Winterizing Your Home
It’s that time of year again. The temperatures are dropping and some mornings I’m scraping the windshield of our vehicle. Doing a few things around the house and yard can prevent a lot of issues from Winter leaving you out in the cold. Here is a checklist I have put together for my home.
1. Furnace Inspection
Call a professional to come in and inspect your furnace and have your ducts cleaned out. In our province Atco Gas is our Natural Gas provider and schedules a free appointment for inspection of all your Natural Gas appliances. Be sure to keep the area around your furnace and hot water tank clear (don’t forget to change your furnace filters each month).
2. Inspect for Air Leaks
Move the back of your hand around the edges of all doors and windows and framing. The back of your hand is more sensitive and will feel any drafts. Repair any worn or missing weather-stripping around doors and caulk any leaks around windows.
3. Clean and Inspect Roof, Gutters, and Downspouts
Remove debris from your gutters and ensure your downspouts are clear and free-flowing. Do a visual inspection of your roof for missing shingles and areas where moisture can enter the home. Now is the time to fix any leaks you may have. A little caulking can go a long way on those leaky gutters.
4. Yard work
Clean up all trash from the yard. Rake debris edible vegetation from the foundation. Seal up entry points to keep critters from crawling under or into the house (mice can slip through spaces as thin as a dime).
5. Prepare and Check Equipment and Supplies
Drain gas from lawnmowers. Have your snow blower serviced. Replace worn snow shovels, sharpen ice choppers, and buy ice-melt. Clean, dry, and store gardening equipment. Seal driveways and decks. This might also be a good time to lubricate your garage door. Spray the wheels, springs and chain to prevent it from getting stuck on a cold day.
6. Winterize Plumbing
Drain all garden hoses. We like to use our compressor to ensure the hoses are dried before we store for winter. If you have an exterior water shut-off valve in your home, turn it off and drain remaining water from taps, leave taps open. Replace missing insulation on exposed exterior plumbing pipes.
7. Prepare Air Conditioner
Drain the AC pipes. If your AC has a water shut-off valve, turn it off. Clean away all debris from the fan as well as around the unit. Cover for the winter.
Trim branches of trees that are too close to the house. Replace batteries in smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, then test. Inspect and replace extinguishers based on manufacturer’s specifications. Review your family's emergency plan. Prepare an Emergency Kit (add diapers if you have babies, wipes for personal hygiene as well as candles, a lighter and blankets for warmth).
Plummeting temperatures are not always fun but if your home is prepared, the risk of winter disaster is minimized and you can focus your creativity on finding family fun!
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