Canada, being a four-season country, is subjected to extreme weather on both ends of the thermometer. With this in mind, it is always a good time to be thinking about season proofing your home. The results of which can protect your home from damages and eliminate or reduce expensive repair costs.
1) Change Furnace Filters
A fast and easy way to reduce your expenses this winter is to clean (or replace) your filters once every month or two. Dirty filters will reduce air quality and flow in your home, and result in an increased energy bill. Also, take into account the type of filter – disposable fiberglass filters only trap 10 to 40 percent of debris, while electrostatic filters trap 88% percent of debris, including mould, bacteria, and viruses.
2) Furnace Check-up
Giving your furnace a tune-up can help reduce your energy use, saving up to 5 percent of heating costs. Look into whether your utility provider offers an annual check-up either for free or at a discounted price. Remember to request early, as once winter is underway it can be difficult to get an appointment, as this is their peak season.
3) Check Your Roof
It is important to check your roof and eavestroughs to minimize areas where water can pool and then freeze, which can later cause leaks. It’s better to perform this before winter begins to minimize your risk of slipping from an icy roof or ladder.
4) Close Your Curtains
Heating your home in the winter can be a struggle, and home construction or home maintenance isn’t the only way to minimize those heating bills. A price effective way is to simply close your curtains when the sun goes down. This has been supported by a study performed by Edinburgh World Heritage in 2010. If your curtains are thin, you can always line them with thicker material to make them even more effective.
5) Manage Draughts
In a larger home, keep doors shut to rooms you aren’t using to keep the heat within areas you spend the most time in. Further, create draught stoppers from any fabric you have lying around or you can purchase special-purpose draught excluders.
6) Seal Windows
It’s important to also consider your windows when looking to prevent draughts, as a lot of heat can be lost that way. For a quick fix on drafty windows, you can strip the pre-existing caulk and refinish the seals around each window. When this dries, you can then put heat-shrinking plastic wrap with double-sided tape to cover openings and act as a barrier. If you’re looking for a more permanent fix, you should replace any windows that are not Energy Star rated.
7) Winter-Proof Your A/C
The first step is to turn off your A/C’s water valve and to drain any pipes to prevent water from pooling and freezing, which could seriously damage your pipes. Second, if your A/C is a window unit, remove it before winter hits to keep any draughts from coming in.
8) Insulate Hot Water Tanks
By insulating your hot water tank, you can reduce energy usage as your water will remain heated for a longer time. Hot water tank jacket costs aren’t typically too pricey, and the cost savings from reduced energy bills will be at least 50 percent of the value of the jacket, if not more.
9) Attic Maintenance
As heat will escape upwards through your attic, this is a good place to winter-proof. Rodents can destroy insulation to make nests, so make sure to check that your insulation is free from damage. You should also check to see if there are any holes or leaks in any seals throughout your attic. The best way to repair any defects quickly is by using spray foam or insulation.
10) Winter-Proof Your Yard
Bring in, or cover up, any outside furniture or grills as these can be damaged by the cold, and any metal items will be prone to rust. Drain water from any garden hoses to ensure water doesn’t freeze inside and wear down the lining. Cover wood piles with a tarp to avoid moisture and ensure they’re ready for building a cozy fire on a typical Canadian winter night.
If any of the above is not something you feel you can complete on your own, you can reach out to a local handyman.