Canadians pride themselves on being able to withstand - and even flourish - during long months of weather that would make most Americans quiver. The end of 2020 has been somewhat mild weather-wise (a reprieve that is more than cancelled out by the cruelty of COVID-19), but rest assured the frozen precipitation and harsh temps are on the way!
However, we don't let our pride get in the way of preparedness. So, like in years past, make it a point to be ready for the fierce winter weather. Here are several suggestions on how to help your home (and you) battle the elements with even more success than before!
Dodge the Draught
Do you feel the breeze? On a cold winter’s day - that is most decidedly not a good thing. Now is the time to seal those windows and doors to keep the cold air out and the warm air in (this has the reverse effect in the summertime). In addition to the windows and doors, check around vents as well. If there are any cracks in the caulking- that is a sign that it should be replaced. Choose rubber caulking; it’s the most durable and weather resistant and mimics the natural expansion and contraction caused by changes in temperature. Also consider replacing the weather-stripping and seals around the doors.
Insulate Your Attic
Although your attic may be home to all of your groovy clothes from decades ago, along with loads of Knick knacks and memorabilia, your attic should also be well insulated. Heat rises after all, and your attic is your last line of defense before the heat seeps out of the roof.
Make sure your attic has at least 12-15 inches of carefully layered or blown-in insulation. Ensure that the space is properly sealed from the rest of the house with a vapour barrier as well. Ideally, your attic should be the same temperature that it is outside. If it’s not adequately sealed and insulated, you run the risk of cold seeping back down, and your expensive heat rising up through the cracks!
Drain Your Hose Bib
Your days of watering the lawn are over (at least for now). Make sure you shut off and drain all outdoor hoses. Drain your sprinkler systems and cap taps. Do this one quickly, before the temperatures fall (and stay) well below freezing, to avoid that frozen accumulation! Also, check the eaves to make sure that water is drained, and that there isn’t any residual water clogged by leaves leftover from the fall.
Window Air Conditioning Units
Bring those window A/C units inside! You are well aware that there is no need to cool the indoors in the winter months, but what is the point of heating the outdoors as well? You are leaving yourself a crack, and a draught and an avenue for cold air in, hot air out by leaving those units in year-round.
Swab the Deck
Cover up your patio furniture or store it away. Bring any pots and planters that might crack into the warmth for the duration of the season. After you’ve put your garden furniture away, give your deck a good clean, as a means of warding off mold and mildew. This would also be a good time to put extra sealant on, if necessary.
*Photo courtesy of CSDLandscaping
Trim Your Trees
And no, we’re not referring to the holiday tree trim. Although ice-covered branches are quite beautiful, they are a homeowner’s nightmare, especially if they should fall on your home! Prune back any oversized branches that may pose a threat to the structural soundness of your home.
It’s a good time to have your vents and ducts cleaned, to ensure the free flow of that warm air, and have an inspection of your fireplace and/or chimney done, so that you can cozy up in front of the fire as the snow falls outside!
Also, have your furnace cleaned and make sure it is in working order before the really chilly temperatures set in. Although you really should have been changing the filter on a monthly basis, if that particular job has fallen by the wayside, now is the time to attend to it.
This is an opportune time to stock an emergency kit, just in case you get really walloped by a winter storm. Have things like flashlights, blankets, batteries, candles, non-perishable food items, drinking water (two litres per adult per day), matches, and a battery-powered radio.
Make sure you’ve got all the supplies you need to manage the snow, like shovels and salt. Leave them somewhere accessible for the season:
*Photo courtesy of City Of Cambridge
~ Posted by Steven Fudge, the purveyor of houseporn.ca and proprietor of Urbaneer.com, a division of Bosley Real Estate Ltd., Brokerage.