Hello Winter! Well, it's not quite officially winter just yet, but if you live in and around Calgary, you've been reminded that it's just around the corner.
Mother nature gave us a huge wake-up call with a big wallop of the white stuff. I mean, we knew the unusually seasonably warm days would someday end but that someday came abruptly overnight last Friday with a huge dump of snow that supposedly wasn’t supposed to stick but it did, and 3 days later, it’s still here.
Alas, we are shifting yet again from one season to the next and as we creep closer and closer to colder days, there are a few key things to do to ensure your home is ready for this winter. Take a look at this checklist and start checking things off to make this cold snowy season the best one it can be.
Make sure your gutters are empty and clear of debris to ensure that water doesn’t get stuck in them. If it does, it could freeze and expand and cause drainage problems. It’s also a good time to make sure they are properly sloped to ensure complete drainage.
Having a well-insulated and properly vented attic is extremely important during the winter months! If your attic is doing its job, your furnace will not have to work overtime and your wallet will thank you. If you need to add insulation, this is the time to do it, if you do, make sure it’s properly vented to ensure moisture can still escape so you can prevent attic rain, an issue that plagues many Calgary homes due to the freeze-thaw cycle we experience here.
MIND THE GAPS
Check the seals, caulking, and weather stripping on all your windows and doors to keep the hot air in and the cold air out. Don't forget the garage door, especially if it's attached to your home. A little silicone caulking can go a long way. Sealing those little gaps can keep the heat from escaping your home and make a huge difference in keeping your place cozy and warm. Weatherstripping for your doors is also a good thing to check as a lot of heat will escape from this part of your home. If it’s not possible to seal or make any kind of permanent change, a pillow or door cozy will also help keep the heat in and the cold out. Want to take it to the next level, you can go as far as swapping out single-pane windows for double or triple-panned ones to increase energy efficiency.
DRAIN THE HOSE
Watering season is most definitely over so it’s time to drain your hose and roll it up until the Spring. If water remains in the hose, it can crack and you’ll have an unpleasant surprise in the Spring. For the majority of homes, you can turn off water valves inside your home and then drain all remaining water from the taps and hoses. A downward slop will help ensure that every last drop escapes.
VENTS AND AIR INTAKE
This applies to attic vents but also to your exterior air intake vent which is connected to your furnace, ensure there is nothing blocking this because once it starts to get colder, ice can form in and around it and can increase the potential for ice forming in the opening so make sure to keep those stacked patio chairs, tables, and toys away from this.
CLEAN THE CHIMNEY
Wood-burning fireplaces are lovely and such a treat over the winter months but it’s also something to put on your winter checklist. Once you’ve cozied up to about your 70th fire it will be time to get your chimney inspected and cleaned of excess creosote because it could cause a chimney fire. Three mm of build-up is usually a good rule of thumb for calling a chimney sweep.
PREP YOUR POTS AND PLANTERS
Most people will put these away over the winter but if they are exposed to the elements, make sure to remove the soil because the soil holds moisture, and frozen moisture will expand and potentially crack your pots.
Don’t neglect the one thing that keeps you from turning into a popsicle while you sleep, the furnace needs a little love to ensure it runs smoothly when you need it most. The one thing you can do to help ensure it works properly and efficiently all winter is to replace the filters regularly. This will help it run at its optimal level. It should be done regularly but more often in the winter when it runs the most.
Take the time to check some of these off your list before the mercury drops! Investing a little time and energy in prepping your home for the winter months can help save you money and potentially prevent an unpleasant situation from happening in the depths of winter. Happy prepping and stay warm!