In summertime, we tend to forget that winter is coming. But now is the best time to prepare for the icy months! Canadian winters are known for their cold temperatures, strong winds, and plenty of snow, ice and sleet. This wild weather can wreak havoc on a home if the home is not properly winterized and prepared for what nature might have in store. Checking items off this winter home preparation checklist now will help keep your home and family and comfortable come winter time.
1. Seal the Windows
Even double or triple paned windows can let in cold drafts from the outdoors. Sealing the windows can minimize the drafts, increase your comfort level and lower your energy bills. To seal the windows:
- Caulk the cracks.
- Use a plastic film sealing kit around the inside of each window. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions to achieve a solid seal.
- Close the drapes at night to further aid in keeping cold air out.
If your home has a fireplace, now is the time to get it ready for use in the winter. Walk around the outside of the chimney and inspect it for cracks, gaps or missing bricks. Use a flashlight and check the inside for signs of animal infestation or cracked tiles. Consider hiring a professional chimney specialist for a thorough inspection to ensure a fire can be safely lit in the fireplace.
3. Prepare the Gutters and Downspouts
Thaw and freeze cycles can wreak havoc on the gutters and downspouts of your home. An ice dam could result from clogged gutters, and damage to the roof, walls and foundation could ensue. To prepare the gutters and downspouts for winter:
- Access the gutters and scoop out solid debris.
- Use a garden hose to flush out any caked on dirt.
- Check to make sure the water freely flows through the downspouts.
4. Insulate the Plumbing System
A frozen pipe that bursts could cause a significant amount of damage to your home. Purchase tubular pipe sleeves to insulate pipes, especially those along the outer walls of your home or in cabinets where warm air is not able to freely circulate. Cover all the exposed areas of pipe and seal seams in the insulation with duct tape.
5. Perform Maintenance on the Heating System
Whether you have a heat pump, furnace, boiler or a wood stove, it needs to be properly maintained in order to keep your home during the long winter. Contact a licensed and insured heating maintenance company to come into your home and do a thorough inspection of the fuel supply, air handler, venting system and mechanical heating components. Replace the air handler’s filter once every three months to ensure the best results. Seal any leaky ductwork to reduce heat wastage.
6. Clean Up the Yard
Before any winter storms strike, clean up the yard. Trim back any tree branches that could break off under the weight of snow and ice. Remove or cut back overgrown summer vegetation that could be a safe haven for vermin. Seal any cracks where mice and other animals could gain access to the indoors. Clean out garden areas, woodworking areas and other places where pests could find shelter and food during the winter.
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