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Home Ready: Your winter checklist

Home Ready: Your winter checklistHats and Mittens purchased? Check. Ski jacket ready? Check. Hot chocolate in full supply? Check. Your family is ready to make the most out of winter, now it’s time to make sure your house is ready for it too. The dip in fall temps may have you thinking more about roaring fireplaces and ski hills than your water pipes, but there’s no question that those require your attention too. Spend a weekend checking these must-do’s off your list and you’ll be back to winter day-dreaming before you know it.

  1. Turn off the outside water supply but not the outside taps! Any water still in the pipes needs a place to go. Shutting off the water supply while leaving the outside taps open will mean that excess water runs out of your home instead of into your basement.
  2. Make sure your furnace is working well. A furnace in need of maintenance won’t work as well as it should meaning less heat for more money. Schedule an inspection and remember to change the filters (they should be changed between four to six times a year; more in homes with pets or where dust allergies can pose a problem). It’s also a good time to have fireplaces inspected and ducts cleaned.
  3. Make sure you have a working carbon monoxide detector. Chances are your windows won’t be open as often in the winter months as they were in the summer . A carbon monoxide detector offers peace of mind during the months when natural air ventilation is harder to come by. It’s also a great time to do a quick test of your fire alarms.
  4. Clear your gutters: Summer and fall debris in there now will only freeze over and act as possible plugs when winter snow starts to melt. Take the time now to avoid the costs that a plugged gutter and damaged roof could result in later.
  5. Have an Emergency Kit and know where to find it. Take some time to assess what supplies you have on hand. Flashlights, emergency candles, batteries and bottled water should be stored in an easy to find location so that in case of an emergency – like a power outage for example – you’ll know exactly where they’re kept and be able to find them quickly.
  6. Pull in the weather sensitive plants. While hardier plants and shrubs should be fine exposed or covered up, be sure to bring in the flowering ones that might not be well suited to winter temperatures. Now, ahead of the first frost, is also a great time to take a good look at your lawn. Pulling weeds, aerating and fertilizing your lawn now is bound to help give it a fresher start this spring.
  7. Get help if you need it. Enlist professionals for the jobs you can’t manage on your own. There are some jobs – like checking roof tiles for lifting tiles and ensuring window frames aren’t leaking – where you may feel unqualified to make a determination on your own. Canvass neighbours and friends for names and credentials of professionals you’ll feel comfortable with.. While there will be a bill now, consider the costs of money lost in unnecessarily high heating bills over the winter season.

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