If you haven't already done so, it not too late to prepare your home for winter! Your home will require maintenance as temperatures begin to drop to keep it in shape throughout the winter months and prevent damage.
Here are a few things to consider checking before winter sets in ..
1. Roof, Eaves and Downspouts
- Clean out the eaves of all debris and hose it down to remove all little bits
- Check the flashing on the rood to ensure there is no entry for water to get in
- Check the shingles for wear. Replace any worn shingles
- Ensure downspouts are directed away from the home to prevent leakage into the basement.
2. Inspect Door and Windows
- If you have a basement that has window wells, cover with plastic for extra protection from the elements
- Replace any cracked or broken glass.
- If required, prime and pain exposed wood.
- Check weather stripping around exterior door, and replace if necessary
- Check windows for any air leaks and caulk if necessary
- Check the exterior of the house for mortar cracks and seal
- Drain gas from lawnmower before storing away
- Buy bags of salt/sand
- Check your snow shovel to ensure it is in good condition
- Ensure snow blower is functioning service, tuned and ready to go.
- Clear off deck of summer furniture, clean and store away
- Drain all garden hoses
- Shut off valve to all exterior faucets .. Keep faucet open and allow all water to drain
- Insulate any exposed plumbing and AC pipes
- Leave furnace on while away to a reasonable temperate to prevent damage to pipes
3. Foundation and Fireplace
- Ensure chimney is capped to prevent rodents and birds from entering
- Check the damper to ensure proper opening and closing
- Have chimney cleaned by a professional chimney sweep to remove creosote
- Store wood in a dry place
4. Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors
- Check your city by-law to ensure you have the proper number of smoke detectors. Some require one on every floor
- Install carbon monoxide detectors where needed (ask a professional) and ensure they are working properly
- Keep a fire extinguisher handy. Have it checked regularly and if older than 10 years, replace
- Keep an extra supply of batteries
- Test your smoke detector to ensure it is working properly.
- Consult with a gardener or arborist to determine when trees should be pruned.
- Trim branches that hang too close to electrical wires or the house
- Now is the time to plant those flower bulbs , and remove any bulbs that cannot tolerate winter in areas where it freezes
6. Prepare for an Emergency
- Prepare an evacuation plan
- Have emergency numbers close to the telephone
- Store extra bottled water and perishable food supplied, blanket and a first aid kit. Don’t forget to include pet food!
7. Upgrade Insulation
- Something that is not very costly, but add great value is adding extra insulation to your attic. If you are not sure of the R-value, here's something to look for. If you can see the ceiling joists, which are usually about 10", then you know you don't have enough. Make sure the air vents are not covered to allow proper ventilation to prevent mould.
8. Inspect your Furnace
- Have your furnace cleaned serviced yearly by a licensed HVAC contractor. Change the filters regularly, at least once a month. A dirty filter impedes air flow, and reduces efficiency, and in some rare cases could start a fire. If the furnace is in a separate enclosed area, ensure there is a vent on the door or wall for air circulation.
9. Reverse the Ceiling Fan
- Reversing your ceiling fan is something most people don't think of. If you reverse the direction from summer operation, the fan will push warm air down and force it to circulate. How do you know its turning in the right direction? Look up at the fan, the blades should be turning clockwise.
10. Exterior Water Taps
- Shut of the water valves that are connected to exterior taps, via the shutoff valve inside your home. Drain any excess water from the taps and garden hoses to ensure the remaining water does not freeze during the winter and crack your pipes.
I’m sure I haven’t covered everything, but this is a guideline to get started…
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