It’s Time To Prepare Your House for Winter in Canada
As autumn's vibrant leaves begin their transformation into a wintry wonderland, there's a whisper of anticipation in the air. In Canada, the imminent arrival of winter brings with it a flurry of activities beyond just pulling out the cozy jumpers and brewing hot cocoa. It's the season to prepare our homes for the chilly months ahead. From safeguarding against freezing pipes to ensuring our roofs can bear the weight of snow, there's a checklist to tick off to keep our abodes snug and safe.
Let's delve into a homeowner's guide to prepping for the Canadian winter – a checklist that'll help you stay warm and worry-free.
Winterize Your Pipes
Whenever cold air meets your pipes – there’s the potential for freezing. A frozen pipe can lead to a flood, so it’s your job as a homeowner to mitigate that risk. Drain all your exterior lines, wrap pipes in insulating material, and fill any cracks or gaps around outdoor pipes with low-expansion foam and weather-resistant caulking to keep the cool air out.
If you’re planning to travel this winter, it makes sense to turn the thermostat down to save on energy costs, but don’t turn it down too much. Keep it set to about 16 degrees Celsius so you aren’t surprised by frozen pipes on your return.
Cleaning Filters For HVAC
Unless you’re a major winter nut, this time of year, you’re likely going to be spending much more time cooped up indoors. This is the time of year when our HVAC systems get a good workout – so it’s important to make sure they’re running efficiently.
It’s a common misconception that the air filter is meant to create better air quality in the home. While it will help remove contaminants from getting circulated through the home, its true purpose is to protect the blower fan from dust and debris pulled into the return ducts. Cleaning the filters helps keep your system running smoothly and efficiently. Don’t skip this job.
Are your kitchen and bathroom exhaust fans working well? While you can open a window to help pull out the excess moisture we create when bathing and cooking – who wants to leave a window wide open in the middle of February? Turn the fans on and hold a tissue up to them. If they’re able to hold the tissue in place, they’re doing their job. If it can’t even do that? Call your HVAC specialist, or get used to leaving the windows open this winter.
Pro tip: While you’re checking your vents and exhausts, give your dryer vents a good check. If lint accumulates it can become a serious fire hazard!
Schedule A Fireplace Check
For those of you who love a toasty fire on those long winter nights, fireplace and chimney inspections should be part of your regular maintenance schedules. Whether you’ve got a wood-burning, gas, or even an electric fireplace, you’ll have to do some basic maintenance and service.
Don’t leave a fireplace unattended – and make sure you’re testing your smoke detectors and carbon monoxide alarms every month. You should have an alarm on every floor of the house – plus outside sleeping areas. This is something you don’t want to take the risk on, believe me.
Cut Back Trees
Having trees around your house is a wonderful thing. Throughout the majority of the year, trees offer shade, beautiful greenery, and even blossom. In winter though, trees can pose a threat.
Tree branches that stray too close to your home can cause serious structural damage in winter storms. Many homes are damaged by tree limbs each year caused by branches breaking into walls and onto rooftops.
If you have branches within six feet of your home, it's best to get them cut back. You can hire a professional to get this done for you without damaging the health of the tree. Branches close to the house are also used by animals to get to your roof. Cutting them back helps prevent unwanted houseguests during the winter.
Inspect Your Roof
Ever heard the phrase, "keeping a roof over your head"? Well, in winter, that's exactly what you need to do. We take the roofs of our homes for granted but they suffer wear and tear just like everything else.
In winter, rooftops can suffer from freezing conditions, high winds, dampness, and immense weight from the snow.
A visual inspection should be your first step to winterizing your roof. If you aren't comfortable on a ladder, it's always better to get a roof inspection done by a professional. Working at height can be very dangerous and a professional will know exactly what to do to stay safe.
Roof shingles should be thoroughly checked for missing sections. Weather-proofing also needs to be checked, especially around flashing, antennas, and chimney tops. The sealant used on rooftops wears and cracks over time so it's a good idea to re-seal any worn areas.
Having a roof inspection will give you the peace of mind you need when the snow starts falling and the wind starts howling.
Expect The Unexpected
Snowstorms can strike out of nowhere. Make sure you’ve got a good shovel, and plenty of deicing agent on hand for your driveways and walkways. Look at your home’s emergency kit (you do have one, right?) – and make sure it’s got everything you need. At a minimum, you’ll need flashlights, batteries, canned goods, water, and a fully stocked first aid kit – including necessary medication. If anything expired over the last year, replace it quickly.
There’s still plenty of time to get your home ready before winter truly sets in. Take advantage of the last few weekends before the snow hits to make sure your home is ready to weather any winter storm. And hopefully, everyone will remember how to drive by the time we get our second snowfall.
With the winter winds ready to dance across Canada, it's time to ensure our homes are fortified against the cold and we stock up on de-icing agents So, grab your shovel, refresh that emergency kit, and batten down the hatches. And you will be all set to welcome winter warmly, ensuring your home stands strong against whatever challenges the season brings. Stay snug, stay safe, and let's embrace the magic of winter with preparedness and a hot mug of cocoa in hand!