11 money-saving winterizing things to do now
Outdoor maintenance took a backseat to summer pleasure at my house.
But with fall officially here, it’s time to clean up my act and the exterior of the house before winter sets in. According to the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), fall can be the most gruelling season for your home, and I would add, the owners. Thousands of dollars in repairs can be saved with preventative maintenance, and also energy costs. Here’s my family's maintenance checklist. Click here to read CMHC’s seasonal checklist.
Install storm windows: My 80-year-old dining room storm windows need to keep the weather outside for at least another five years before they’re replaced by patio doors. This weekend they’ll be treated to a light sanding followed by painting.
Remove window screens: Over the next few weeks, we’ll be leaning our screens against a tree, spraying them with the garden hose, and then leaving them in the sun to dry. We hoist them into the attic and cover lightly with a used bed sheet to keep dust and heavy objects away.
Eavestroughs and downspouts: Make sure leaves and debris are removed from the eavestroughs. We’ve had a sapling grow in our gutters and then experienced the resulting leak in the basement. We’ve learned our lesson and have them cleaned professionally in the fall and the spring including the downspout. As Leslie Anderson of The Gutter Shop, previously told the Toronto Star, "There's no point in cleaning the eaves if your downspout is blocked.”
Empty the rain barrel: When the City of Toronto started disconnecting downspouts from sewers, many homeowners placed a rain barrel at the end of the downspout. Before the first frost comes, drain the water or else the ice may crack the barrel.
Weatherstripping: Ensure all windows, doors and skylights shut tightly, including the door between your house and garage; repair or replace weatherstripping, as needed.
Covers: Use vinyl covers over the air conditioner, the barbecue, and any outdoor furniture you can’t store inside a garage or shed. Do not store a gas or propane barbecue indoors. Our 8-year-old gas barbecue is used all winter long and the tight cover keeps it well protected even in storms.
Drain and store outdoor hoses: Close the valve to the outdoor hose connection and drain the faucet unless you want the water to freeze, crack the water pipe and burst inside your basement.
Heating systems: Make sure your gas, oil, or other non-electric heating system, is serviced by a qualified company (every two years for a gas furnace and every year for an oil furnace or in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions).
Radiators and Boilers: Bleed air from the hot water radiators, and turn the gas furnace pilot light on.
Chimney or combustion vent: Check for nests or other obstructions before turning on your heating system. We have this checked the same time our gutters are cleaned. If you have a furnace, check and clean or replace filters on a monthly basis during the heating season.
Baseboards: Gently vacuum in and around hot water baseboard and electric baseboard heaters to remove dust. Remove the grilles on forced-air heating systems and vacuum inside the ducts. Ensure airflow dampers are open.