Brrr! There’s a chill in the air, which means one thing is clear, winter is here! Before you dive into all of your favourite activities, like skiing, skating or toasting marshmallows by the fire, take the time to prepare your home for the months ahead. This could save you time and money down the road.
Here is our winter home checklist to help make sure your house is ready for the season:
Get your air conditioner, heating and ventilation ready for cooler weather
You probably won’t need your air conditioner in the coming months. Follow these steps to easily winterize your AC:
- Turn off your air conditioner
- Remove any debris, such as leaves or sticks that have accumulated from the fall season
- Cover your air conditioner with a breathable cover to avoid locking in moisture to protect your unit from heavy snow falls that could damage the coils over time
Make sure your heating system and ventilation is ready to heat your home
- Change your furnace’s filter and have it professionally inspected and maintained.
- Install programmable thermostats that can help lower heating costs.
- Take steps to ensure your fireplace is being used safely. This will help avoid potential fires and prevent carbon monoxide poisoning.
- Stack firewood off the ground and away from exterior structure walls to discourage pest infestations.
- Ensure your attic vents are cleaned or replaced so there are no ice dams. (Ice dams occur when ice and water build up on your roof due to melting snow and changing temperatures.)
- Examine exposed ducts in the attic, basement and crawl spaces and use a sealant to plug any leaks.
- Survey heating vents to make sure they are not blocked. You could end up spending more on energy to heat your home because of improper heat circulation.
Check your windows and doors
Winter is a great time to check your windows and doors to see if you are losing any precious heat! Here are a few things you can do to make sure you keep the warmth inside:
- Check the weather stripping around your windows and doorframes for leaks
- Examine any wooden window frames for any signs of decay or rot, and repair or replace where necessary to maintain structural integrity
- Search for drafts around windows and doors and caulk inside and out, where necessary, to keep heat from escaping
- Inspect windows for cracks, broken glass, or gaps and repair or replace, if needed
Clean your roof and gutters
If you didn’t have time to clean your roof and gutters in the fall, that’s okay! You can clean them now to avoid any possible issues that could occur with this season’s wet and colder weather.
- Clean fallen leaves and debris from your gutters to avoid obstructions that can cause water back-ups and leaks.
- Check for missing, damaged or warped shingles and replace, as necessary before you get stuck with a leak.
- Look for deteriorated roofing around the chimney, walls, skylights and around vent pipes. Seal joints where water could penetrate, using roofing cement and a caulking gun.
- Cover all vents and openings to prevent insects, birds and rodents from getting inside to nest in a warm place.
- Check your vents to ensure the roof boots are not cracked or loose, as this could cause leakage. (For those who aren’t in the know, roof boots are also known as vent pipe covers.)
Protect your outdoor spaces and fixtures
You’ve enjoyed your outdoor areas during the warmer months, and now it’s time to protect them for the future. See how you can safeguard your exterior spaces, fixtures and tools here:
- Trim overgrown branches back from the house and electrical wires to prevent iced-over or wind-swept branches from causing property damage or a power problem.
- Wrap outside faucets with covers to prevent water damage.
- Shut off exterior faucets and drain water from outdoor pipes, valves and sprinkler heads to protect against pipe bursts.
- Inspect your deck for splinters, decay or insect damage, and, if needed, treat to prevent further deterioration over the winter.
Make sure your tools and machinery are ready to go
Prepare to put away the tools you won’t be using the season and ensure your winter gadgets are ready for when you need them!
- Bring all spring, summer and fall tools inside and coat them with a thin coat of oil to prevent rust.
- Remove any attached hoses and store them away to prevent cracks, preserve their shapes and prolong their life.
- Winterize your lawn mower by cleaning off mud, leaves, grass and debris.
- Have your snow blower ready for the first snowfall by changing the oil and replacing the spark plug.
- Sharpen your ice chopper to make sure it’s ready for another season of work.
- Make sure you have an ample supply of ice melt or sand on hand for steps, walkways and the driveway.
Be prepared for potential power outages
With winter comes winter storms and increased potential for power outages. Be prepared this season with:
- Fresh bottled water
- Shelf-stable foods, flashlights and batteries
- First-aid supplies
- Hand-cranked radio
- Power banks
- Emergency lights
Call BrokerLink to get the right home insurance coverage
There’s nothing better than spending time in your cozy home this winter season. Before you hunker down under a blanket with a hot chocolate, be sure to take the time to prepare your home for the winter months ahead. It could save you time and money down the road.
In addition to getting your home prepared for the cold winter months, it’s important to make sure your home is protected with the right insurance. Make sure you have the right coverage for your home and the items you care about. Contact your BrokerLink broker to discuss protection for your home.
Winter home checklist FAQs
How do I get my roof ready for winter?
Ensure all vents and openings are covered to prevent insects, birds and rodents from getting inside. You should also check your vents to ensure the roof boots are not cracked or loose, as this could cause leakage. You will want to check for missing, damaged or warped shingles while you get your roof ready for the winter. If you find any issues with your shingles, make sure you replace as necessary.
What tools do I need to prepare before the winter arrives?
Have your snow blower ready for the first snowfall by changing the oil and replacing the spark plug. You will also want to get out your snow shovel and sharpen your ice chopper to make sure it’s ready for another season of work. Make sure you have an ample supply of ice melt or sand on hand for steps, walkways and the driveway.
How can I avoid chimney fires during winter?
Once a year, have your chimney inspected and cleaned by a professional. Burn only seasoned wood, such as hardwood. This type of wood is cleaner to burn and won’t emit harmful fumes. Be sure to keep the area around your fireplace free from any items that might catch fire or overheat. It’s also a good idea to have a screen protector in front of the fireplace to prevent any sparks landing in your living room.