When it comes to Canadian winters, there’s no messing around – especially this year as I hear we’re in for a heck of a lot of snow! As a home owner, you are probably aware of the amount of maintenance that you have to put into your home on any given day, let alone getting it ready for a great Canadian winter! Most homeowners reserve the winter time for certain indoor chores such as painting, redecorating, minor repairs, replacements and renovations, etc. and then when spring finally rolls around, it’s time to assess the winter damage, start repairs, prepare for summer months, and start the cycle all over again. I may be getting ahead of myself here as winter hasn’t even arrived yet but who can blame me? Anyways, the time is NOW to prepare your home for winter, which can be the most violent season for your home.
To get you started, I’ve created a checklist for you and remember, if you don’t feel comfortable performing any of the tasks listed below, ask a neighbour or consider hiring a qualified professional to help you – ignoring these tasks is simply not an option!
HEATING & COOLING
- Get your heating system professionally inspected. Try to book an appointment as soon as you can before it gets too cold and technicians get busier.
- Clean or replace your furnace filter. Clogged filters make it harder to regulate the temperature in your home.
- If you have a gas-fired heater, have a professional perform a routine service check. An improperly maintained heater can let toxins out into the air of your home, so please make sure to check your heater regularly!
- For central air conditioning units, consider investing in a winter cover for it. Covering the unit will help prevent damage to the fan blades. Also, make sure you turn the power off to the unit by either shutting off the breakers or by removing the fuses. Doing so, will prevent accidental use of the unit while it is covered.
KEEP IT OUTSIDE
- Drain and store outdoor hoses. Close interior valve to outdoor hose connection and drain the hose bib (exterior faucet).
- Clean out leaves from eaves troughs and roof, and be sure to test your downspouts to ensure proper drainage from the roof.
- Have a look at the ground around your home, and make sure it slopes away from the foundation wall, so that water does not run into your basement.
- Aerate your lawn. By doing this, it prevents rainfall from pooling on the grass, ensuring water and nutrients can reach the roots.
- Winter in Canada can be tough on lawns as well, so consider using a fall lawn fertilizer (with high phosphorous content) to encourage root growth. It will definitely set your lawn off on the right foot when spring rolls back around.
- Inspect your roof for damaged shingles, corroded flashing or leaky vents. Make sure to do this BEFORE the snow falls.
- Check for cracked, loose or missing caulking around windows and doors, and if needed replace it. (This is easily the most cost-effective way to minimize your heating bill).
NOW, COME INSIDE – IT’S FREEZING OUT THERE!
- Check your bathroom exhaust fans and range hoods to make sure that they are operating properly.
- Check smoke, carbon monoxide and security alarms, and replace their batteries.
- If you have a fireplace, get your chimney professionally cleaned. Even if you don’t use your fireplace very often, it is definitely a fire hazard as debris can (and probably has) build up inside the chimney.
- Screen the top of your chimney to keep out little rodents and birds. While you’re in there, inspect the mortar between bricks to make sure that your fires remain contained and that there are no cracks to the outside.
When preparing your home for winter, it is important to start early enough before the first snowfall. You can likely take care of most of the items on this list yourself, however it is a good idea to schedule a professional inspection of your heating systems. A Canadian winter is especially hard on our homes, but by preparing your house before the cold weather sets in, you can prevent unexpected surprises and save money during those freezing, dark, hibernating months! If you have any questions about my checklist, please feel free to contact me today!