Ways to Winterize Your House: Checklist

Ways to Winterize Your House: Checklist

When the days start getting shorter and nights get colder, it’s time to start getting your home ready for winter. Here are a few simple things you can do to prevent winter damage and keep your home warm and comfortable all season long.

Winterizing your home starts in the fall. Before the weather starts cooling off dramatically, tackle this winter checklist in the fall months:

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Perform a Roof Inspection and Repair Loose Shingles

Check your roof to ensure your shingles are intact. Also, make sure your gutters and downspouts are free and clear of leaves and branches. Apply roof repair glue to any loose shingles in order to help avoid leaks or damage.

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Turn off Exterior Faucets

Turn off all exterior faucets and drain water from outdoor pipes, valves and sprinkler heads to prevent pipe bursts. If your home is 10 years or older, consider installing frost-proof faucets.

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Install Heating Cables

Roof heating cables will help you avoid long-term damage caused by freezing and ice build-up. Before installing the cables make sure your eavestroughs and roof have been cleaned thoroughly. Affix roof cable clips to your roof in a zigzag pattern. Finally, attach and secure your heating cable to the clips.

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Seal Gaps and Cracks

Sealing the gaps and cracks around your windows and doors is essential to keeping your home warm and using less energy this winter. Any gaps wider than the width of a nickel between your siding and window or door frames should have caulking applied to them. Use your finger or a wet caulk-smoothing tool within 2 to 5 minutes of application to smooth your caulk seal.

Clean Gutters and add Gutter Guards

Clean Gutters and Add Gutter Guards

Clean gutters allow water to easily flow down from your rooftops and away from your home, preventing damage to your foundation and ice buildup on your roof. Installing gutter guards is a great way to prevent a buildup of leaves and other debris in your gutters.

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Window and Door Weather Stripping

Weather stripping your windows and doors is another great way to keep the cold out. To find out where weather stripping is needed, wet your hand and run it along your door seam or window casing. The moisture on your hand will help you detect any incoming drafts. Door sweeps and adhesive backed insulation foam are also very effective draft deterrents. If you notice gaps that are wider than the width of a nickel between your siding and window or door frames, reapply exterior caulking to seal the gaps.

Winter Maintenance

These tasks can be tackled in the winter months to keep your home in top shape

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Book an HVAC Maintenance Appointment

Regular maintenance of your HVAC unit can improve performance, increase the life of your unit and save you money. Some common signs of required maintenance include leaking around the outside unit, inconsistent temperatures or if your system constantly turns on and off.

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Top up Your Attic Insulation

If too much heat escapes through your attic, it can cause snow on your roof to repeatedly melt and refreeze, creating a thick ice dam that can cause serious damage. The solution is to top up your attic insulation. Start by measuring the depth of your insulation using a free Owens Corning ruler from The Home Depot. If the levels are less than 4 inches your attic needs to be topped up.

Rent an insulation blowing machine from The Home Depot Tool Rental Centre and use a loosefill insulation such as Atticat. Note that rental is free with the purchase of 10 or more insulation bags. This is an easy weekend project, and a 1,000 square foot attic can be completed in less than 4 hours.

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Upgrade insulation

Insulating is the first step to ensuring your home stays warm and cozy for the winter. For a larger project, such as a basement, you’ll get even better results by installing fireproof or sound proof insulation. R-value measures how well certain building insulation materials can resist heat. The higher the R-value, the greater the performance of the insulation.

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Replace Furnace Filters

Replace the furnace filter monthly to ensure efficiency and keep dust particles from penetrating the clean, heated air. Inspect your furnace for leaks and test for carbon monoxide. If your furnace is older, cracks can form and cause deadly poisonous gas to escape into your home. It is also recommended you invest in carbon monoxide detectors to monitor the air in your home. To keep your home nice and toasty and to help curb high electric bills, install a smart thermostat. Keep your heat settings lower while you are asleep and program it to raise just before you wake.

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Check Toilets and Faucets for Leaks

A leaky toilet can waste energy and water. Check for leaks by dropping some food colouring into your tank, and then checking your bowl a short while later, if there is coloured water you have a leak and need maintenance. Leaky faucets can also waste water and can often be repaired by simply replacing washers or rubber seals.

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Clean Laundry Machine Ducts

Dryer lint built up in the duct behind the machine not only reduces the efficiency of your dryer but can also cause fires in the home -- and should therefore be inspected regularly. If you notice that there is a buildup, be sure to clean it or hire a professional to do the job for you.

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Check Fire Alarms & Extinguishers

Test smoke alarms monthly and vacuum dust from beneath the cover every six months. Replace batteries as per manufacturer’s instructions. Keep fire extinguishers on every floor of the house and in the kitchen. Make yourself familiar with how they work now so you can move quickly if you need to use them.

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