Back Off, Old Man Winter

Old Man Winter is on his way... Don't let him sneak up and whack you from behind. (If you live in Manitoba or Saksatchewan, this warning is a little late!)

Here are some tips to "winter-proofing" (as if!) your home - or, at least, ways to keep the old frosty dude from doing more damage than he has to.

1. Furnace Inspection

  • Call an HVAC professional to inspect your furnace
  • Stock up on furnace filters and change them monthly
  • Consider turning on your furnace to make sure it works before you really need it. You may briefly notice a burning smell, don't panic right away, this is usually some of the dust in the ducts and radiators being burnt off by the first blast of heat

2. Check Exterior of your Home

  • Check your driveway (if paved) for any cracks that may have developed over the summer. Seal themnow, or water will get into them and freeze, making them bigger and more costly to fix in the Spring
  • Bring in your lawn/deck furniture and barbeque, or cover them with tarps, tied down, so there is less chance of rust

3. Seal Doors, Windows

  • Inspect exterior for crevice cracks and exposed entry points around pipes, and seal them. Cracks could expand and cause more damage in the spring when things start to thaw, and the spring rains come, resulting in a lot of leaking
  • Use weather stripping around doors to prevent cold air from entering the home and caulk windows, tightly. Take a putty knife and remove the old caulking
  • If you have an older home, you might want to consider putting plastic up to hold the heat in a little better
  • Storm windows can make a huge difference far as both comfort and energy savings are concerned

4. Inspect Roof, Gutters, Downspouts

  • Replace worn roof shingles or tiles; nail down loose shingles. Ice or snow getting under the shingles can cause a lot of damage to your roof
  • Next time you have a heavy rain, go outside and check to see how the water flows in the gutters. If they're over flowing, chances are they need to be cleaned out of the falling fall leaves or they need to be replaced with larger gutters

5. Check Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors

  • Buy extra smoke detector batteries and change them when daylight savings ends
  • Test smoke and carbon monoxide detectors to make sure they work

6. Prevent Plumbing Freeze

  • Turn off the water supply to ALL outside water taps and drain the hoses (bring hoses indoors)
  • Insulate exposed plumbing pipes
  • Locate your water main, in the event you need to shut it off in a wintertime emergency

7. Prepare your Yard

  • Take the time to trim your trees and shrubs and cover the little ones with burlap so the weight of the snow doesn't break their branches
  • Spread some bark much in your gardens to help your perennials get through the winter months

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