While winter brings many joys, from snow sports to hot chocolate, the weather can be harsh. As we near the winter solstice, we’re bracing for the potential of sub-zero temperatures and damaging storms. Use our seasonal checklist to help get the exterior of your home ready to stand up to the first big freeze.
1. Inspect Your Heating System
Book now to have your furnace and heating system inspected and serviced–it will help prevent it from breaking down when you need it the most. Depending on whether you have pets and the type of filter required by your system, changing your air filter seasonally or monthly can also keep your HVAC system running. If you plan to warm up next to the fireplace, get it cleaned by a professional to prevent fire hazards.
2. Check Your Drainage
Fill in any low spots around your foundation with soil or drainage systems to prevent water pooling and freezing against your home, which can lead to cracks and leaks when it thaws in the spring. Clear your gutters from leaves and debris to help prevent ice dams from occurring, and make sure downspouts move water away from your house.
3. Prevent Pipes from Freezing
When water freezes, it expands and can crack your pipes, resulting in leaks, bursts or flooding. Close any valves that let the water run from your home to outdoor faucets and sprinkler systems. Disconnect and drain your garden hose before storing it in the shed for winter.
4. Check for Air Leaks
Check for drafts or cold air coming in around windows and doors. If you see any cracks in the caulking or weatherstripping, it may be time to replace your windows. Air leaks can be costly in winter as your heating system must work harder to heat your home. To help prevent rot, caulk and seal exterior trim around doors and windows, if required.
5. Inspect Your Roof & Siding
Check your roof for any loose, warped or missing shingles that can cause leaks when the snow melts. Ensure there are no spaces, cracks or gaps in the siding, and check under eaves and vent openings for areas pests can enter.
6. Prepare for Snow Removal
For safety purposes, have a supply of salt or sand available for your driveway and walkway. Plan ahead and have shovels handy before the first snowflake falls. Ensure your snowblower is in working condition, and be sure to book any much-needed maintenance early.