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9 Practical Steps to Prep Your Home for Winter

November 13, 2019

When most people hear “winter prep” they think of holiday preparations of trimming the tree, wrapping gifts, and baking cookies. However, the first real step to having a fantastic holiday season is preparing your home for the harsher weather. Follow these 9 steps to get your home winter-ready!

1. Turn Off & Drain Outdoor Water Lines and Faucets

No one wants to deal with frozen pipes, so make sure you do this important step before temperatures drop. Running your lines dry and then turning off water to exterior faucets is a must. Water damage is the leading cause of insurance claims in Canada1; protect your home before damage can occur.

2. Clean Your Gutters 

Prevent roof damage and keep pests out by cleaning your gutters before the snow flies. You can hire a professional service or do it yourself. As a long-term fix, you may want to consider having gutter guards installed. Gutter guards keep leaves and debris out of your gutters, while allowing water to flow through.

Leaves in house gutter

3. Weatherproof Doors and Windows

Keep your home warmer and save money on your gas bill by fixing any drafts in your home. Use vinyl or rubber weather stripping to seal windows and doors. If the draft is coming from the bottom of the door, install a sweep for an easy fix. 

4. Prevent a House Fire

Home fires occur more in the fall and winter. This is due to less moisture in the air, wood burning fireplaces, candles, Christmas trees, and increased (and improper) use of space heaters and electric blankets. In addition to following safety precautions for household items, having a fire extinguisher, fire escape plan, and maintaining your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are a must. 

Christmas decor in living room with fire in evening

5. Protect Your Floors 

Salt can harm your floors in the winter by scratching and damaging your finish. Prevent damage by having outdoor and indoor mats and boot trays wherever people might be accessing your home from outside.

6. Change Your Furnace Filter

Changing your furnace filter keeps your HVAC system working its best, especially when the system is working overtime in the winter to keep your home warm. It is best practice to change your furnace filter once a season, or every 3 months.

7. Have Outdoor Necessities Ready 

Don’t wait until the snow falls to have your salt and shovels on hand. Salt or sand sprinkled on ice can help create friction when walking and prevent injury. If you have pets, be sure to select a pet-friendly variety. Always shovel snow as soon as possible after it falls to prevent ice from forming.

Man shoveling snow

8. Check the Attic 

Make your way up to the least visited room in your home – the attic! Now is the perfect time to search for and fix any air leaks or insulation issues. Look for the appearance of daylight peeking through any cracks and check for any excess moisture which can lead to mold. As with most home issues, it is best to deal with the issue as soon as possible, rather than wait it out.

9. Create a Storm Emergency Kit

Snow, ice and windstorms can result in enough damage to cause widespread power outages. And although most outages are fixed relatively quickly, it is not a bad idea to have an emergency kit prepared just in case. Your emergency kit should include bottled water, canned food, flashlights (with working batteries), blankets, and a first-aid kit. A hand-crank radio or battery-powered phone charger may also be useful depending on how long the outage lasts.

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