Home Maintenance is Key to Protecting Your New Home Warranty
Buying a new home or condo can be a complex process. But once you’ve completed your Pre-Delivery Inspection, been handed the keys and moved in, it’s important to make sure you protect your big investment.
Last month, we looked at your responsibilities as a new home-owner before you move into a new home. In this month’s article, we’ll be going over your responsibilities as a new homeowner after you’ve officially moved in.
As you may know by now, all homes that are less than seven years old in Ontario are covered by a statutory warranty. Backed by Tarion Warranty Corporation, new home warranty coverage not only protects new homebuyers during the purchase and closing of a new home, but also helps protect against certain deficiencies in work and materials and major structural defects.
Tarion provides three separate warranties that work concurrently, each beginning on the date you take possession of your new home and apply for one, two and seven years. It’s important to remember that these warranties are attached to the building or condominium unit itself. If you move into a resale home or condo unit within one, two or seven years of the original date of possession, the respective warranties continue to apply.
- The One Year Warranty covers you against unauthorized substitutions and Ontario Building Code violations. It requires that the home be constructed in a workman-like manner, be free from defects, and be fit for habitation.
- The Two Year Warranty covers defects with electrical, plumbing, and heating delivery, defects in windows, doors, and caulking, and defects that affect the exterior cladding of a building. It also protects against water damage to your basement or foundation walls. Additionally, it protects against violations of the Ontario Building Code that affect health and safety.
- The Seven Year Warranty covers major structural defects, as defined by the Ontario New Home Warranties Plan Act. This includes most failures of structural load-bearing elements of a building, damage caused by soil movement, major cracks in basement walls, collapse or serious distortion of joints or roof structure and chemical failure of materials. There are some exclusions, such as damage to drains and services, which are listed here.
To ensure your warranty rights are protected and to keep your home in good shape for the long run, you need to play an active role in the maintenance of your new home! Regular maintenance will extend the life of your home and likely lead to fewer costs down the road. Properly caring for your home will also protect the health and safety of you and everyone who lives within it.
The builder of your home should provide a recommended maintenance schedule for you to follow. This is a good place to start, but here are some tips to help keep your home in top shape:
- Control the amount of moisture in your home. Humidity that is too high can cause condensation that can damage walls in your home, while humidity that is too low can cause wood to shrink. You want a humidity level between 30% to 45% in winter, and below 60% during the summer months. Ensure that plumbing is not leaking, clean the leaves from your gutters, and ensure home ventilation is working properly, especially in the bathroom and kitchen. The use of a humidifier or a dehumidifier can be a big help!
- Keep heating, air conditioning, and exhaust fans in shape. Monthly checks of these systems is important. Filters will need replacing periodically. Most manufacturers recommend changing them about every two months, but you might need to replace them monthly depending on whether you have severe allergies, or if you have pets that like to shed. Make sure to clean air ducts, and ensure that exterior exhaust outlets are not blocked by snow in winter.
- Ensure smoke and carbon monoxide alarms are working. You should check that these alarms are working annually. Make sure to read the alarm manufacturers’ instructions, as some recommend specific batteries to be used. Many do not recommend rechargeable batteries!
- Reset ground fault circuit interrupters every month. These are easily testable with a small, portable device like a cellphone and its charger. Simply plug the device in to start charging it, and press the test button. If the device stops working/charging, the interrupter is still working. Make sure to press the reset button to turn the plug back on!
There are many more seasonal tasks to perform—all part of the responsibility of owning a home. Tarion has compiled handy checklists to remind you not only of the tasks above, but other important tips for year-round maintenance.