Winter is Here: Brace Your Home

As anyone who lives in a cold climate knows, winter can be an unrelenting season that can cause great damage to homes and the surrounding areas if we are not properly prepared for it. Given the fact that your home is an important asset, it is essential that you properly prepare and protect your home for the winter season in order to minimize possible damages, and of course to keep heating costs minimal. There are a variety of ways to prepare your home both inside and outside for the winter months. The following are some suggested tasks to complete in order to get your home winter ready, it is not a comprehensive list however it will give you a place to begin: Interior Preparations: 
  • Reverse your fans – Switch your fans to run in reverse to stop the warm air from rising. This way, you can keep the majority of the heat within a room and stop it from escaping upstairs. 
  • Heating Ducts & Dryer Vents – Clean out your heating ducts of excess dust and animal hair in order to allow them to function at full capacity and minimize any fire risks. Do the same with your dryer vents, both with the lint trap as well as the exterior dryer vent to ensure your home is energy efficient. 
  • Humidifiers – Get humidifiers ready to start running inside in order to keep the dry winter air out of your home. 
  • Hot Water Tank – Flush and insulate your hot water tank to keep it running efficiently. 
  • Insulation – Inspect the insulation in your home. You want to ensure that there is enough to stop cold air from entering your home. You can always add additional insulation to your attic/walls/etc. to give your house added heat retention. 
  • Furnace Filters – replace furnace filters every 3 months to make sure your furnace is running at its top efficiency.
  • Winter Storm Survival Kit – To prepare for any winter storm, have a home winter storm survival kit. Make sure this kit includes bottled water, non-perishable food, a first aid kit, batteries, a flashlight, and a radio. You can also include blankets and other items as needed. 
  • Sump Pump – Check your sump pump to ensure everything is working correctly. Clear away the debris near the exit pipe, and be sure to plug everything back in after testing.
  •  Water Damage Checks – Check your basement for any stains from previous or current water damage. This is a clear sign that your drainage system isn’t taking water far enough away from your home. Fix this problem by extending your downspout. Check your attic for any signs of mildew.
  • Protect Entranceways – Place mats inside and outside the door, along with boot trays inside the entranceway to avoid damage to floors from ice/snow/water.
  • Smoke Detectors & Chimney Sweeping – It is important to check the functioning of all smoke detectors and CO detectors consistently, and the change of season is a great time to do so. It is also important to have your fireplace and chimney inspected and cleaned in order to make sure it is in proper working order and safe to use.
  • Constant Heating – Be sure to keep your heat turned on constantly, even if you are away. You can always lower the heating temperature if you will be away for an extended period of time, but it is important to have the heat running in the house to keep pipes from freezing/bursting, as well as keeping all other home appliances from being damaged.
  • Electrical System – Check your electrical system, and ensure that there are no damaged wires, discoloration, or shortages that need attending to. Be sure to always use a certified electrician if you are unsure or unable to attend to any damages with the system.
  Exterior Preparations: 
  • Gutters and Drainage – Well maintained gutters and drainage can ensure minimal damage. Winter can have ice dams and excessive water build-up, and it is important to have the drainage in place to stop these conditions from causing any damage to your home. Where necessary, extend your downspouts to keep water away from your home.
  • Foundation and Pipes – Make sure to shovel snow away from the foundation of your home to stop any water damage from happening to your foundation due to excessive buildup of snow and ice. Weatherproof any exterior pipes to prevent freezing and turn off any external faucets.
  • Vents and Air Conditioners – Remove snow and ice from external vents. Blocked vents can cause damage to your roof, but mostly extra pressure on your heating and cooling systems can cause moisture problems and damage the system. If you have an outdoor condensing unit, be sure to protect it from excessive snow weight, and ice buildup.
  • Trees and Evergreens – Tie up evergreen trees and shrubs to protect them from becoming permanently misshapen by the weight of the snow and ice throughout the season. Inspect surrounding trees for damaged or dead limbs and cut them down as needed to prevent them from falling and causing damage.
  • Locks, Steps, and Lighting – To prevent locks from freezing throughout the winter, spray the inside of each lock with a small amount of powdered graphite lubricant. Inspect all exterior steps and handrails to ensure they are in good condition and not a trip hazard. Repair cracks in the concrete. Check outside lighting to ensure it is functioning.
  • Leaks & Seals – Check your window wells for loose liners that can cause water to penetrate your foundation should the soil become oversaturated. Replace loose liners. Seal leaky doors and windows with new weather stripping to keep your home energy efficient.
  • Storm Preparation – It is important to be prepared as winter storms can cause many different conditions. Keep shovels, salt, sand, and snow blowers in good repair, with spare fuel for larger storms.
  Although this is not a comprehensive list of all the winter preparations you can do within your home, it is definitely a good place to start to ensure that your home is well protected during the season, as well as energy efficient. The most important aspect of winter is to keep the heat inside, and the cold out!  

Royal LePage Team Realty

12B-6081 Hazeldean Road

Stittsville, ON

K2S 1B9

Toll Free: 1-800-307-1545

Direct: 613.406.2218

Office: 613.831.9287

[email protected]

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