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10 Ways to Prepare Your Home for the Winter

Your home is a sizable investment, so it’s important to protect it – especially from the harsh Canadian elements. The best way to do that is to repair problems as they appear and conduct regular inspections and routine maintenance. Without regular R&M, deterioration can quickly set in, even years before it should. Add constant abuse from the cold and wet weather and your home’s foundation and structural integrity can undergo some serious damage. Fortunately, there are some simple things that you can do to keep your home in tip-top shape. Here are just a few ways to prepare your home for the winter weather this year.

Caulk the Windows and Doors

You can keep drafts to a minimum this winter by sealing any air leaks around your home. To do this, simply light an incense stick and hold it beside your windows and doors. The airflow will show you the exact spots where the air is escaping. To eliminate these drafts, caulk and seal the area with weather-stripping. 

Get Your HVAC System Inspected

Forgetting to have your HVAC system maintained can leave you with a broken furnace on a cold winter’s day. To ensure that you have efficient heat all winter long, make sure that you get your HVAC system inspected by a reputable contractor.  They will check that your system is functioning optimally and that any small issues that could turn into big ones are repaired. Having a properly maintained system will also help to keep your heating bills in check all season long. 

Test your Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors

Fire and carbon monoxide are higher risks in the winter. To keep your family safe, test each smoke and carbon monoxide detector to ensure they are working properly. If you haven’t replaced the batteries in a few months, swap them out with fresh ones. It’s also a good time to run through the emergency plan with your family to remind them what to do in the event of a fire or a gas leak.

Stain Your Deck

Moisture can destroy untreated lumber if you don’t stain and seal it every fall. To check if your stain is still sufficient, pour some water on the deck and look for any water beads. If the water beads on the surface the stain is still working, if it’s absorbed, it’s time to apply a fresh coat to seal your deck. 

Seal Your Hardscape Surfaces

If you have a driveway, walkway or patio, it’s important to check for any cracks or holes that should be sealed up before the temperature drops. If water makes its way in, it can cause far more damage when the freeze and thaw cycles begin. Take the time to fill any minor areas with a sealer to maintain your surfaces and call a professional to address any major cracks or patches.

Clean Out Your Gutters

When your gutters get filled with leaves and branches, it can impede the water flow and cause water to back up and drip down the side of your home. Nothing is more damaging to your foundation than water, so it’s important to clean out your gutters and downspouts as soon as all the leaves have come off the trees. 

Inspect the Roof

While you’re working on your gutters, you should also take a good look at the condition of your roof. Are there any holes? Broken shingles? Loose flashings? Anything you find that is concerning should be repaired immediately by a roofing contractor. Ignoring small issues in the fall can leave you with big ones in the middle of winter, which are much more difficult to address. 

Clean Out the Chimney

Did you know that chimneys are to blame for most household fires? If you have a chimney that you plan to use this winter, get it cleaned out and inspected by a professional to keep you and your family safe. A professional knows exactly what to look for and will remove any creosote that sticks to chimney liners which is highly flammable. The sooner you call, the better, since chimney companies get busy in the fall, and if you wait till the last minute you might have to go most of the season without a warm crackling fire.

Close Up Any Outside Faucets

Outdoor water faucets and sprinkler systems can freeze over the winter, damaging the water lines and causing floods. So be sure to drain any water from the lines before shutting off the valves until spring. Any pipes that are prone to freezing should also be insulated. And don’t forget to routinely check for any freezing pipes inside and out during the wintertime. Identifying a problem pipe before it bursts can save you thousands of dollars in damages. 

Ensure Your Masonry Is Sealed

You should also take the steps to safeguard your outdoor masonry from the winter weather. The freeze and thaw cycles can cause the soil beneath your home to shift and cause the foundation to crack and settle unevenly. To keep your foundation in pristine condition, hire a masonry specialist to weatherproof your home and check for any cracks, chimney issues, uneven floors and other signs that you have a more serious problem. Having your foundation repaired before the winter weather can save you a lot of money and stress in the future. 

Worried about the condition of your foundation? Call us at the Foundation Experts. We offer detailed assessments of your foundation and if any issues are found, we can take care of your structural repairs, waterproofing, basement lowering, and more.