As Toronto experiences our first big snow fall of the season, it’s time to think about preparing your home for winter!
Readying your home for a long, cold winter isn’t exactly as simple as preparing yourself for one. I mean, imagine you could just slap a pair of gloves on and wrap a scarf around your house for the season, and that be that? Ah, the dream!
Nevertheless, to adequately prepare your home for winter, it really only requires a few easy — if dedicated — steps. Ones that will not only leave the place feeling warm and toasty when it matters most, but actually save you money in the long run on expensive heating costs.
Replenish your mandatory cold-weather essentials
Forgetting to restock winter necessities like salt and ice melt can happen all too easily. As can replacing that shovel you lent your neighbour before they moved away — and forgot to return it — last year, or fixing up the trusty ol’ snowblower. I realize it’s no fun to do any of these things while your Canada Goose jacket and winter boots are still in storage. But better that than when the first ice storm arrives, agree?
Make sure your heating system is all tuned up
Yes, get a technician over posthaste to inspect your furnace or heat pump. They’ll make certain the system is clean and in good shape — so that it’ll achieve its manufacturer-rated efficiency — as well as measure any carbon-monoxide leakage. Again, act quick on this one. You don’t want to be the last person lined up for a repair on the frostiest day of the year! (Sigh, this has happened to me.)
If you’ve got gaps between window or door frames, as well as siding, then you’ve got a problem. Apply — or reapply — exterior caulk to seal them. As for what kind of caulk to use, silicon is pretty darn impervious to the elements, so I recommend that. It doesn’t shrink, either.
Or, install weatherstripping instead
If caulking isn’t your thing, seal a drafty door by installing foam or felt weatherstripping. Inquire at your local hardware store for the best products and installation instructions.
Proof your roof — this step rhymes so you won’t forget!
Loose, damaged or missing shingles often leak during relentless blizzards. Find ‘em and fix ‘em. Pay special attention to the flashing seals around your vent stacks and chimney, too. And keep in mind that fall leaves and pine needles hold in moisture, so if you’ve got a flat roof, you better rake them away before the inaugural snowfall.
When was the last time you had a chimney sweep?
On the topic of your chimney, getting a proper sweep done will stop chimney fires and carbon monoxide from sneaking into the house. Personally, I couldn’t think of anything worse when burning the classic Yule log at Christmas.
Nip ice dams in the bud
Icicles are one thing, but ice dams are a whole other can of worms. After all, they’re prone to causing meltwater to back up, which can subsequently flow into your home. The best preventative measure is to have a weatherization contractor identify and repair the kind of air leaks and insufficient insulation that will cause them.
Did I miss anything?
Of course I did! Truth is, I could easily a list of a couple dozen other steps, but admittedly, I deem these the most crucial. Moreover, if I went on any longer here, it might keep you from actually going out and being proactive about preparing your home for the impending winter. And I certainly wouldn’t want to do that!