Winterize Your Home

Some of us are all about winter and the many activities it brings: skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, shinny on the outdoor rink.

Others of us are all about “how hot can I get that fireplace going?”

No matter, that leads us up to it being time to check on a few details about our owned properties, to keep them in tip-top shape.

We’ve compiled a list of winterizing tips

to help you out, with input from our associates at Odds On Home Inspection.

 

Furnace inspection – nobody wants to find out on the first bone-chilling morning that the furnace no longer works

– have your furnace inspected annually (at the time of writing) ATCO gas offers free furnace inspections on a first-come, first-served basis; they book up quickly during the in-season, so plan to get an inspection booked with them earlier in the summer (otherwise choose a trusted provider to book an inspection)

– ensure you replace the filter on a regular basis

– keep duct work cleaned (follow a trusted provider’s instructions: 2-5 years is general information but your circumstances will dictate if you need to have them cleaned sooner due to pollution/allergens)

Smoke and carbon monoxide detectors – (check in fall and spring)

– test and/or replace the batteries in your detectors to keep them working

– check the expiry date or recommended replacement date on detectors and follow manufacturer instructions

Fireplace/wood stove/chimney

– have these inspected to ensure they’re working properly and any build up is cleared from the chimney

– check wood supply and restock if needed

Gutters/downspouts – so easy to overlook – (well not really unless you live on a ladder…)

– remember to check them and ensure they’re clear after the bulk of leaves have fallen

– they should direct water from the property and away from the foundation

– you may need to add an extension if a downspout ends too close to your foundation

– how do the shingles look while you’re up there

– any soft spots evident

– are there any branches scraping the roof that should be trimmed

– minimize ice-damming opportunities when heavy snow falls

Doors/windows/exterior/attic – skip the cold drafts in the house to save heat loss

– check for air leaks and seal them up

– take a look at your address on the My Heat map to see what heat loss you may be experiencing

– you may need to top up or replace some attic insulation

Radon – the best time to test for (an accurate) reading is through the colder months when a property is closed for winter

– consider arranging for a long-term radon test and analysis to see where your numbers are at

– not sure what this is – click to read more on another blog post

Pipes/taps – frozen pipes can burst

– drain all exposed plumbing pipes and air conditioner pipes or get them well insulated

– remove hoses and shut water off to the exterior taps/irrigation

Be prepared – time to make like a boy scout and ensure you have the tools you need to get through winter

– shovels, scrapers, ice melt etc.

– if you have a snowblower does it need a tune up

– are there any loose or uneven sidewalk steps that need to be addressed (this makes shovelling easier too as well as minimizing trips)

Dryer vent/duct – prevent a dryer fire

– is lint trap clean and free from lint

– is the vent free from lint

– can critters get in

Outdoor furniture

– store or cover to help prolong its lifespan

Garden

– often this is a good time to trim shrubs back; by the time spring arrives the new buds are there

– plant fall bulbs

Make a just-in-case plan

Calgary.ca recommends making an emergency action plan as well as a 72-hour emergency preparedness kit; so many of us think these things will ‘never happen to us’ but you can bet that if it does, you’ll be grateful you prepared (available in multiple languages on the Calgary.ca site)

Calgary emergency Are You Ready_English

Calgary emergency 72hr-checklist

 

This is a basic reminder list and you may have things at your house that need managing differently or that aren’t mentioned here. If you’re not capable or interested in completing the winterization of your property, consult skilled professionals that can help you out.

When the snow flies – maybe you can help out a neighbour or maybe you’re the neighbour that needs help. Either way, check with your community association to see about a Snow Angel match up!