Winter is coming to Ontario, and rumour has it this year is supposed to be a chilly one. With that in mind, it’s time to prepare your home for what is usually the roughest season of the year. We always keep warmth top-of-mind for ourselves by bundling up in layers and coats, and we should do the same for our houses. You don’t want to run into issues with your home that could have been preventable after you spend so much time trying to maintain it. Instead of cleaning up problems later, here are some things you can do to prepare your home now!
Get a chimney inspection
If you live in a house with a functioning chimney, it’s time to complete an inspection before you light a fire this winter. A professional can inspect and sweep your chimney to ensure there’s no debris blocking it. Apart from reducing ash buildup, a clean chimney is also essential for avoiding the risk of carbon monoxide building up and seeping into your home. Since we keep our windows sealed tight in the winter, even a small carbon monoxide leak can be disastrous.
Disconnect outdoor faucets
In the summer, our hoses are constantly flowing as we water our plants, grass, and gardens, but now that winter is coming, this becomes a real danger. Exposed pipes that aren’t heated by our homes are left outside to freeze, and with water still running inside them, they can burst with frozen water and cause major issues. Burst pipes, especially those that burst inside the home, can cause big leaks and major water damage. It only takes a few hours for pipes to freeze outside, so you should be sure to disconnect the water and drain pipes before the frost really sets in. In many cases, you can find the water shut off valves in your basement. You should also give any outdoor faucets a few minutes to drain out any water currently inside them.
Check your heating
A frigid winter is heading for Ontario, so you’ll be using your heating a lot. Make sure your heating system and furnace are in good working order so you’re not left in the cold when you need them most. A professional can inspect for any blockages in the vents, make sure everything is properly sealed, and overall ensure your heating is performing as necessary. If you have an old thermostat, consider upgrading to a newer model that runs more efficiently. These new, programmable thermostats can automatically adjust the heat to certain temperatures during the day, so you can use heat when you need it most and likely save on energy costs.
Check carbon monoxide and fire alarms
Along with inspecting your chimney to avoid carbon monoxide problems, you should test your alarms to make sure they’d actually go off in case of an emergency. In the winter, we use our heating systems, furnaces, and chimneys most often, which increases the risks of fires and carbon monoxide poisoning. There should be a button on your alarms you can press to ensure the irritating (but life saving!) chirp on the alarm is in good working order.
On a side note, if you ever hear an intermittent chirp from one of your alarms, don’t panic! This is just a low battery warning, and not a real emergency. Trust us, the real thing will leave you in no doubt that you need to evacuate ASAP, if it ever happens.
Don’t neglect yard equipment
It’s probably a relief to finish the last mow of the season, but remember you can’t just toss the lawnmower in the shed and walk away. The same goes for trimmers, power washers, or anything else that might use gas. You should drain the gas to ensure it doesn’t clog your equipment over the winter and cause it to run poorly in the spring. You may have to take the gasoline to an approved disposal site in your city, since you of course can’t pour it down a drain.
Plan for snow removal
Whether we like it or not, we’ll likely see some good snowstorms now that winter is coming to Ontario. This means you need some sort of plan for snow removal, whether that’s hiring a service, preparing your snow blower, or using a good old-fashioned shovel. If you plan to hire someone to take care of your snow for you, be sure to set this up as soon as possible to ensure you can secure a service! Plus, if you don’t already own a good snow blower or you need a new shovel, it’s best to take care of that shopping trip before winter really sets in.
As we go through the winter months, it’s important to take care of our homes. If you have any questions about buying a home or refinancing your mortgage, get in touch with me!