Buying a new home has many advantages, including being able to enjoy the newest in appliances, finishes, and building innovations. But even though your home may be brand new, it still requires ongoing maintenance. This not only helps ensure that your new home stays in top shape — it protects your warranty rights too. All new homes in Ontario come with a warranty that lasts up to seven years from the date of possession that is guaranteed by Tarion. The warranty covers almost everything inside and outside the home, from defects in workmanship to Ontario building code violations and major structural defects.

But homeowners must do their part too by making sure their new home does not fall into disrepair, as the warranty only covers defects caused by the builder. Ensure your home and warranty remain protected with regular maintenance. Doing-it-yourself is easy with these expert tips to get your home prepared for the coming winter.

Outside your home:

• Check all windows and doors for cracks around the framing. Have any cracks or material separations re-caulked.

• Check the weather stripping on exterior doors, including the garage door. Make sure they’re not damaged or worn and will keep in the warm air come December.

• Have your roof inspected professionally to ensure shingles, flashing, and chimney caps are in place and sealed properly. Have them inspect the gutters too.

• Clear leaves from eaves troughs and downspouts and repair any cracks or seam separations with caulking. Check all downspouts for damage.

• Shut off your home’s exterior water supply and drain exterior water lines, including taps in the garage, especially if it’s an unheated space. Leave the taps open a bit to ensure any trapped or remaining water will not freeze and damage the water supply line. This should also be done with any irrigation systems or water features like ponds or fountains.

Inside your home:

• Test all smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors.

• Clean and test all exhaust fans, including dryer, stove, and furnace vents.

• Check your sump-pump float and discharge line and test overall operation.

• Install a protective winter cover on your air conditioning unit if recommended by the manufacturer.

• Clean or replace your furnace filters.

• Clean and turn on the humidifier and heat recovery ventilator (HRV).

• Have your furnace serviced.

• Inspect your fireplace and chimney dampers and service or clean if necessary — this applies to gas and wood burning fireplaces.

• Winterize your landscape by storing outdoor furniture and covering plants.

A year-round home maintenance checklist can be found online at