Believe it or not, winter is coming. And in just a few weeks, the rain will turn to snow and temperatures will start to dip below zero. And while you may have already put your patio furniture away and may not have any big renovation projects planned for the winter, that doesn't mean that your work is done. Regardless of whether your home is two years old or 20 years old, every homeowner should look to complete a specific list of tasks this time of year to winterize their home and prepare it for snowier weather. These tasks range from structural maintenance to simple appliance upkeep, but all are equally as important when it comes to helping make winter as enjoyable as possible.
Continue reading below for a list of tasks we strongly recommend every homeowner completes this time of the year. You can print the list and cross tasks off as you go or use it as a reference, the choice is yours. And if you have any questions regarding any of the tasks or anything else related to home renovation and construction, we encourage you to get in touch with us by phone, email or even social media and one of our team member would be more than happy to help.
Check, Clean or Replace Your Furnace Filter
After a long spring and summer of inactivity, we can almost guarantee that your furnace filter is rather filthy. Dirty furnace filters not only restrict airflow and force your heating system to work harder (costing you more), but they can also make the air in your home smell “dusty”. In some extreme cases, filters that have been left unserviced for a long time can even trigger a fire. This is why it's highly recommended that you clean, or at the bare minimum, check your furnace filter once a month. This ensures proper airflow and minimizes the risk of further problems and danger. And just like the oil filter and cabin filter in your car, your furnace filter will need to be replaced occasionally. When it comes time to do this, you can find new filters at your local hardware store or contact your HVAC company for additional guidance and information.
Reverse Ceiling Fans
Did you know that the ceiling fans in your home also need to be winterized? It's true! In the summer your ceiling fans should be spinning counter-clockwise to suck up any hot air and make space for cold air below. But in the winter, your ceiling fan should be reversed to rotate clockwise. This ensures that the hot air coming out of your vents gets pushed back down to where it's needed most. And while this will naturally make your room and home feel warmer in the winter, it also provides a few additional benefits too. It reduces the need for your heating system to work extra hard— saving you money and
forces cold air up to the ceiling, away from occupants, making room for warmer air.
Heating System Tune-up
Another great thing to do to winterize your home is having your heating system tuned up, or at least inspected, by your HVAC company. This will make sure no damage was suffered over the summer and will ensure everything is running as efficiently as possible for the next few months. Having your heating system inspected by a professional before the winter is also a great way to spot any potential problems before they happen. It's better to be without heat for a day or so at this time of year, rather than in the middle of January when temperatures are extra frigid.
Check Window and Door Seals
Now that we've got the easiest tasks out of the way, it's time to dive into the slightly more demanding tasks. The first of these tasks is checking and fixing the seal on your doors and windows. And while we say "more demanding" this is still a rather simple task for any confident DIYer. When it comes to windows, we recommend checking any caulking for signs of leakage. This can be spotted in many different forms, but more often than not, you'll see watermarks on window sills. If you need to replace caulking, you simply cut the old caulking off with a sharp knife (being careful not to cut too deep), clean the area that was covered and then reapply new caulking. Caulking can come in many different types and colours, so be sure you buy the right kind for your windows.
Moving on to the exterior doors (front door, garage door, patio doors, etc.) of your home, these should be inspected for damage to the weather stripping on the bottom and sides of the doors (sometimes weather stripping is also applied to the door frame). Damaged weather stripping will either be detached from the door/frame or will be dried out and rigid. If you spot either of these symptoms, we recommend just replacing it. In some cases, it can be fixed (reattached), but weather stripping is rather inexpensive and will need to be replaced eventually anyways. Simply, pull the old weather stripping off and reapply the new stripping.
Doing these two things goes a long way to eliminating heat loss at the doors and windows, and you'd be surprised just how much warmer a home feels with everything covered up.
As a bonus, you can also apply a special film to sliding patio doors to further increase your savings. Much like a car tint, this film will help heat your home in the winter and cool it down in the summer.
The final task on our list is to check your insulation. And sure, if you've got your walls open for some other reason then definitely check the insulation while you're at it, but for this task, we're speaking about the insulation in your attic. And while this task isn't as crucial as some of the others, it's still important to check the insulation in your attic periodically. In older homes, animals can find ways in and take insulation for nests and over time can leave your home virtually uninsulated. Simply, find your attic access, pop your head up into the attic and look for signs that might indicate the need to replace your insulation. Warning: we strongly recommend wearing protective glasses and a face mask as a precaution when doing this. You may also wish to call in a professional to inspect your attic space if you aren't comfortable doing it yourself.
The five tasks listed above should do the trick when it comes to winterizing your home. And while every home’s needs may be different, these five tasks are things that we find relevant for every home, no matter its age. We hope we’ve provided you with enough information and guidance to complete these tasks, but if you have any questions regarding anything discussed above or something else you may have come across, please contact us by phone, email or social media. We would be more than happy to help.