Whether you like it or not, winter is here, and it’s time to get your home ready for winter. There’s more than just stocking up on ice melt and digging out your snow shovel. Take a look through our tips and tricks, and download our printable checklist to get your home winter ready in no time.
- Tidy out your Eavestrough and Downspouts
In the fall, leaves and debris can clog up your eavestrough, creating a space for water to sit and leak into your house. Although cleaning out your rain gutters can take some time, it’s an important step to take to avoid water damage.
A congested eavestrough also creates a great habitat for bugs and critters to nest in, and gives them a good vantage point into your home. Make sure you clean your rain gutters regularly to avoid potential damage caused by these unwanted visitors.
- Get Your Caulking Gun Ready
Taking the time to caulk around windows and doors can stop cold air from getting in, and warm air form getting out. Even if you did this in the spring, you might want to double check your seal and make sure you covered everything well. Caulking can save you some cash on your energy bills, and get rid of any cold drafts you might experience in the cold weather. It’s also important to caulk around any other areas that lead to outside your home, such as pipes, vents, and cables.
- Look Over Your Weather Stripping
If you can see cracks in your weather stripping around your exterior doors, windows, and attic, it’s time to replace it. Weather stripping does need to be redone every few years, and loses effectiveness over time. As well, if you can feel a draft when the doors and windows are closed, it might be time to review the type of weather stripping you’re using, or double check to make sure it was installed accurately.
- Check Your Roof and Chimney
It is important to check your roof before heavy snowfall begins, just in case there is a problem, you won’t have to be on your roof in the dead of winter, trying to fix the issue. Problems can come from bugs or animal infestation, severe weather and other natural impacts, and just general degradation. An asphalt roof usually lasts between 15 to 20 years, and should be checked regularly for shingles that might be loose or missing, or shingles that are moldy and have signs of decay.
You should also check the caulking around vents to ensure there is a good seal, as well as look over your chimney for critters or broken parts. You can also check inside your attic for damage from water or critters, and make sure there are no nests from furry visitors.
If you don’t want to risk going onto your roof or in your attic, you can always hire a professional to check it over.
- Store Away Your A/C Unit
If you have an air-conditioning unit, stash it away for the winter. Putting it away before the cold can prevent your room from becoming drafty, and can also prevent damage to the unit from the cold. If you have central air-conditioning should be shut off, both through a switch on the A/C unit, but also turn it off through the breaker on your electrical panel.
- Turn off Any Outside Faucets or Drains
Faucets and drains that connect outside the home have a risk of freezing. Freezing can cause pipes and faucets to burst, which will cause greater damage and lead to expensive repairs.
Turn off the shut-off valve to outside faucets from inside the home. You can find this shut off valve in the basement around the same area where the faucet exists outside. After you completely close the valve, empty your faucet outside to get rid of any residual water. If you can, pad all your pipes that run outside to completely protect them.
- Check Over Your Furnace
Even though you might not have used your furnace all summer, you should first check and replace your furnace filter. Furnace filters should be replaced every 1-3 months (depending on the quality of your filter), and changing the filter can keep your furnace running smoothly and efficiently, as well as keep your inside air at a higher quality. If your furnace is running efficiently, you’re spending less money on your heating bills. Double check your filter size to make sure you’re getting the right fit for your furnace.
Some furnaces will have a permanent filter. In this case, follow the instructions on cleaning and caring for it, and don’t use just any cleaner. Make sure you use a recommended cleaner, since this will have an effect on the air you breathe inside your home.
Have your furnace inspected if it’s over 15 years old, to make sure everything is in working condition. As well, if you have pets it’s a good idea to get your ducts cleaned.
And lastly, don’t forget to:
- Change out your light bulbs to halogen bulbs – this will save you money on your energy bills
- Check your smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors – replace the batteries and ensure they are in working order
- Ensure your fire extinguishers are up to date and in good condition
- Empty out your rain barrels and store them in the garage
- Tuck away all your summer tools and equipment, and bring out your shovels and snow blowers
- Look over your fireplace and ensure it is clean
- Check over your dryer vent and ensure it is clean
Have any more tips or tricks on getting your home ready for winter? Share them in the comments below!