Essential spring cleaning & maintenance tips

Sure, it’s the middle of winter, but somewhere spring is waiting around the corner! It's the perfect time to start preparing your spring to-do list, from changing car tires to giving your home a thorough spring cleaning. But this year, why not extend your list to include a comprehensive inventory of your property and proactive steps to guard your home against water damage? With our comprehensive guide to spring cleaning and maintenance, you can approach the new season with confidence and peace of mind, fully prepared to enjoy all the delights that spring in Canada has to offer.

When to switch from winter tires to summer tires?

Officially, March 15 is when you can first replace your winter tires. However, some experts agree that changing too early can be a bad idea—and perhaps even dangerous. At temperatures below 7 °C the rubber of all-season or summer tires starts to lose its effectiveness. This process accelerates when it drops to -7 °C, while the rubber of winter tires begins to lose its elasticity at only -40 °C. It may be a good idea to wait until the roads are dry and the temperature is stable above 7 degrees before changing over.

Spring driving tips for safe travel

Once the snow melts, our Canadian roads undergo a transformation. The melting snow often reveals potholes and debris scattered across both city and country roads. Even if you know a particular road by heart, make sure you exercise caution once the seasons change.

The arrival of spring brings increased activity on the roads, with cyclists, pedestrians and animals requiring drivers to readjust their habits and share the road responsibly. Remember to drive at a slower pace, maintain a safe distance from others, and always be alert to your surroundings. And don’t forget about rain! Rain showers, a staple of Canadian spring, can make roads slippery and reduce visibility. Driving carefully during wet conditions, respecting speed limits and ensuring your windshield wipers are in good working condition can greatly enhance road safety.

Another tip for spring driving is to check your tire pressure regularly. As temperatures fluctuate, so can your tire pressure, impacting your vehicle's handling and fuel efficiency. As we leave winter behind, be sure to check your car for any residual salt or grime that could cause corrosion.

Safe driving in spring is all about adaptation and preparation. For more tips, check out our detailed article on spring driving!

Preventing water damage with spring home maintenance

Melting snow can cause a lot of trouble. In fact, water damage is the main cause of home insurance claims in Canada. To safeguard your home, watch for signs of potential issues such as the presence of mould, accumulation of puddles in the basement, or moisture marks on your walls. Your first line of defence against basement flooding is a well-functioning sump pump. Regularly check its operation and have it repaired if necessary. If you don't have a sump pump, consider installing one to actively manage water accumulation. 

You can also take some proactive measures to prevent water from pooling near your home's foundation. Clear snow away from your home's exterior walls and ensure it’s relocated to an area where the melting water can safely drain away. Make sure that your downspouts extend at least two metres so that they drain away from your foundation. 

Including water damage protection in your home insurance policy is a smart idea, as it provides financial coverage for any repair or restoration work that may be necessary following water damage. It's a small step that can provide significant peace of mind during the spring thaw.

For more tips on protecting your home from floods, check out the Intact Centre on Climate Adaptation’s Home Flood Protection Check-Up. 

Refresh your ride with car spring cleaning

It’s a wonderful feeling once the winter has disappeared to return to a clean and fresh-smelling car. You’ll want to start your car spring cleaning by emptying your car out completely. This includes the glove box, under the seats and in the trunk. Vacuum every corner, and pay special attention to the air vents - a quick clean with a foam paintbrush can help reduce dust circulation when you're driving with the windows up.  

Once the interior is clean, turn your attention to the windows and mirrors. Use an auto glass cleaner to remove streaks and ensure a clear view on those beautiful spring drives. For the dashboard, steering wheel, and other high-touch areas, use auto wipes or a damp cloth to remove dust and reduce germ buildup. 

Of course, the exterior of your car needs some spring love too! Give it a thorough wash to remove winter grime and salt, particularly from the undercarriage and wheel wells. Consider a new coat of wax for extra shine and protection. Finally, inspect your tires for any damage and check the tire pressure. If you have winter tires, plan to switch back to all-season or summer tires once temperatures are consistently above 7°C. 

By following these steps, not only will your car feel refreshingly clean, but you'll also be ready to hit the road in style this spring!

Essential spring cleaning tips for your home

Some say the state of our home represents our mental state. For example, followers of the KonMari method think it’s important to get rid of any superfluous object in the house. But spring cleaning is not just about decluttering - it’s about giving your home a thorough refresh! Start with the high-traffic rooms like the kitchen and bathroom. Wipe down kitchen appliances, deep clean the oven, organize pantry items, and sanitize bathroom fixtures. In bedrooms, wash all bedding, flip your mattresses, and declutter your closets. In your living spaces, dust light fixtures, clean windows, and vacuum floors and furniture.

As a pro tip, always clean from top to bottom to ensure dust and debris fall to the floor, to be vacuumed up later. Also, don't forget the often-overlooked areas like baseboards and ceiling fans. This simple checklist can make your spring cleaning more organized and efficient, letting you enjoy a spotless, refreshed home for the season ahead.

Making a comprehensive home inventory

Despite its importance, only 33% of Canadians maintain an inventory of their property. This crucial task can save you significant time and money in the event of a disaster, such as a fire or flood. A well-documented home inventory can streamline the insurance claims process and ensure you're adequately reimbursed for your losses based on their current retail value, not their original cost. 

Creating a home inventory may sound daunting, especially if you've lived in the same place for many years and have lots of belongings. However, breaking the task down into manageable steps can make the process easier! Start by choosing a method that suits you, like a handwritten list, a spreadsheet, or an app. Go through your home room by room, documenting items with their details like description, purchase date, and estimated value. Keep receipts or appraisals for high-value items and consider taking photos or videos as a visual record.  

Remember to regularly update your inventory, and store a copy outside your home, either digitally or with a trusted individual for safekeeping. If you’ve lived in the same place for years, it may take a bit of time, but you’ll be relieved to have a complete home inventory list if disaster ever strikes! 

Spring is the season of fresh starts and new beginnings. These tips can help you avoid potential issues, so you can fully enjoy the warm, sunny days ahead!