Your Essential Home Maintenance Checklist For Winter
Inside and out, these master maintenance tips will have your home winter-ready in no time!
1. Check Your Gutters
Clogged gutters lead to ice damming, which can cause severe damage to your roof. Prevent potential problems by making sure your gutters are free and clear of leaves and other debris.
2. Invest in a Roof Rake
Roof rakes are also handy for preventing ice dams - in addition to reducing structural stress and removing snow from roof vents. The latter is especially important for the proper heating and ventilation of your home during the winter.
3. Keep Snow Away From Foundation
Over time, pooling water wears away at your foundation, leading to cracks, leaks and pricey repairs. Be sure to shovel snow away from the base of your home wherever possible.
4. Insulate Exterior Pipes
In addition to turning off and draining your exterior pipes (to prevent cracking), take it a step further by applying some added insulation (i.e. foam pipe sleeves or insulative wrap). Unheated areas such as the garage or attic should also be treated.
5. Trim Your Trees
After a heavy winter snowfall, dead or damaged branches can pose a serious threat to both you and your home. Take care to trim your trees to avoid any mishaps.
6. Stock Up on Snowmelt
Built-up ice and snow on your sidewalk isn’t just dangerous, it’s illegal! The City of Edmonton reserves the right to issue a $100 fine in the event of neglected walkways, so be sure to keep them clear and slip-free at all times.
7. Maintain Your Furnace
As your furnace works double time during the colder months, it's essential to keep it clean. Replacing your filter both at the start and halfway through winter will reduce dust and allergen build-up and potential breakdowns.
8. Check Doors and Windows
Stop chilly drafts and water ingress by ensuring your home is adequately sealed. Repair or replace weather-stripping and caulking around the doors and windows to increase warmth and energy efficiency!
9. Have Your Chimney Cleaned
Keep your toes warm and your family safe this winter by having your chimney professionally inspected and cleaned. Creosote build-up is hazardous when left untreated and is a leading cause of house fires within Canada - making chimney maintenance extremely important.
10. Give Your Sump a Pump
Keep melting snow out of your basement by ensuring your sump pump is up and running. To test it, simply pour in a few litres of water to see that it turns on.
11. Flush Your Hot Water Heater
Both gas and electric water heaters are susceptible to sediment build-up – leading to reduced hot water and increased water bills. You can find steps to flush a water heater online or when in doubt, call a plumber to help you. In the case of an older unit, wrapping the tank with an insulated blanket has also been known to improve efficiency.
12. Reverse Your Fans
Simple yet effective! Reversing your ceiling fans (to turn clockwise) prevents updrafts, pushing the warm air toward you instead of the roof. This is yet another little trick that may help save on your heating bills!
13. Inspect Your Insulation
Speaking of energy efficiency, sparse or missing insulation in your walls, attic or crawlspace can also wreak havoc on your heating bill! Fill in any gaps to keep the warm air in and the cold air out.
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