Winter is coming! Snowy mountain getaways, get-togethers with friends, a craving for fondue and the magic of the holidays are on their way. Canadians love the winter, but to enjoy it to the fullest, it’s best to be well prepared. Discover our easy tips to help you get your home ready for the cold.
Preparing your home interior for winter
Insulate the doors and windows
-Pass your hand around the door and window frames leading to the outside. Do you feel a fresh breeze on your palm? If so, it’s time to install (or replace) the weather stripping. This is also a good time to seal your windows up with cheap and effective weather strip film.
-Clean the heating and ventilation systems. It’s time to remember that hot air rises and cold air descends. Before turning your heat on, here are three things to consider:
Clean your electric baseboards to prevent bad odours the moment they come back on;
Quickly test each one out to ensure that they’re all working properly;
If you live in a house, start by heating the basement and the garage.
-If you have an air exchanger, make sure to clean it before using it or you’ll find yourself in a house full of the dust that’s accumulated in the pipes over the months.
Double-check the detectors
When was the last time you tested the smoke and carbon monoxide detectors? Now that you’re prepping for winter, it’s a good time to change the batteries and clean the traces of dust that have accumulated. It takes only a minute to feel safer and sounder in your home.
Measure the household radon
Have you ever heard of radon? Did you know it’s the second cause of lung cancer after smoking? Radon is a radioactive gas that comes from uranium, which is naturally present in the soil and rock. It can infiltrate buildings, most often through the foundations. As this gas is invisible, odourless and tasteless, it’s impossible to detect it with the senses. To measure the radon concentration in your home, you’ll need a radon detector. If the measurements show that corrective measures are necessary, you’ll want to hire a certified contractor to ensure the air in your home is as safe as possible.
Have the chimney swept
If you’re lucky enough to have a fireplace to keep you extra cozy for the winter, have the chimney inspected and cleaned before using it. For the sake of fire safety, this step must not be neglected. In fact, many Canadian cities have regulations concerning this.
Preparing your home exterior for the winter
Put away the patio furniture
If you haven’t already stored away your patio tables, chairs and barbeque, make sure to clean them well with soapy water and dry them. A tip to avoid rust developing on your barbeque is to brush the grills with vegetable oil, then wrap them in newspaper.
Inspect the gutters, roof and exterior walls
It’s inspection time! It may not be the most enjoyable chore, but it’s essential! With autumn comes the falling leaves that look beautiful, but also clog up your gutters. Empty your gutters of accumulated leaves and other debris and make sure they are still firmly attached. Since you’re already outside, verify that no roof shingles are broken, unstuck or bent out of shape. If any are damaged, now is the time to replace them: you don’t want a water infiltration at minus 30 degrees with 40 centimetres of snow on the roof. Now take a tour around your house (or apartment) and scrupulously inspect the exterior walls for developing cracks that need repair. If you find any, make sure to seal them to keep water out: the freezing and thawing of water can cause major damage.
Empty the exterior pipes
They say an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. To avoid having your water pipes freeze and burst, empty all the exterior taps and shut off the valves until next spring.
Now get ready for some winter cocooning and enjoy the season with peace of mind. Looking for more tips? You’ll find even more advice and pointers in our winter and home prevention article.