Here in Alberta, we usually hope for now snow until November. That means we only have a month to get our homes ready for winter! Frost warnings started in late August, so we may as well get a move on… Not sure where to start? I’ve got some tips and tricks for you - read on.
We all know how frigid it can get outside in the winter, so that’s where we’ll start our winterization of our homes
Inspect your roof
Do it yourself, or hire a pro if you’re afraid of heights. I’m a bit afraid of heights myself, so no judgement if you hire someone or call a friend or family member to help you out here. If you are doing it yourself, look for any missing shingles, and pay close attention to the flashing around the chimney. Any leaks should be repaired before first snow.
Clean the gutters
This is a very important part of exterior maintenance, and often overlooked. Sure, we’d all rather spend the waning days of summer out at the lake or taking a picnic at a local park, but spending the time cleaning your gutters (or hiring someone to do it for you) will keep your house in tip-top shape for years to come.
Inspect your foundation
Humans aren’t the only ones who don’t like a cold winter day, so make sure any cracks in your foundation are sealed to avoid any unwanted critters. Seems unlikely to have to worry about, right? It only takes one encounter with a vole to change your mind. Not that I’m speaking from experience...
Turn off your outdoor water supply
Draining all exterior faucets and disconnecting all garden hoses will save you from frozen water wreaking havoc, whether it’s having to buy a new hose, or worse, having to repair water lines. Best to avoid both of those!
Cover patio furniture
If you don’t cover any exterior patio furniture, mother nature will do it for you. Unfortunately, mother nature isn’t always gentle, and you may find yourself looking for new furniture come spring if you leave it up to her. This is also a good time to seal your deck if necessary.
Drain the gas from your lawnmower
If you have a gas mower, don’t forget to do this, or at the very least, use fuel stabilizer in the tank for longer term storage. Otherwise you’ll be on the market for a new mower come spring.
Take your beautiful planters inside
This one still hurts for me - I lost three of my favourites last winter, so learn from my mistakes. Ceramic or clay pots can crack in the winter! Try to get them inside, or at least empty them out so there is no expanding wet soil when it freezes.
If you’re lucky enough to have a wood burning fireplace, now is the time to have it serviced and inspected by a professional. This routine maintenance is important to help avoid any costly repairs down the road. If you have further questions on fireplace maintenance, don’t hesitate to reach out and I can provide more insight and point you in the right direction for professionals.
Just like the auto mechanics who see a surge in winter tire installs when the snow first flies, furnace repair companies see that same surge during the first cold snap. It’s best to catch any potential issues before they get busy, and more importantly, before the temperatures dip so low that you’d be uncomfortable without it!
Test your furnace
Turn it on and listen to make sure it sounds normal. Pay attention to any grinding, buzzing, or rattling that is out of the ordinary.
Replace the air filter
Be honest, when’s the last time you replaced your furnace air filter? Now’s the time! An old, worn filter will let in dust, allergens, AND make the motor on your furnace work harder, making it less efficient.
Get a professional service
Sometimes, preventative maintenance can go a long way in preventing far bigger repair bills down the road. In fact, some experts say up to 75% of no-heat furnace repair calls in the winter are due to a lack of maintenance and are entirely preventable!
If it’s been awhile, it’s time to reach out to your friendly neighborhood furnace repair man. Need help finding one? Reach out to me and I’ll be happy to put you in touch with an expert!