Well we were pretty spoiled during December but winter has finally decided to show up. With the cold weather and show finally here, I have some helpful tips for all home owners.
1. Check and change for furnace filter. A clean filter will help your furnace run smoother and more efficiently this winter
2. Heading somewhere warm and sunny for a winter getaway? Ensure that you keep your furnace running while you are away. You can certainly set it to a lower temperature 19C – 20C is optimum to save on energy costs while maintaining the integrity of the new materials in your home. Make sure that you have someone who can check in on your home on a regular basis. Put your interior lights on timers to create the appearance that someone is home. Also remember those newspaper and flyer deliveries! It’s always wise to have a neighbour pick them up for you. Mounting piles are sure signs that you are away. Of utmost importance at this time of year is to ensure that you secure someone to clear your sidewalk and driveway approach regularly of snow and ice. Not only will this create the impression that your home is occupied, it will help in keeping walkways safe and avoiding possible tickets from the bylaw officers. Please check your local municipality’s website for bylaw regulations and timelines for snow removal.
3. Ice problems on your driveway or patio stones? Traditional rock salt can be extremely corrosive and will damage these surfaces. Instead, opt for an alternative ice melt compound, dry sand, or even grass fertilizer containing urea to help melt the ice. In a pinch, vinegar and hot water will do the job quite nicely as well!
4. Check your roof often for excessive snow and/or ice. Try to keep vents and lower roofs clear to reduce ice damming. If you are noticing an accumulation of ice buildup in your trough system, try to toss some ice melt (not rock salt) into the troughs to allow the ice to melt and the water to run freely again.
5. It is essential that you do a quick exterior inspection of your home on a regular basis. Make sure to clear snow away from all exhaust vents and cold cellar vents. Try to clear snow as best as possible from around the cold cellar walls to reduce condensation and frost buildup on the interior.
6. Monitor humidity levels in your home (normal range should be from 35 – 40%). Excessive humidity can lead to very heavy condensation on windows and cause cupping/warping of wood materials in your home including framing components, cabinetry, and hardwood flooring. If you notice a large amount of moisture building up on your windows, wipe them down and use Lysol wipes around the window frames to clean up and prevent mold and mildew from forming. Remember to keep your dehumidifier and bath/kitchen exhaust fans running in your new home (even during the winter months) to stay within the normal limits.
7. Before turning on your wood fireplace make sure to have it inspected or cleaned. The last thing you want is excessive smoke entering your home.
Follow these super easy steps tp help maintain your home during the cold months and make sure to stay warm and safe!