Winter Check List - April 9th 2005
Getting ready for winter doesn't have to take weeks or months and it doesn't have to cost a fortune. If you take care of the basics you'll save yourself hundreds of dollars in costly repairs for such things as winter damage and heat loss. Most people can do their own work and it doesn't need to be a back-breaking regimen of chores.
1. Check and install weather-strip. Homeowners who "heat the neighbourhood" because of poor or insufficient weather stripping waste hundreds of dollars on heating bills when $50 will weather-strip most homes.
2. Check attic insulation. Many homes have insufficient insulation, another source of heat loss. Average homes should have between R-8 (8 inches) to R-40 (12 inches) of insulation in the attic, more in colder climates. New breakthroughs in insulation feature recycled glass as an environmental alternative.
3. Caulk any gaps on the exterior of your home and also around windows and doors.
4. Install storm windows if single pane glass or upgrade to new Power Smart windows.
5. Clean gutters and install gutter guards to protect from heavy rain damage and overflows from being plugged with leaves and needles.
6. Change your furnace filter at least 3 times each year. During the winter, when your furnace is working overtime, a clean filter goes a long way toward better effectiveness. Furnace ducts should be cleaned every 3 - 5 years.
7. Shut off outside faucets and drain back preventing frozen pipes.
8. Dolomite lime your lawn and add some fall-winter fertilizer. This will keep it healthy during the winter.
9. Drain and store your garden hose. Don't leave it out all winter as water freezes and cracks the hose.
10. Check roof shingles, flashings and chimney bricks for leaks.
11. Clean your fireplace chimney. Those fires from last winter have left a lot of creosote behind. Clean it out before you start to fire up the fireplace.
12. Shut off foundation vents in crawl space to prevent heat loss from your home.
13. Check your household smoke alarm and add fresh batteries.
14. Empty gas from lawnmower, or put in gas additive for easier startup.
15. Stock up on sale, snow shovels and windshield scrapers. These items are at a premium when that first unexpected snowfall hits.