Canadian winters can be rough, even in our usually rainy province! Last year proved that snow can kick our butts if we’re not prepared.
Here are some helpful tips to help you ‘winterize’ your home and protect yourself and your investment from harm.
- Test and maintain smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors.
- Ensure your furnace, wood stove and any other heating sources are in good working condition
- Have them inspected, maintained and cleaned. During the winter season, clean or replace furnace air filters each month.
- If you go on vacation, even for a few days, leave the heat on and have someone you trust check on your home while you are away.
- Although you are leaving the heat on, trying to keep the thermostat as low as possible while still keeping the house a comfortable temperature. For every degree you lower the thermostat, you'll save between 1 and 3 percent of your heating bill.
- Run water through all plumbing fixtures regularly.
- Prevent freezing of pipes by fitting exposed pipes with insulation sleeves or wrapping.
- Test plumbing shut-off valves.
- To locate your shut-off valves, check the inside perimeter of your home, street side. The valve can be shut off by turning the handle or knife-style valve clockwise.
- If you cannot find your shut-off valves, look on your property inspection report in section 6.1.
- The water can also be shut off at the meter by locating the ground-level metal or plastic trap door located near the street. (Call the water company emergency line before doing this) and use a wrench to turn house-side valve off, clockwise.
- Additional information can be found by googling ‘water company emergency line’ for your city.
- Make sure any outdoor hoses are drained and stowed away neatly. Turn off exterior water spigots. It's also a good idea to seal any water leaks around the place.
- Drain any air conditioner pipes, and make sure you don't have excess water pooled in equipment. If your A/C has a water shutoff valve, go ahead and turn that off.
- Inspect your attic for frost accumulation, and check your eavestroughs/gutters and roof for potential ice dams or icicles
- Keep your sidewalk and the front stairs of your house clear of snow and ice.
- Keep snow away from gas meters, gas appliance vents, exhaust vents and basement windows.
- Trim branches that are close to your house or electrical wires.
- If possible, pick up a window insulation kit at your local hardware or discount store. Properly installed window plastic is essentially invisible, so it won’t be noticeable. Window insulation adds a buffer against drafts and the extra still air space can give a nice boost to your home's ability to hold heat.
Stay cozy and safe!
Until next time,