With the temperatures gradually dropping and Halloween behind us, it is safe to say that winter is fast approaching.
Even though ignorance is considered bliss, we can’t deny the inevitable anymore. Retail stores now have aisles littered with Christmas decorations and November has brought a thin blanket of snow.
Life gets busy during the holiday season with celebrations, shopping and social activities.
You may have a lengthy to-do list this season and preparing your home for the winter months may seem a lot lower on your priorities, but it is equally as important.
Check out some tips for preparing your home for winter.
Get Plumbing Ready
While there’s no snow on the ground, beginning outside is a good place to start. Drain the water from outdoor faucets and garden hoses and pack away any summer appliances you will no longer use during the winter. If your outdoor faucets have shut-off valves, close them. Check all outdoor faucets and look for any damage that may need repairing.
Also, cleaning your gutters before the weather gets especially cold and wet will prevent standing water. Standing water can lead to rot, mildew or mould. The freezing water can also cause the gutters to expand and shatter, a mess you don’t want when it’s cold outside. The backed-up water can also leak under the shingles or into the roof, causing damage or leakage. It’s best to get outside and get those tasks completed before the weather grows colder.
Check Your Heating System
When the temperatures drop, one of the first things you want to do is turn on the heat. Being curled up in a blanket on the couch in a warm, toasty home as the snow falls is one of the joys of living in Canada during the winter.
If you have a fireplace, some preparation beforehand will ensure your fireplace is ready for those cold winter nights. It would be a good idea to have your chimney inspected and cleaned by a professional.
If your furnace has a filter, ensure it is either cleaned or replaced.
Replace Carbon Monoxide and Smoke Detectors
Ensuring the batteries work properly on your carbon monoxide or smoke detectors is important year-round, but it’s especially important during the winter when we may have fireplaces lit or have other heat sources turned on. Carbon monoxide gases are odourless and are undetectable unless you have a carbon monoxide detector.
A lot of house fires occur during the winter months, due to the increase of heat sources, so checking your smoke detectors and testing the batteries are so important.
Reverse Your Ceiling Fans
If your ceiling fan has a reverse switch, use it in order to have the blades turn in a clockwise direction. As hot air rises, this will create an updraft, pushing the warm air down to disperse it around the room. This is useful in rooms that have high ceilings and will help you turn down your thermostat, increasing your energy savings and saving you money.
Check To See If Your Door Should Be Replaced
In some cases, replacing the caulking or weather stripping might not be enough. You might have to consider getting a complete door replacement. If your door is old and doesn’t close properly, your home will feel a lot cooler and your energy consumption will be a lot higher.
Some other factors to consider include:
- Is your door rusty or dented?
- Is there moisture between the panes of glass?
- Is your door weathered, worn or cracked?
Check Your Windows to See if They Need to Be Replaced
Check around your windows to see if there are any gaps that require caulking. Generally speaking, if there are any gaps bigger than the size of a nickel, you should reapply exterior caulking. Silicone caulk is useful for exterior structures because it isn’t affected by the elements and doesn’t shrink.
Weather-stripping outside blocks airflow from entering your home to reduce energy loss and lower your energy bill. You can add weather stripping as well around doors to prevent any warm air from escaping. Consider spending more money around areas that are high traffic, like the front door, kitchen or bedroom windows.
In some cases, you may need to replace your windows. In an earlier blog, we discussed tips on how to know if your windows need to be replaced.
Some factors to consider include:
- Do your windows harbour condensation?
- Do they fog up?
- Are they drafty?
- Do they refuse to stay open?
- Do they stick?
- Do you hear outside noise even though your windows are closed?
If the answer is “yes” to any of those questions, you may want to have your windows replaced.
At Kempenfelt Windows, we offer industry leading products for your home. We have a variety of different windows and doors to fit your needs to keep your home warm all winter long! Give us a call at 1-800-841-7469 or request a no obligation quote.