Winter Checklist - November 14th 2014
Q: We purchased our first home this year. We are thrilled to be homeowners and are busy learning all about owning our own home. We want to be sure that we have everything in order for winter. Can you help us with a checklist of things to do?
A: Yes, there are several things you can do to make your home more comfortable for winter. You can also make sure your home is more energy efficient and catch things that may cost money later.
1. Check weatherstripping on doors and windows. Install new weatherstrip as needed. You do not want to heat the neighbourhood when new weather stripping could save hundreds of dollars in heating bills.
2. Insufficient insulation in the attic can be another source of heat loss. An average home should have between R-28 (eight inches) to R-50 (16 inches) of insulation in the attic. You can use an insulation that features recycled glass as an environmental alternative.
3. Caulk any gaps that you may see on the outside of your home between siding or around windows and doors.
4. If your home has single-pane windows, install storm windows or upgrade to Power Smart windows.
5. Clean gutters and install gutter guards to protect from heavy rain damage and overflow from leaves and needles plugging the gutters.
6. Change furnace filters at least three times a year. When your furnace is working overtime during the winter, a clean filter will be much more effective. Furnace ducts should be cleaned every three to five years.
7. Shut off water to the outside of your home and drain outdoor faucets.
8. Drain and store garden hoses. Don’t leave them outside as water can freeze inside, cracking them.
9. Clean the chimney, if required. Fires from last winter may have left creosote behind, and this needs to be cleaned out.
10. Shut off foundation vents into the crawl space to prevent heat loss.
11. Empty gas from the lawn mower or put on a gas additive for easier start up in the spring.
12. Stock up on safety salt, snow shovels and windshield scraper. These will always be hard to find if there’s an unexpected snowfall.
13. Very important: Check all household smoke alarms and CO Detectors and install fresh batteries.