Growing up in Canada, hearing your mom yell, “Don’t forget your hat!” as you run out the door is something we can all relate to. And as we get older, being prepared for winter is something we know all too well. But beyond the inconvenience and discomfort winter can bring; a winter storm or other severe weather conditions can cause real damage to your home. Here are some tips to help you get your home ready for winter.
Have your furnace professionally serviced.
Performing routine maintenance each autumn will help ensure your furnace is running optimally. If you haven’t already, consider replacing an older thermostat with a programmable one, which may help you save on heating costs.
Cut the draft.
The best way to keep the heat in (and the cold out) is to make sure your windows and doors are properly sealed. Make sure the weather-stripping around windows and doorframes provide a tight seal, and replace where necessary.
Get the gunk out of your gutters.
Eaves troughs that are clogged with leaves, dirt and debris may prevent any rain or melting snow from draining properly. If that water refreezes it could damage your eaves, or worse, it can result in household leaks.
Inspect the roof.
While cleaning your gutters it’s wise to inspect your roof for any missing, loose or damaged shingles. If your roof needs attention call a roofer to help with the repairs. It’s also worth asking them to look at the caulking around the chimney and air vents.
Trim your tree limbs.
Ice is heavy, and after a large storm, the added weight can put severe strain on a tree and cause it to crack without notice. Make sure tree branches are trimmed away from your house and electrical wires to decrease your risk of property damage and power problems.
Protect your pipes.
Even the smallest pipes can cause massive damage, so it makes sense to keep them properly insulated. If you have exposed pipes in the basement, attic or crawl space, consider wrapping them so they don’t freeze. Also, don’t forget to disconnect your garden hose and drain the remaining water to the outside faucet.
Taking the time to winter-proof your home is a small price to pay especially if it helps prevent future damage. It’s also a good time to make sure you’re stocked-up on all the winter essentials including salt, sand, and a proper shovel. And while you’re out there shovelling, don’t forget your hat!