Hibernation habits for homeowners this winter season!

With winter right around the corner it is a good idea to take a moment to think of what needs to be done to safeguard your home. From freezing pipes to icy driveways, there can be many potential serious personal injuries and financial implications. Here is a list of items to consider when getting your home ready for winter.

First off – your furnace. It would be a good idea to call in an HVAC specialist to inspect the furnace and clean out the ducts. Also remember to change your furnace filters; even consider doing this monthly. If you don’t have a programmable thermostat it would be a good time to change to one thereby saving money and maintaining your home’s temperature more effectively. Be sure to always keep the area around your furnace clean and free from flammable materials.

Check your fireplace and chimney. Start with a visual inspection and if it hasn’t been cleaned in a while consider calling in a chimney sweep to service it for you. Good practice is to cap or screen the top of the chimney to keep out animals. Remember to check the damper for proper opening and closing.

Look at your house exterior. Inspect for cracks, worn weather-stripping, and exposed entry points around pipes – be sure to seal them. Replace cracked or broken windows and consider protecting window wells with plastic shields if you have a basement. Be sure to switch out any summer screens with glass replacements and install storm windows if you have them.

Inspect your roof, gutters and downspouts. To prevent ice dams, add extra insulation to the attic to prevent warm air creeping into your roof. If you can get a visual on your roof shingles, consider replacing the worn out ones. Clean your gutters and clear out the debris with a hose. Leaf guards may also be a good option to prevent clogging.

Prevent your pipes from freezing. Be sure to shut off the water main and drain any excess water from the garden hose(s). Insulate exposed plumbing and be sure the internal house temperature sits at, at least 13 degrees Celsius if you leave on vacation.

Prepare your landscape for the winter weather. Be sure foliage is trimmed properly to prevent injury in the event of severe weather or if close to electrical wires. Be sure that driveways, decks, brick patios are all sealed for the winter.

Have an emergency kit. A general good idea for winterizing includes having assets on hand in case of a power outage. Indoor candles and a lighter or matches are simple to have on hand in the event of an emergency and can be very useful. Be sure to put key emergency contacts in your phone contact list and have a backup charger for your phone. Have some supplies ready on hand such as water bottles, blankets and a first-aid kit in an easy to access location.