It may feel like it’s already winter here in Saskatchewan, but technically, it’s just beginning. These helpful tips below will help you prepare your home and keep it in great shape while the temperature drops and keep your family safe and warm this winter!
• Remove ice and snow from concrete promptly. DO NOT USE SALT FOR DE-ICING. You can use gravel or crusher dust or sand instead. Many ice melt products sold in hardware stores will pit and permanently damage your concrete. Check the fine print, anything that may cause spalling will likely damage your concrete.
• Shoveling snow away from your home’s foundation is a quick and simple way to prevent expensive foundation damage. Shovelling the snow away from the base of your home will help reduce the risk of water seeping up and settling under the foundation, which can cause cracks and other costly problems.
• Prevent ice dams on low-positioned roofing by removing snow and scraping the gutters. If you ignore ice dams, water penetration may happen and your shingles might get damaged.
• Continually check your air intake and exhaust vents for the furnace, HRV and hot water tank and ensure they are clear of snow and ice all throughout the season. Make sure to brush off snow or remove any ice buildup.
• To maximize your furnace’s performance and keep it running smoothly, check filters every month and replace them as needed. Having a dirty filter means your furnace has to work harder to push the heat, which prevents it from running efficiently. It can also cause your furnace to completely shut off causing unwanted expenses.
• Check the basement floor drain to ensure the trap contains water – top up if necessary.
• Check for cracked or worn weather stripping, and replace it with new, more efficient stripping. If the caulking is looking worn, remove it and re-caulk with a moisture-resistant product. This will help keep the cold from entering your home, which in turn helps to reduce your heating bill.
• If you have a plumbing fixture that is not used frequently, such as a laundry tub or spare bathroom sink, run some water briefly to ensure there is water in the trap every month.
• Clean drains in dishwashers, sinks, bathtubs, and shower stalls.
• Test plumbing shut-off valves to ensure they are working and prevent them from seizing.
• Check and vacuum your HRV vents to remove grime and used canned air to clean your smoke and CO alarms to ensure they are working properly.
• Make sure your refrigerators and freezers are running properly by vacuuming the radiator grilles on the back of them.
• Check electrical cords, plugs and outlets for all indoor and outdoor seasonal lights to ensure fire safety. If worn, damaged or if the cord feels warm to the touch, replace it immediately and dispose of the damaged cord.
• Decorate safely for the holidays. Do not overload your circuits or use worn or frayed extension cords.
• Check the pressure gauge on all fire extinguishers and recharge or replace them if necessary.
• Check fire escape routes, door and window locks, hardware, and lighting around the outside of the house. Ensure every family member has a solid understanding of what to do in the event of a fire.
We hope these tips will help you keep your home as cozy and safe as possible during the winter months. Click here to download a PDF copy: Winter Checklist