Winter always comes sooner than we expect. No worries … this year, you’ll be ready for it! As soon as you feel that the time has come to get out the hats and mittens, think of these three words: winterize the house! Here are some tips so that your home will be 100% ready for winter.
EXPOSED FOUNDATION CRACKS
Look for visible cracks and have them repaired by a professional. Beyond the visual aspect, cracks can be caused by water infiltration which indicates poor water drainage. The saying “better safe than sorry” is especially meaningful in this situation…
ADEQUATE INSULATION OF DOORS AND WINDOWS
Good door and window insulation can save you a lot of money in winter. In fact, according to Natural Resources Canada, more than 25% of heat loss is caused by poor window insulation. If you are not ready to invest in new ENERGY STAR® certified windows, you can still minimize heat loss.
If you feel cold air when you put your hand near the window, it’s due to the window seals. To help solve this problem in winter, you can weatherstrip your windows by installing a clear plastic film. This will not only minimize cold air from entering your home, but also reduce your heating bill. Checking the weather stripping of your front door is easy. The seal can be checked by simply placing a sheet of paper between the door and the frame and closing the door. If you can remove the sheet of paper easily, then this indicates that the weather stripping should be replaced.
CLEAN THE CHIMNEY: FOR YOUR OWN SAFETY
It is recommended (and even mandatory in some municipalities) that your chimney be swept each year if you heat with wood, either before the first cold of the fall or at the start of spring. The reason is quite simple: burning wood produces creosote which is an oily liquid used to preserve wood. The creosote gradually builds up on the inside walls of the chimney, reduces the internal dimensions of the chimney pipe and increases the risk of a chimney fire.
When heating with oil or coal, the chimney should be inspected and cleaned every three years. Use the services of a qualified professional.
ROOFING AND GUTTERS
Conduct a visual inspection of your roof. Look for damaged or loose shingles. Repairing them early can prevent water infiltration in your roof, especially for sloped roofs.
The gutters must also be cleaned to allow water to flow freely. When the snow melts, it is important that your gutters are in very good condition so that the water flows properly. To do this, add gutter guards to prevent leaves and debris from accumulating. Also, pay close attention to the location of downspouts since the water must be directed as far as possible away from the foundations of your house. Concrete is not a waterproof material and water accumulation near the foundation may be the cause of some infiltration problems over time.
AROUND THE HOUSE
To minimize visits from rodents or carpenter ants, remove dead leaves and debris from around your house. Wood debris attracts carpenter ants who will find refuge in your house when it turns cold, while dead leaves will be used by mice to make their nests. Finally, make sure your outdoor faucet is properly shut off and there is no more water left in the water pipe.
With a little bit of work, your house will be ready to face the winter with no unpleasant surprises!