With the fall season in full swing, the time has come to begin preparing your home for the winter season just around the corner. With the right preparations and planning, you can save yourself unnecessary headaches and costly surprises come Winter. To help you ensure your home is ready to weather the season, the real estate experts at Royal LePage Your Community Realty have assembled a quick-list of tips to winterize your property.
Conduct a roof inspection to ensure your shingles are in place and intact, and to identify if there are any loose ones in the mix. If you’re doing a basic check of your roof yourself, be sure to implement any and all safety measures and keep some roof repair glue on hand in the case of any loose shingles. Addressing and treating loose shingles as soon as possible will prevent future leaks and the potential for subsequent damages to not only your roof, but your interior in the case of damage that seeps through the roofing altogether. Your gutters are also a major component of your roof’s overall health, so you’ll want to make sure that they are free of any debris, including leaves and branches, which are typically the culprits for blocked and overloaded gutters. The same goes for downspouts, which should be cleared out as well to ensure optimal efficiency.
Turking off all exterior faucets is a major part of winterizing your home. This includes draining the water from any outdoor valves, sprinklers and pipes to avoid pipe bursts. It is also advisable to install faucets with frost-proof properties, in the case of properties that are 10 years or older.
Leaks and cracks are inevitable along your home’s interior and exterior, and will happen at one point or another. Knowing this, making a point to check your property for any visible leaks, cracks or gaps seasonally (if not more often) is a great way to stay on top of any potential issues.
Some property points to pay special attention to when looking for leaks, cracks and gaps include:
When addressing cracks, sealing via caulking is generally the prescribed method. Your local department store will have experts on hand who can assist in selecting the right products for your home repair needs.
Similarly, your local home repair experts will be able to direct you to the right products for weatherstripping your home where needed, typically in the case of windows and doors.
Sealing gaps, repairing cracks and weatherstripping your home are all excellent and necessary methods of further protecting your property from points of vulnerability where the seasonal weather could potentially penetrate and do damage from the outside-in. Taking note of these “weak points” now, while the weather is still relatively stable and temperatures are still mild enough to allow you to comfortably and thoroughly inspect any exterior points of your home.
This might be the most important item on this list, and for obvious reasons.
When it comes to fire safety in the home, fire alarms and extinguishers are your first line of defense in protecting your home and most importantly, the people in it. For this reason, it is vital that you ensure these items are in top shape and functional as often as possible. We all hope that these emergencies never happen, but in the event that they do, it is your duty to make sure that your family is protected.
While we’ve included this item on our list of ways to winterize your home, checking your fire alarms and extinguishers to ensure they are in good working order is something you should get into the habit of doing as often as possible - once a month being the official recommended frequency and officially serviced once a year, per Canada.ca official guidance.
Routine maintenance of your HVAC systems will save you money over time by optimizing your unit’s performance and increasing the lifespan of the unit. This saves you money and time in minimizing the need for future repairs or replacements to address issues like leaks outside of the unit and inconsistent performance and temperatures.
Your attic’s insulation prevents heat from escaping. When too much heat is released through your attic, it causes any built-up snow on your roof to melt, and then refreeze over. The damming effect that follows this is problematic and can create serious damage to your roof. When you top up your attic insulation, you reinforce the protective barrier between your attic and roof, ensuring that the barrier prevents as much heat as possible from getting through. The prescribed depth of insulation is 10 to 14 inches, per the experts at Energy Star. This is dependent on the insulation type, but the rule of thumb tends to be that any attic insulation levels less than 4 inches should be topped up immediately.
While we’ve already addressed leaks and gaps on our list insofar as your interior and exterior structure, windows and doors, it is also important to specifically check for leaks and weak points when it comes to your toilets and faucets. Not only do these present potential future water-damage issues, but left unchecked, they will run your water bill up significantly, depending on the extent of the leak.
When it comes to pipes and plumbing issues, your best bet is to call in the experts. However, in the case of a leaky faucet that simply needs to be replaced or re-installed, this can sometimes be addressed quickly and easily - but it’s all about maintenance and managing any small leak issues before they develop into big leak issues.
Getting your home winter-ready should be all about maintenance and prevention. By taking the necessary small steps to inspect your property now, you are saving yourself for big headaches down the road. These headaches are generally time-consuming and costly, and especially frustrating when they could have been prevented to begin with. Take action now and enjoy the season with peace of mind.
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