Winterize Your Home Before the Cold Arrives!
So you’ve found your winter attire in the bottom of the closest and have stocked up on your favourite hot drinks and soups.
You are ready for below zero temperatures, but what about your home? Is it ready to endure the cold months ahead?
‘Winter is coming’ they say, not just in Game of Thrones, but also in Calgary, and there’s no telling how soon or how late it will arrive. It seems that this year our city has skipped the Fall season entirely, fast-forwarding straight into winter by the end of September.
As a home owner, it’s important that you take precautionary steps in order to prevent damage and add comfort to your home during winter. So, here are 20 ways you can winterize your home before it’s too late. Also see:
#1 – Inspect Your Home’s Exterior for Leaks
Inspect your home’s interior and exterior for any cracks or leaks. Seal them with the appropriate method.
Remember that caulking is done ideally in a warm ambiance. Make sure to check what the best way is to caulk any leaks you find in your home first online or with your local home department store expert first.
#2 – Add a Layer of Insulation in the Attic
If your home gets really cold, try adding a layer of insulation to your attic.
If you are putting more insulation on top of an existing layer, make sure you don’t use a type of insulation that acts as a vapor barrier as it can cause moisture to build and create mold.
#3 – Use Window Coverings to Trap Heat
Consider covering your windows with plastic insulation. Insulator kits are found at home department stores such as RONA and the Home Depot and are an affordable means to keep the heat from escaping through your windows.
If you want to go an extra step you can tape up some bubble wrap as well; you’re friends and family might think your some kind of crazy, but you’ll hopefully be saving money on the heating bill!
#4 – Test Your Furnace
Put your furnace through its paces before the cold comes by turning it on. There will be a strange, short-lasting smell; simply aerate the area to remove the smell.
If the odour persists, turn it off and call a furnace professional to come and look at it. There may be something wrong and it needs to be fixed as soon as possible!
#5 – Get an Inspection / Cleaning for Your Furnace
It’s never a bad idea to have your furnace inspected and cleaned on an annual basis as is. Doing so makes sure your furnace is in tip top shape for many winters to come.
#6 – Buy Your Filters in Advance
Stock up on furnace filters and check them regularly during the winter. A dirty filter will impede the efficiency of your furnace as air flow is restricted, and in dire cases could cause a fire.
Different filters need to be changed at different intervals, but its usually somewhere between every two to three months. Many people switch the filter every six months.
#7 – Consider Replacing Your Old Furnace
If you’re furnace is outdated, upgrading to a new on may be ideal to save money.
They say that old furnaces can use up to 50 percent more energy than new ones and don’t warm your house as efficiently as well. A healthy furnace is key to winterizing your Calgary home!
#8 – Clear Your Eaves Trough
Get on the roof carefully with your tool of choice (a spatula, broom or even your hand with a set of gloves works great) and remove any clutter from your eaves trough.
If possible, grab the hose and spray out any remaining residue assuming that the weather outside isn’t cold enough to cause you ice problems along your walkways.
#9 – Inspect Your Roof
Having blockage in your rain gutters can cause water to accumulate and freeze, causing ice dams that can create unwanted water flow and intrusion into the base structure of your house, window sills and even into your home itself.
#10 – Point Drain Pipes Away from Your Home’s Base
Make sure your gutter spouts drain and carry any of Mother Nature’s precipitate well away from the foundation of your home.
#11 – Where’s Your Main Water Valve?
Make sure you know where the main water switch is in case of an emergency. If you plan on leaving your home for an extended period of time, turn the heat up a little bit. It might be -15 Celsius one day but drop to -30 Celsius the next, so that added heat will help prevent pipes from bursting.
Also, remember to check with your insurance company as being away for an extended period of time and not having any one check on your home can cause your insurance to be void in the case of frozen pipes or other winter weather related issues.
#12 – Drain Your Pipes
Drain any air conditioners you might have. If there is a water shut off valve for your AC, close it.
Also drain all of your pipes leading to any outdoor water faucets as well as any garden hoses you might have.
Irrigation systems also need to be blown clean with air so that water doesn’t accumulate and crack the pipes in sub-zero temperatures.
#13 – Wrap Your Exterior Pipes with Insulation
If your home has any exposed outdoor plumbing, wrapping the pipes in insulation will go a long way in preventing any freezing from occurring.
#14 – Check Your Winter Equipment
#14 – Replace any worn snow shovels and brooms. Consider getting an ice scraper to remove that nasty ice on the driveway / walkways we’ve all had a nasty experience with at one point or another in our lives.
Also, don’t skimp on buying the best snow shovel. The ergonomic design and best materials used by the more expensive shovels are worth the extra expense and will save your back and make the job easier.
#15 – Buy Some De-Icer or Sand
#15 – Stock up on some bags of sand and ice melt to spread on your walkways.
#16 – Install a Car Starter
#16 – Consider installing a car starter if you don’t have one already, especially if you park outside. There’s nothing better than starting your ice-cold car up before getting inside of it every morning!
#17 – Clean Your Garage
#17 – Many of us are guilty of using our garage as a storage space instead of what it’s actually intended for.
Consider decluttering your garage so that you can park your car inside while allowing yourself to walk comfortably without slip and trip hazards that come with having wet shoes and slushy floors.
#18 – Buy Some Survival Gear
#18 – You never know when an outdoor storm could cause issues with electricity in your community. Buy some lighters and/or matches and some candles, so you can see in the dark in case of a power shortage.
Consider buying an electrical back-up system to protect yourself from living in the dark for a while. This also goes if you have a fish tank; your fishies can’t live too long without the components of their home in working order!
#19 – Keep Utilities on Your Contact List
Have the phone numbers of your utility providers handy; inside the front page of the phone book perhaps or on the whiteboard beside the phone
#20 – Buy Some Non-Perishable Food & Drink
Stock up on non-perishable food and water, as well as a first-aid kit and blankets and have an evacuation plan in case of an emergency situation. You just never know if you’ll need them or not!