There are certain home maintenance musts that should be performed at specific times of the year. The great spring clean, the summer refresh, the fall garden cut back, but none are as important as winter prep and maintenance.
In harsh winter climates such as ours, the colder months can be some of the most damaging and destructive to your home. Frost, ice, damp – these are formidable forces that can end up costing you thousands of dollars in damages if left to their own devices. But, some quick preparations can ensure your home is winter ready.
Here are our top tips to get started, so you don’t end up with surprises when it’s -25 outside.
- Winter equals frozen pipes. All pipes, and especially any on the exterior of your house, are subject to potential freeze, and this means potential damage. The first step to avoiding burst pipes is proper insulation inside, and ensure all exterior pipes are drained and left open (detach any hoses from the house, too). You don’t need to use toxic chemicals such as antifreeze, and you should also not have to resort to extreme measures such as calling in the experts. As long as you prepare in advance!
- Take a walk around the garden and check to see whether any of your trees or larger shrubs have big branches that could become a problem come those howling winter storms. The last thing you want to see is a tree branch coming through your room! Trim any large branches and have an expert in to remove any dead trees from the property.
- Gutters can be a major cause for concern if not kept properly maintained and this goes for most times of the year – once your rainy season begins or winter ice starts to melt, your gutters need to be clear and in great shape so that water is free to flow down the pipe and away from your home.
- Check your doorways and windows for tiny gaps that may allow drafts inside. You can cover drafty windows with an easy-to-install and affordable window film, or you can have your windows replaced entirely if they’re in really bad shape (yes, even in November). Asking your heating to compensate, even for just a couple degrees, will put extra wear on your system and your bill.
- Clean out your fireplace and chimney well in advance – this is actually a great thing to do at the end of the colder seasons, so that you don’t have to run around searching for a sweeper at the last minute. But if you didn’t do it in the spring, then make sure it’s clear (and not a fire hazard) before you light the first fire of the season.
- If you have a central heating system in your home, make sure you perform routine checks on the furnace – replace filters and ensure the boiler is operating properly. A quick maintenance check now will be much cheaper (and less stressful) than a complete repair or replacement in the middle of winter.
- Prepare your garden by trimming perennials and laying mulch over flower beds – this helps your plants recover after the winter, and reduces the drying out of soil which can be difficult to restore once the frost and ice has melted. Flower beds may not be crucial to the structure of your home, but come spring, they’ll bring some extra brightness to your day.
Your home is your first defence against the cold and wind – but only if it’s in good condition. If you have more questions about home maintenance or need a referral to a reputable handyman, send me a message! I’m always here to help.