Winter IS Coming! Living in Canada means dealing with cold winters that can last for several months. The good news is that our homes are designed to make it through the harsh cold and significant snowfall accumulations. However, it is up to us to make sure that it is prepared to take everything nature is ready to throw at it.
Have Your Heating System Checked
You aren’t going to enjoy the winter months if you don’t have a functioning furnace. It is also a good idea to have the ducts cleaned to ensure that there isn’t any dust or debris that could turn into a fire hazard. Furnaces tend to break down at the most in-opportune times, like Christmas Eve, when emergency services will cost double….or more! My friend Darcy Berrington, owner of Aire-Serv Winnipeg offers a 1-yr “Advantage Plan”, which includes an inspection/minor cleaning of the furnace in the fall, and the same for the A/C in the spring. If you call him and mention this article, he will give you $20 off the normal price of $189 (plus taxes).
Prepare Your Sump Pump
Make sure that your sump pump hose outside is not allowed to freeze, creating an ice blockage. If that happens, the next time your sump pump kicks in, it will keep running until it burns out. Having to replace a $150 pump is NOT the worst part: If a home-owner is unaware that the pump is burned out, your home will take on water at the next (spring) melt or downpour. This has happened to my neighbours, who ended up with a couple of inches of water in their basement.
Disconnect any outside hose at the time when temperatures hit -10 or colder.
Clean Out the Chimney
If your home has a fireplace chimney, have it swept at some point during the fall. If too much creosote builds up, it could cause a fire or an explosion in your home. It may also be a good idea to clean out any pipes or ducts leading to or from a wood stove for excessive creosote during the fall.
Inspect the Plumbing
A cracked pipe could cause water to leak into your home, which may cause significant damage. Old pipes may need to be replaced so that they don’t crack or burst during extremely cold periods. It may be a good idea to drain the water lines periodically during the fall and winter months.
Inspect the Roof
While snow seems light and fully when your playing in it, it can be extremely heavy. A roof that is leaking or shows any signs of structurally instability may not be able to bear the burden of several thousand pounds of snow on top of it. A yearly inspection may allow you to catch and fix small problems before they put you or your family in danger.
Seal Doors and Windows
If air gets through spaces under the door or through cracks in the window frame, it may be difficult to evenly heat your house in the winter. It may also result in higher heating bills or additional strain on your furnace because it will need to work extra hard to keep your home at a reasonable temperature.
Keep Emergency Repair Supplies Handy
Those who live in parts of Canada that are harder to access after the snow starts to fall should have an emergency kit handy. This kit should contain basic tools, electrical tape and zip ties that can be used to weld, seal or tie off pipes or anything else that may be broken. While these tools may only allow for temporary repairs, it may be enough to last until the proper supplies are available again.