In the Okanagan, we can get a little complacent about the concept of winter, mainly because we tend to have one of the mildest ones in Canada. But that doesn’t mean you can get away with not winterizing your home. Avoid damage and costly repairs should we get a serious snowstorm (or two) this season, check out these great tips that c4u has put together on what to do for your property to get it cold weather ready.
Check your roof to ensure your shingles are intact. Repair any loose shingles in order to help avoid leaks or damage. Also, cut away tree branches that hang over your house. Snow buildup on branches can be heavy and cause them to fall onto your roof, potentially causing expensive repairs.
Make sure your gutters and downspouts are free and clear of leaves and branches. Clean gutters allow water to easily flow down from your rooftops and away from your home, preventing damage to your foundation and ice buildup on your roof. Top Tip: Installing gutter guards are a great way to prevent a buildup of leaves and other debris in your gutters.
Turn off all exterior faucets and drain water from outdoor pipes, valves and sprinkler heads to prevent any burst pipe. Likewise put away your garden hoses, ensuring that they are completely drained of water; otherwise, you may well find yourself replacing them come spring.
Regular maintenance of your HVAC unit can improve performance, increase the life of your unit and save you money. Top Tip: Some common signs that maintenance is needed include leaking around the outside unit, inconsistent temperatures or if your system constantly turns on and off.
If too much heat escapes through your attic, it can cause snow on your roof to repeatedly melt and refreeze, creating a thick ice dam that can cause serious damage. The solution is to top up your attic insulation. Top Tip: Start by measuring the depth of your insulation; if the levels are less than 4 inches, your attic should be topped up.
Have an annual inspection before building your first fire of the season. Animal nests or creosote buildup in your wood-burning fireplace can be hazardous. Also, soot and other debris build up in the chimney, so call a chimney sweep to thoroughly clean the chimney before your first winter use. You should also vacuum or sweep out any accumulated ash from the firebox.
Gas or electrical fireplaces also require regular cleaning and maintenance as well. Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for you model to keep it operating smoothly and safely.
If it looks like we are heading for a real cold snap (and who can tell with weather being what it is these days) you’ll need to protect your pipes and water lines from bursting. Whatever the age of your home, you really want to be sure that you're paying attention to your water lines located in the attic or crawl spaces.
First-time homeowners should be aware of areas of their piping that can be exposed to harsh winds and cold temperatures. Water lines in crawl spaces should be wrapped in insulation with heat tape. It's also important to be sure that the heat tape is plugged in and working. Some crawl spaces have vents that allow air to circulate within the crawl space, so you'll want to close these in the winter to protect the water lines from cold drafts.
Weather stripping your windows and doors is another great way to keep the cold out. Sealing the gaps and cracks around your windows and doors is essential to keeping your home warm and using less energy this winter. Any gaps wider than the width of a nickel between your siding and window or door frames should have caulking applied to them. Door sweeps and adhesive backed insulation foam are also very effective draft deterrents. Top Tip: To find out where weather stripping is needed, wet your hand and run it along your door seam or window casing. The moisture on your hand will help you detect any incoming drafts.
If you have a snow blower, it's time to inspect it before the first snowfall to ensure it's working properly. Seasonal outdoor power tools, such as mowers and strimmers, need to be cleaned and maintained prior to storing away. Top Tip: if you need anything like a new snow shovel, or a garage heater, it best to get them now while stores are fully stocked.
Don't wait for the next big winter storm to catch you unprepared. There are certain staples that are good to stock up on ahead of time:
If you are concerned about any issues you’ve discovered in your home or business during routine maintenance, we are always available to give a thorough inspection of your property.
Contact us at c4u Inspections Ltd at any time!