Whether you’re ready or not, winter will be here before you know it. But before the cold weather arrives in Alberta, the fall is the ideal time to prepare your home for winter.
As a homeowner, it’s critical to protect your home now not only to prevent damage but to maintain your home’s value for years to come. It doesn’t take long and will allow you to save money on costly repairs and slash your heating bill.
Set aside some time to complete these winterizing tasks to stay cozy all winter long.
1. Clean your gutters and put downspouts down
Because water expands when it freezes, it can cause foundational issues if it is allowed to pool near your home. This can easily be prevented by cleaning out your gutters of all debris to prevent ice blockages and keeping downspouts in the down position pointing away from your home. The goal is to make sure your eavestroughs and spouts drain properly without blockage and carry water well away from your home’s foundation. For helpful tips, check out our exterior maintenance video.
2. Clean weeping holes
Before the freezing temperatures make it more difficult, the fall is the ideal time to clean your window’s weep holes. Weeping holes are the little holes located on the exterior bottom of the frame of many sliding and vinyl windows. They may be tiny but perform a big function by ensuring rainwater drains away from your home. Often they can become clogged with debris, so it’s important to periodically inspect and maintain weeping holes as shown here in our video.
3. Drain & turn off taps
Be sure to drain and turn off all pipes leading to outdoor water faucets as well as any garden hoses you might have. It only takes a minute, and this video will show you how.
4. Adjust your doors
Keep the cold out, and the heat in by checking your door for drafts. Start by closing the door and checking for air-leaking gaps around all the edges of your doors. Don’t forget to take a peek under the door to see if your door’s threshold needs to be raised.
5. Replace your furnace filter
There’s no substitute for checking and maintaining your furnace which heats your home. It is definitely one of the most important parts of winterizing your home before the cold arrives.
Regularly changing your furnace filters can significantly improve its efficiency, longevity, and will cost less to run. A clogged, dirty filter restricts airflow and increases the energy demand by making it work harder. Change your furnace’s air filter every two months throughout the winter season. A nice side benefit is better indoor air quality.
6. Clean your heat recovery ventilator (HRV) filter
If your home comes equipped with a heat recovery ventilator (HRV), you may not be aware that it requires regular maintenance. It works hard to keep your fuel bills down and improve your home’s air quality, so help it run better by cleaning dirty or clogged filters. Watch our home maintenance video to learn more.
7. Set your indoor humidity
In the winter, the extreme cold in Alberta makes our air incredibly dry. When the air is too dry, our bodies can suffer from increased respiratory discomfort to dry skin and eyes. Switching your humidifier from the summer to the winter settings will ensure your humidity level is exactly where it should be, offering safe, comfortable air for your home.
Check out our humidifier maintenance video for tips on how to change it to the right setting. If it’s been a while since it was last checked, now is also a good time for a little maintenance to keep it in good working order.
8. Hot water tank maintenance
It’s easy to take your water heater for granted — until it stops working and you wind up having a cold shower. A neglected one can typically keep working for years but over time your energy bills will increase and it will eventually stop working. Thankfully, a hot water heater only requires periodic maintenance to maximize energy efficiency and extend its lifespan. Drain it regularly by following these steps.
9. Maintain your gas fireplace
There’s nothing like sitting by a cozy fire while a snowstorm rages outside. Be sure that your fireplace is ready to go. If you’ve turned your fireplace’s gas off for the summer, here’s how to turn it on, clean the glass and maintain it.
10. Use your indoor air quality (IAQ) programable thermostat
For every degree you turn down the thermostat, you can save between one to five percent of your heating bill. If your family keeps a regular schedule, meaning you come and go at somewhat regular times each day, a programmable thermostat can easily be adjusted to suit your lifestyle.
Become familiar with your IAQ thermostat, and use these tips to set your programmable thermostat in the winter:
- Program energy-saving setbacks: The best times to reduce the heat to a lower temperature are during the day while you’re away at work and at night when everyone is asleep. Setbacks are most effective if you choose a time where they last at least eight hours, but the longer each setback period is and the further you set the temperature back, the more you’ll save.
- Change the temperature by only a degree or two: When you decide to override the heat setting, don’t crank the temperature way up because it will not heat your home any faster and can instead waste energy.
- Use all the features on your smart programmable thermostat: Most programmable thermostats have weekend and vacation settings. Plus, if you forget, most will allow you to control it from anywhere in the world using your phone or tablet.