Winterizing your home: What you need to know

Oct 7, 2013 2 minute read

Winterizing your home: What you need to know

There’s a briskness in the air that only means one thing: winter is on its way. Before you grab your skis or stock up on hot chocolate, take the time to prepare your home for the months ahead. It could save you time and money down the road.

Here are some quick and easy things to check to ensure your house is ready for winter weather:

  • The drop in temperature may send you running to the thermostat. Before you do, check to make sure your furnace filter is clean and sized properly. You may consider hiring a qualified specialist to clean and check all furnace parts are working as they should, and replace any that aren’t. If necessary, vacuum the hot and cold air registers to eliminate any dust that may have built up over the summer.
  • It’s a sure sign of autumn when the leaves change colours and start to fall. They may be beautiful, but make sure they aren’t clogging your eavestroughs. Blockages can cause the rain water to back up. Standing water will freeze as the weather cools, causing eavestroughs and downspouts to expand and crack. Break out the ladder and clean out any leaves, dirt and debris.
  • While you’re on your ladder, check the roof for any damaged shingles or small holes. When the snow falls, it’ll build up on your roof so you want to make sure there aren’t any opportunities for leaks. Pay special attention to any areas where the roof meets other structures, such as around the chimney.
  • Going to snuggle up by the fire? If your fireplace has been out of use for a while, check the chimney for debris, animals or leaves. You can get a screen installed over the opening to make sure nothing gets in during the winter.
  • Speaking of fires, take a moment to test your smoke alarm and carbon monoxide detectors. Check the batteries regularly throughout the winter and remember to change them whenever you change the clocks.
  • To make sure your heating is as efficient as possible, check the weather stripping around your windows and doors. If there’s any damage, it’s an invitation for cold drafts to come in and for your hot air to escape.
  • Shovelling is one of the downsides of the winter months. To make the job easier, check the concrete on your driveway for any cracks, fissures or joints. If you can smooth the surface now, it’ll make your chores that much easier in the coming weeks and months.

The inside of your home is just as important as the outside.  Consider the following:

  • Inspect all hoses on the washing machine and dishwasher.
  • If you have a sump pump installed, be sure it is in good working order and  check the float.  You can test this by slowly pouring water into the sump tank, the float should rise and pump should start. The water level will drop quickly and the float will shut off the pump.
  • To check if the battery is working on your sump pump,  turn the power off and run the pump.

Whether you’re leaving for the ski hills or hibernating for the winter, make sure your home is properly prepared for the cold weather. Part of being prepared means having proper home insurance in place.  Contact your BrokerLink broker to make sure you’re covered before your home is covered in snow.