8 Ways To Prepare Your Home For Winter 

We all knew it was coming – After this weekend, we can probably say that winter is here. 

With Calgary quickly becoming a Winter Wonderland, it is time to prepare your home!

Here are 8 tips we have put together for you.

1) Furnace Inspection

  • Have your furnace serviced and ducts cleaned (every 2 years)

  • Stock up on furnace filters and change them monthly. It is good practice to write the date changed on the furnace filter for a reminder – Move the dial on your humidifier from Summer to Winter, make sure the humidifier filter is clean or replace it.

For homes with HRV systems (Heat Recovery and Ventilation system) – clean and service this as per the manufacturer’s instructions on the unit itself.

  • Consider switching out your thermostat for a programmable thermostat
  • Remove ALL flammable material from the area surrounding your furnace

2) Get your Gas/Wood Fireplace Serviced/Cleaned/Inspected.

  •  We suggest having the fireplace serviced and cleaned (every 2 years)
  • Adding a thermostat control to your gas fireplace. In the case of furnace failure this could save your home from disaster in winter.
  • For solid wood fireplaces, we suggest W.E.T.T inspection(Wood Energy Technology Transfer) every 5 years and get a chimney sweep every 2 years – If you are storing firewood, keep it dry and away from the foundation.

3) Check the Exterior, Doors, and Windows

  • Inspect externally for exposed entry points around windows, doors, pipes etc and seal them.
  • Inspect and replace (if needed) weatherstripping around doors to prevent cold air from entering the home.
  • If your home has a basement, consider protecting its window wells by covering them with plastic shields.

4) Prevent Plumbing Freezes

  • Winterize all external faucets and drain via the bleed valve, keep off until spring.
  • Locate your water main in the event you need to shut it off in an emergency. It is always good practice to  turn off water when on vacation
  • Insulate exposed plumbing pipes.
  • Turn off the power and cover the air conditioner unit.
  • If you go on vacation, leave the heat on, set to at a minimum of 16 degrees.

5) Service Weather-Specific Equipment

  • Drain gas from lawn mowers.
  • Service or tune-up snow blowers.
  • Replace worn rakes and snow shovels.
  • Clean, dry,  and store summer gardening equipment.
  • Sharpen ice choppers and buy bags of ice-melt / sand.

6) Check Foundations

  •  Take away all debris and edible vegetation from the foundation.
  • Seal up entry points to keep small animals from crawling in the house.
  • Seal foundation cracks. Mice can slip through space as thin as a 1/4 inch..

7) Install/Test Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors

  • Smoke and carbon monoxide detectors should be installed on every level, ideally every walkway leading to sleeping areas and smoke detectors in every bedroom.
  • Check the dates on smoke detectors, the lifespan is 10 years and 7 years for carbon monoxide detectors – Buy extra batteries and change them yearly.
  • Install a carbon monoxide detector near your furnace and / or water heater.
  • Test smoke and carbon monoxide detectors monthly to make sure they work
  • Buy a fire extinguisher or replace an extinguisher older than 10 years.

8) Leaving your home in winter

  • Turn off the main water supply to the home.
  • Have a friend/family member go into the home to check every 2/3 days or as per your insurance requirements
  • Keep the heating at a minimum of 16 degrees at all times.
  • Turn the water heater to vacation mode.
  • Throw out all the garbage in the home.

Are you considering buying or selling?

Give us a call at 403.245.4477 to discuss your needs or take a look at our current listings!

*This blog post has been modified from an article created by Odds On Home Inspections  (homeinspectionscalgary.ca)*

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