The winter months are long and arduous, not only for yourself but for your home. Here are a few maintenance tips to do and keep in mind over the colder months.
Change Your Furnace Filters
Ventilation is crucial in winter, as we spend most of our time indoors. In frigid weather, our furnaces work harder than ever, and a clean filter can help it immensely. The filters are easily replaced but often forgotten about.
While considering furnace air circulation, check your kitchen and bathroom exhaust fans to ensure they work correctly and remove moisture from the air. An easy method to check fans is holding a tissue up to it and seeing if it gets pulled into it. If it seems amiss, clean the fan thoroughly or replace it.
Foggy Frost-Covered Windows Means Weeping Windows
If you notice your windows are accumulating condensation or even frost, there could be various reasons. It could be faulty windows, humidity or poor ventilation. Properly investigate windows with these issues because weeping windows can lead to mould and compromise the window’s structure. Purchasing a hydrometer will allow you to check the humidity throughout your home. If the humidity levels are higher in certain areas, buy a dehumidifier. If the humidity is low, invest in a humidifier. Your home’s humidity should be at 40-60%.
A simple fix to try out first is to caulk around windows and doors—remove old cracked caulking and re-apply. Replace the seals and weather stripping around all windows and doors to stop cold drafts from coming in rather than cranking up the heat.
Chimneys should need to be inspected annually, especially if there is a fireplace at the bottom. If you have furnace ventilation out the chimney, it should be through a metal pipe, and fewer issues can arise.
Inspect the chimney for creosote or soot. Both can be serious fire hazards—chimney fires can spread rapidly through your home. Also, make sure there is no damage to the chimney. A block or crack can lead to toxic fumes, such as carbon monoxide, entering your home. Even with a gas fireplace, it is essential to ensure air flow is coming in and out.
Check Your Smoke Alarms and CO Detectors
Speaking of fire hazards, check your smoke detectors often to ensure they are in proper working order. Replace the batteries or unit if needed. Check the CO detectors also. Write a reminder on the first of the month to check all units, as it’s better to be safe than sorry.
Plug In Safely
This holiday and winter, check all extension cords and power bars to ensure they are in good condition. If they are in bad shape, with exposed cords or tears, don’t tape them. Throw them away. Be wary of overloading your circuits.
Watch Out For Icicles
Icicles and ice dams should not be ignored. They usually form on the edges of your home where it’s slower to melt, preventing the water from draining off your roof. The backup meltwater can find its way into your home walls and basement. If you see an ice dam forming and cannot remove it yourself, look into hiring a professional to assist you. They can look at the eaves and inside your attic, because you need proper airflow and insulation to prevent ice from forming.
Winterize Your Pipes
Canada has extremely cold winter days. These days can wreak havoc on your pipes. When water freezes, it expands, putting pressure on pipes below insulation or through cold zones. The freezing water in the pipes can cause them to burst and flood your home. If your pipes are outside or close to the outside wall, you can wrap them with insulation. Ensure the exterior hose pipes were drained in Autumn. Invest in non-freeze hose bibs that help prevent pipes from bursting. If you plan to travel this winter, keep your furnace set to at least 18 degrees Celcius to keep your pipes warm while you are away. Call a licensed plumber to fix the problem if you end up with frozen pipes.
Clear Driveways and Walkways
Shovelling driveways and walkways is essential to not only yourself driving and walking but also to pedestrians. Apply pet-friendly de-icer if needed. If you aren’t a fan of burning your grass, apply gravel instead. Cracks in your driveway and sidewalks can be a tripping hazard. Removing snow will help expose them. Snow around the bricks of your home should be removed to prevent flaking and spalling.
Winter and upcoming Holidays mean many of us are going away to families, friends or hot destinations. Be smart about setting up your home when you are away. In addition to keeping the furnace on, also set up light sensors to come on periodically throughout the day, at different time intervals. Install security cameras or smart locks to be notified if someone enters your home. Smart locks also can let people in remotely while you are away.
Now that you have a good understanding of winter maintenance on your home. You are all set for the winter. There is nothing to do but sit back, relax and get cozy.