Prepare Your Home for Winter in 16 Simple Steps
As winter approaches, it's time to ready your home for the cold months ahead. The Institute for Catastrophic Loss Reduction reports that winter storms have cost Canadians over $5.4 billion in damages, emphasizing the importance of proactive winter preparation. Whether you own a house, cottage, or vacation property, take these steps to safeguard your home:
Around the Yard:
- Leaf Management: Rake or use a leaf blower to clear dry leaves before rain arrives. Avoid placing leaf bags near buildings to prevent potential fire hazards.
- Tree Trimming: Remove dead branches from trees close to structures to prevent damage from snow and ice. Call a professional for tall or heavy trees.
- Shrub Protection: Wrap shrubs in burlap to shield them from winter frost.
- Patio Furniture Storage: Store outdoor furniture in a shed or securely wrap it under a tarp to prevent damage during high winds.
- Driveway Maintenance: Clean and seal your driveway to protect it from winter weather.
- Gutter Cleaning: Clear debris from gutters and downspouts to ensure proper drainage. Consider professional help if needed.
Outside the House:
- Prevent Ice Damming: Address warm roof issues by sealing leaks, improving insulation, and ensuring adequate venting. Consult professionals for repairs.
- Plumbing Protection: Drain irrigation systems, remove garden hoses, and turn off water to hose bibbs to prevent freezing.
- Weather Stripping and Caulking: Check and replace damaged caulking and weather stripping around windows and doors.
- Seal Openings: Use steel wool or pest-blocking foam to plug holes and cracks, preventing vermin from entering your home.
- Organize Tools: Store summer tools, equipment, and toys; bring out winter equipment like snow blowers and shovels.
- Roof Inspection: Look for signs of roof stress inside the house and conduct outdoor inspections. Call a professional for sagging rooflines.
Inside the House:
- Furnace Maintenance: Replace furnace filters, cover AC condensers, and check smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. Schedule professional inspections.
- Electric Baseboards: Clear debris from electric baseboards and ensure they are free of obstructions.
- Chimney Sweep: Inspect the chimney for cracks and gaps; consider using chimney sweeping logs or schedule a professional chimney sweep.
- Pipe Insulation: Insulate exposed water pipes in unheated areas to prevent freezing and potential damage.
Invest a little time now to save yourself from the hassle and expense of winter-related repairs. Proactive maintenance ensures peace of mind and a cozy winter ahead!