The cold is upon us in Beautiful BC. This means that, for many of us, snow isn’t far off. If you haven’t done so already, don’t put it off: now is the time to prepare your home to brave the winter season.
Most homeowners find winter is the most stressful time of year because there is so much you need to do to get ready. Unfortunately, this also means that if you don’t start early, you may find yourself scrambling to find help at the last minute. Contractors across the province are already becoming very busy with winter preparation requests. At Waypoint, we want to make sure you don’t find yourself stuck in your winterizing efforts, so we’ve prepared some tips to help you get started.
Seal Your Windows
The first thing you should do to prepare your home for winter is seal your windows. Unsealed windows can release up to 25 percent of the thermal energy in your home, which can cause your utility bills to spike. Windows that are properly sealed and well insulated will help you retain as much heat as possible. If you have screens on your windows, remove them and replace them with a second layer of glass. You may also cover your windows with plastic sheeting to create an additional heat barrier.
Inspect the Exterior
Holes in your roof and exterior walls not only cause a draft but they can also leave your home vulnerable to leaks and water damage. Search the exterior of your home for cracks and patch them with an appropriate repair kit. If you have wide gaps under your doors, you may opt to cover them with a vinyl strip or other heat barrier. We also recommend hiring a specialized contractor to inspect your roof. A specialized contractor can repair any existing holes in your roof as well as identify and repair weak spots that may develop holes over the winter.
Remove Unstable Foliage
As you inspect the exterior, take note of any trees or large brush surrounding your home that may not be strong enough to withstand harsh winter winds. If there is a risk that surrounding foliage might fall and cause damage to your home, consider having it removed or reinforced by a professional.
Clean Your Gutters
Many homeowners don’t realize the importance of having immaculate gutters in the wintertime. Any dirt and debris accumulated in gutters can result in ice dams that may flood your home when they melt. In fact, water damage resulting from blocked and damaged drains is one of the most common types of winter home damage. If you’re planning to hire a specialized contractor to inspect your roof, you might request they clean and make any necessary repairs to your gutters while they’re there. You should also inspect and repair perimeter gutters to make sure winter precipitation has a clear path off and away from your property.
Clear Your Heat Source
All of your interior heating sources should be clean and ready to go before you encounter the first deep chill. If you have a furnace heating system, make sure the filter is free of dust and holes. If you have a fireplace in your home, ensure the damper and carbon monoxide detector are functioning properly and that the chimney is clear of dirt and obstructions. Also, remember to store firewood a minimum of 15 meters from your house so as not to attract termites.
Consider a Dehumidifier
The combination of additional heat and high humidity can leave your home more vulnerable to mould in the wintertime. Because of this, you may consider running a dehumidifier alongside your heat source this year. A dehumidifier with an air cleaning function will also help keep the air in your home fresh throughout the winter months.
Wrap Your Pipes
Any pipes in your home that are warm to the touch should be wrapped to prevent heat loss. You should also wrap your hot water tank. When hot water goes unused, it needs to be continuously reheated. Wrapping your pipes and hot water tank reduces the need for this and can help you save on heating costs.
Reverse Ceiling Fans
Turning your fans on in the winter may sound counterproductive but it can actually help improve the circulation of heat in your home. The trick is to reverse your ceiling fans so that they are pushing heat down rather than pushing it up. Try it for yourself this winter and see the difference it makes in your home.
Winterize with Waypoint
It’s important that you finish your winter preparation checklist before the storms strike. This saves you money on winter damages, reduces the likelihood of claims against your home or liability insurance policies, and prevents the loss of valuable items. Be sure to review your policy with a friendly Waypoint advisor to ensure your property is adequately insured. If you do need to make a claim, we’ll be here to help every step of the way.
We’ll also help you explore additional coverages like water service line protection that could save you from a big, unexpected bill in the future. Call your local office to book an appointment with us today to get started.