Cold Weather Checklist

When the leaves are almost done falling it is a good time to prepare your house for the winter. That means doing a last garden clean up, a last lawn mowing, and stowing away all of your lawn furniture. Check the list below to help you care for your home in the changing seasons.

Inside Preparation

  1. Turn on your furnace humidifier or turn your HRV to the winter setting.
  2. Check your sump pump for proper operation and have your furnace serviced.
  3. Changing the furnace air filters monthly can make a big difference in your bills. They are inexpensive.
  4. Test your smoke alarms monthly. There are more fires in the winter, and the smoke alarm is one of your best safety features. This is important for your family's safety. Make sure battery-type smoke alarms have a fresh battery.
  5. Consider buying a small fire extinguisher for your kitchen and garage, or giving one as a gift to a family member you want to protect, as they are not expensive.
  6. Make sure the heat never goes below 50 degrees Fahrenheit or 10 degrees Celsius, especially when you are away.
  7. Make sure an insulated attic access door or hatch is secured in place to prevent heat loss through the attic.
  8. If you have a wood fireplace or a wood stove, the chimney must be cleaned each year by a trained technician who can do a complete job and check the overall safety of the chimney.
  9. If you will be away for more than two consecutive days during cold weather, let your neighbours know so they can check on the property. Provide a number where you can be reached in case of an emergency.

Outside Preparation

  1. Check your foundation and chimey for missing or deteriorating mortar.
  2. Check for loose or missing shingles on your roof.
  3. Clean the gutters of leaves and debris that prohibits good water drainage. This prevents water overflow that causes the house to rot, or water to back up under the roof and into the house. It also will prevent water freezing in the gutter causing damage.
  4. Drain any water hoses, since ice will crack them over the winter.
  5. Check to ensure that the caulking around the outside windows and any weather stripping around door frames is still in place to stop cold air penetration.Install storm windows (if applicable.)
  6. To prevent strong winds from blowing a storm door off or damaging the building, make sure storm chains or damping pistons are attached on any storm doors.
  7. Close all the vents to the crawl space (if any) under the building.
  8. Shut off the water supply to all outside taps, and then open the taps to prevent water lines from freezing.
  9. Due to the hazard of fire, do not use an open flame to thaw out lines that may freeze. This can also create an explosion caused by expanding steam between two plugs of ice in a line. 

These simple steps will help you make sure your residence is protected and kept warm and safe during the winter months.



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Tip of the Week

Summer fun:

If you are concerned about using up too much water to keep your garden plants alive, then here is perfect solution.

Grab a couple of 5 gallon pails or similar. Drill a small hole in the bottom of each one - 8th inch is fine. Place each pail next to the plant that you want to water. Best to rotate the pail until the hole you drilled is closest to the plant. Fill a bucket with water. Dump the bucket of water into the 5 gallon pail. The water will trickle out fairly slowly, ensuring that the maximum amount of water penetrates the soil, minimizing run off and evaporation. Without a hose running continuaously your water consumption is also tiny. Repeat for each plant, cycling through them as often as you feel necessary. This is especially useful in a new garden with newly planted or fruit bearing shrubs.

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