Every year, Canadian homes sustain thousands of dollars’ worth of damage as a result of improper preparation for the winter season. Canada is a wonderful place to own a home, however, it does entail a little bit of extra work. We understand that as winter approaches, you’re probably too busy thinking about gifts and decor for the impending holiday season to worry about mundane home maintenance. For your convenience, we’ve put together a list of last-minute must-do projects before winter.
Have Your Furnace Serviced & Your Ducts Cleaned
If you’ve already turned on your furnace for the season but haven’t yet had it serviced, you should have a pro come by as soon as possible. A pro will ensure that your appliance can be used safely. An HVAC specialist can also perform a thorough inspection and cleaning of your ducts. Grime, dirt and even mold tend to build up in these spaces over the summer months, all of which can harm your family when circulated throughout the home.
Don’t forget that you also need to replace your furnace filters around once a month. Neglecting to do so will restrict airflow throughout your home and cause your appliance to work harder, running up your seasonal power bill. Alternatively, you can ask your pro about permanent filters during your service appointment. Permanent electrostatic filters and HEPA filters more effectively rid the air circulating your home of harmful particles, protecting against mold and allergens. An HVAC specialist can break down your options and make recommendations based on your budget.
Clear Gutters & Downspouts
As fall turns to winter and rain turns to snow, you’ll want to ensure your roof, gutters and downspouts are in good shape. Although it’s common practice to have your gutters cleaned in early fall, it is just as important to have your gutters serviced going into winter. Over the course of the fall season, leaves and debris build up in your gutters and prevent water from draining properly. In the winter, this water will freeze and, if left unaddressed, can permanently damage your gutters. Although it may not rain frequently in winter months, your gutters need to direct the run-off from melted snow. Have a pro or handyman come by to perform a thorough inspection of your gutters and downspouts before the temperature dips permanently below zero.
In case you haven’t noticed, it’s already started snowing in many regions across Canada. Snow removal services can be incredibly helpful, but only when they’re booked well in advance. The most reputable companies start to get extremely busy around this time of year. Contact a snow removal pro now to ensure your driveway and walkways will be in good shape all winter long.
Update Your Roof’s Insulation
Before cranking up the dial on your thermostat, you should consider investing in some fresh insulation for your home’s attic. During the winter, the air you’re paying to heat naturally flows upwards. If your roof and attic are poorly insulated, this air will eventually escape.
Adding insulation to your roof will also prevent ice dams from building up your roof. Ice dams form when uneven roof temperatures cause melted snow to re-freeze before it can be drained via gutters and downspouts. These frozen ridges then prevent run-off water from draining, causing it to pool and eventually flow into the home. Have a pro come by to add a few layers of insulation to your attic and you can rest assured you won’t be dealing with sky-high energy bills and a damaged roof come spring.
You also need to remember to care for the exterior of your home. Branches are one major source of seasonal damage to Canadian homes and property. In the winter, frail branches become weighed down with ice and can eventually snap off. If you have branches that hang over a fence, pool, and especially your roof, be proactive and contact a pro who can quickly remove threatening branches.
Lastly, if you have a gas or wood fireplace in your home, you’ll need to have it serviced before use. A technician needs to ensure proper ventilation, and in the case of gas models, will also need to double check that none of the hoses are leaking. Having a pro inspect your fireplace is particularly important for the health and safety of your home and family as fireplaces are often the source of gas leaks and can even cause explosions.
After completing these five projects, you can rest assured that your home will be well-protected against the winter elements. While you’re busy hosting in-laws and wrapping gifts, let a HomeStars home service pro take care of the heavy lifting. The temperature is quickly creeping towards zero so don’t hesitate to contact a pro today!
Cover image courtesy of Lancaster Home.