spells. Replacing at least some of the grass with drought-resistant plants not only looks great but also reduces water use (remember to ensure any plants you buy are winter-tolerant in Ottawa).

Other options include more drought-resistant varieties of grass seed (Kentucky bluegrass doesn’t like extended dry weather) when you are seeding a new lawn or over-seeding an existing one. Planting some white Dutch clover is another great option: Its deep root system means it needs less watering once established, it’s a boon to pollinators, and you may even find the occasional four-leaf clover, a sure sign of good luck!

When watering gardens, do it in the early morning (water applied during the heat of the day simply evaporates) and around the base of the plants, where the roots can absorb the moisture. A soaker hose kit like this one from Lee Valley makes efficient watering a snap.


Basement floor drain

If the p-trap in the drain dries out, smelly sewer gases can get into your basement. Check the drain occasionally and top it up with water if it’s dry. If the drain dries out frequently, you may need to call in a plumber (count on our business directories for Ottawa-area services).

Highlight a small space

Rather than going to the trouble and expense of repainting an entire room as part of your six July maintenance tasks, add a splash of colour and interest with an accent wall. Paint, wallpaper, artwork: they all dress up a room with minimal effort.

Got an outdoor spot that needs a refresh? Try an upcycled bike or chair — it’s a low-cost DIY project that will make your outdoor space one of a kind.



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Whether searching for your first home, preparing to upsize or downsize, or mulling over a renovation, this guide provides valuable resources and tips.