We are approaching mid fall and although the "first day of winter" is December 21st, we all know that the first big storm could hit us very soon. While the weather is still "good", now is the time to take care of that fall maintenance to do list. If you are new to homeownership check out this checklist from the CMHC website http://www.cmhc.ca/en/co/maho/gemare/gemare_003.cfm or refer back to your Home Inspection booklet, which likely has many good tips.
I wanted to touch on a few fall maintenance tips that most inspectors will stress during an inspection.
The first is to get a service contract/ protection plan for your furnace and heating system. These run for about $14-$20 per month and include an annual cleaning and safety inspection. Should something happen to your furnace (like it shutting down on the coldest Saturday in February) you will be covered for the service, parts and repairs. The annual cost of these service contracts are far less than what you would pay should your furnace stop working and you need to have it serviced or repaired.
There are lots of companies that offer this program, so shop around and find one that is right for you. Here is a link to the Holmes Heating section on their protection plan:
The second point I wanted to make is in regards to covering your A/C units for the winter. Now you can go to the store and spend 50 bucks on a fancy vinyl cover, however, this is not necessary and in fact can be detrimental to your unit. The reason for covering your unit is to keep snow/ice from falling on the unit and damaging the blades, not to keep it dry. Let’s not forget these units are made to be outside. Vinyl covers will suffice in protecting the blades, however on warm day, when the sun is shinning, creating condensation, moisture will rise up into your unit and get trapped there. This can lead to rust or the moisture could harden to ice and bend the blades. The best way to cover your unit is to put a piece of plywood on the top with something to weigh it down. This will keep snow/ice from falling on the unit and allow for air to blow through, eliminating the problem of trapped moisture.
I hope these tips help and good luck to all as we prepare for a great winter (hopefully a short one)!