Winterizing Your Home, Inside and Out

Designing the home of your dreams.

The leaves have started to turn brilliant shades of reds and oranges, and if you’re like us, the drive into work (or the pre-work-from-home coffee run) can be very distracting as there’s a great number of us who would rather be walking through leaves in a park with a big sweater and a warm cup of your favourite spiced bevy, not headed to our desk and computers and the same ‘every day’.

For those crisp Fall weekends, we’ve got your complete winterize tool tip list to ensure your home is ready for the frostier days ahead, both inside and out.

Most people know some things about winterizing your home… but you would be surprised how many people forget the little things that can creep up and cause issues throughout the frozen winter months that would have been so much easier to take care of before the start of the coldest season of the year? This month, we’ll walk you through the important steps to take to ensure you don’t get caught with unexpected issues.

WINTERIZING INDOORS

Your heat and energy providers here in Edmonton offer great resources when it comes to ensuring your homes are properly winterized.

Here’s a checklist for the inside of your home to increase efficiency throughout our coldest months:

  • Inspect doors and windows for cracks/drafts; use caulking and weather stripping to seal any gaps
  • Clean or replace furnace filters
  • Get a furnace tuneup by a qualified HVAC technician
  • Inspect for and clean out debris and residue from fi replace/chimney
  • Test smoke alarms. Batteries should be replaced bi-annually (ideally when the clocks change for DST and ST)
  • Test carbon monoxide detectors – replace batteries annually
  • Switch the ceiling fan rotation clockwise to blow warm air down
  • Clean home humidifiers
  • Check the attic, basement and crawl spaces for proper air ventilation and insulation
  • Replace an older thermostat with a programmable unit to save money on heating costs

Assemble an emergency preparedness kit for your home and vehicle

DID YOU KNOW?

From our friends at Direct Energy…

Winterizing Tip #1

Missing or damaged shingles can cause water leakage. The section of your roof that gets the most exposure to the sun requires your closest attention. Make a thorough inspection and call a professional if repairs are needed.

Winterizing Tip #2

Most homes in Canada are heated by furnaces or other appliances that run on natural gas or oil, increasing the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning in the winter. To ensure safety, install certified carbon monoxide alarms (accredited by the Standards Council of Canada) in hallways and near sleeping areas.

WINTERIZING OUTDOORS

The exterior of your home will take the hardest hits from those cold winter months, and to help avoid unexpected issues throughout those shortened darker days – as well as less clean up in the Spring when everything starts to melt again into glorious longer days of warm sunshine-y rays. Take a look at these outdoor winterizing tips from our pals at Direct Energy:

  • Turn off exterior faucets and irrigation systems (outdoor pipes, sprinkler heads, etc.)
  • Detach, drain and store hoses
  • Insulate faucets/pipes
  • Clean and remove debris from eavestroughs and gutter downspouts
  • Ensure downspouts extend away from the house to prevent flooding and water damage
  • Trim branches away from your home and power lines
  • Clean up garden beds and wrap shrubs
  • Inspect roof and replace missing or damaged shingles
  • Clean the garage to store your car and winter equipment and tools
  • Ensure winter tools are ready for use (snow blower, ice chopper, shovels, etc.)
  • Stock up on sand, kitty litter, calcium chloride or other ice-melting materials to make walkways, steps and driveways safe

To download a copy of this awesome checklist from Direct Energy, click here >

WINTERIZING YOUR YARD

And finally, we would be remiss if we didn’t mention the importance of winterizing your yard. If you’ve got someone in your home who loves their yard as much as we love ours, chances are you’ve invested a lot of hard-earned money into beautifying your outdoor space. Here are a few tips to protect your investment from the brutal winter months:

  • If you have planted new evergreen shrubs or trees, ensure that you wrap them as soon as the harsh winds arrive. A couple layers of wrapped burlap, or even the shrub covers that peg into the ground will work. New trees and shrubs left exposed to the harsh Alberta winter winds will often get wind burn and begin to die. A general rule is to wrap them for their first 3 winters until the root systems are good and set.
  • If your yard has sod, begin reducing your watering schedule to once a week, and right before the winter sets in, give your yard a good mow on a low setting, and fertilize. If you have pets, ensure you clean up and water well any dog spots.
  • If you’ve run water fountains or exterior lighting, pack up and store anything you don’t want the weight of snow to damage. For above-ground ponds and water features, drain and cover with a tarp to protect from the elements. Remove all extension cords and store. Consider deck furniture and whether you will need it during the winter. These items are able to be wracked with a freeze-thaw pattern that builds up ice on your back deck (you’ll be happier once things start to melt if you don’t have giant chunks of ice on your deck).
  • If you have an outdoor shed, Fall is the perfect time to move your yard maintenance gear out of your garage (making room for your cars to easily get in and out while hiding from the winter cold) and into the shed. This includes lawn equipment, shovels and rakes, soils, pots, etc. You may want to dispose of, or securely store, organics such as soil and seed since these make nice warm hibernating spots with a never-ending buffet for critters escaping the cold.

And if you love winter birds in your yard, move your feeders closer to your house so you can easily access them to refill as needed. Look for fatty seeds that are easy to eat for our little feathery friends, since they will want to work less to feast while conserving body heat.

And there you have it! Our list of helpful tips to ensure your home is winterized and ready for anything!

Now, back to those leaves…

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