2023202320232023TipsTipsTipsTipsTipsTipsTipsTipsTips October 30, 2023

Winter is Coming: Essential Fall Maintenance to Prep your Home for Winter in Canada

Fall is in the air, and we’re ready for the season of sweater weather, crisp mornings, and stunning foliage. It’s also the perfect time to prepare your home for the approaching winter, especially in Canada, where snow is on the horizon. We know that winter in our beautiful country can be a challenge, and getting your house ready for the season is an essential part of your fall maintenance – and there are a few ways to make this a fun experience for the whole family too! Grab a warm cup of apple cider, cozy up and join us as we share 10 essential fall maintenance steps you should consider to ensure your home is prepped and ready for winter.

1. De-Clutter Those Gutters

The beauty of fall leaves can quickly turn into a homeowner’s biggest headache. While those golden and crimson leaves look picturesque on the trees and along the escarpment, they can wreak havoc in your gutters. Clogged gutters can lead to water damage, ice dams, and even issues with your roof. It’s crucial to clear them out before winter sets in. Make it a family affair or invite a few friends over, as it can be a somewhat labour-intensive task. Remove the debris and ensure that water can flow freely. Don’t forget to inspect for any loose or damaged sections.

To make future cleanings more manageable, consider installing gutter guards. These easy additions prevent debris buildup and save you from hours of gutter cleaning – what’s better than that?

2. Garden Cleanup

The cooler temperatures signal the end of the growing season and the transition into dormancy. Before winter’s chill sets in, take some time to tend to your garden. Prune shrubs, cut back branches, and prepare your lawn for the cold months ahead. Besides enhancing your home’s curb appeal, a well-maintained garden ensures a healthy spring bloom. If you’re an avid gardener, consider composting the fallen leaves. It’s an eco-friendly way to enrich your garden’s soil, providing a fertile foundation for a vibrant spring garden!

3. Walkway Maintenance

The safety of your loved ones and guests is always important especially when icy conditions prevail during the winter months. If you’re not planning on doing a little sidewalk ice skating, well-maintained walkways are essential to prevent accidents. Cracks and damaged pavers can lead to slips and falls, and replacing them is a smart investment in safety. Additionally, consider adding non-slip coatings or mats to ensure your walkways are secure. Proper lighting along walkways not only enhances safety but also adds an attractive touch to your home’s exterior.

Keep a supply of eco-friendly ice melt on hand for quick snow and ice removal. These environmentally friendly products help you combat icy conditions while minimizing harm to your landscaping – and your furry friends’ paws!

4. Fireplace Prep

There’s nothing quite like cozying up in front of a crackling fireplace with a hot cup of cocoa as the winter winds howl outside. However, before you kindle the first fire of the season, it’s imperative to ensure that your fireplace is in top condition, for both safety and performance. A clean and well-maintained fireplace not only keeps your home warm but also prevents potential hazards. If you haven’t done so in a while, schedule an annual chimney inspection and cleaning by a professional. It’s an investment in your family’s safety and ensures that your fireplace operates efficiently.

5. Seal Air Leaks and Cracks

Drafty homes can lead to a chilly and uncomfortable winter – and higher heating bills! To keep your home warm and energy-efficient, take the time to seal any air leaks and cracks around windows, doors, and other openings. Use weatherstripping to seal gaps around movable building components like doors and windows. Caulk is ideal for sealing stationary components like the framework around your windows.

6. Furnace Maintenance

A well-functioning furnace is the heart of your home’s winter comfort. To ensure a cozy and warm interior, schedule a professional inspection to make sure everything is running smoothly. This includes checking for any potential issues, such as malfunctioning components or dirty filters. Replacing the filter is a small but significant step in maintaining your home’s indoor air quality. It’s astonishing how much dust and debris can accumulate in your furnace filter, and changing it can have a positive impact on the quality of the air you breathe.

Make it a habit to change your furnace filter regularly, typically every 2-3 months. A clogged filter restricts airflow and can cause your furnace to work harder, increasing energy consumption… And your energy bills!

7. Don’t Skip the Roof Inspection

Your roof takes the brunt of winter’s challenges. Any damage or issues with your roof can lead to costly problems later on. Before the snow starts to fall, it’s extremely important to conduct a thorough roof inspection. Look for damaged or missing shingles and ensure that flashing is secure. Addressing these issues now can prevent leaks and water damage in the future.

While you’re inspecting your roof, take a moment to look at your attic as well. Inspect the underside of the roof for any signs of leaks or water damage, as well as proper insulation.

8. Prep Pipes and Faucets

In colder regions of Canada, winter can be particularly harsh on your home’s plumbing. Frozen pipes can lead to costly repairs and water damage. To prevent this, take steps to insulate exposed pipes, disconnect garden hoses, and winterize your outdoor faucets. Before the first frost arrives, turn off the water supply to outdoor faucets and leave them open to allow any remaining water to drain out. Additionally, consider adding insulated covers to protect the faucets from freezing temperatures.

9. Safety Checks

Safety should always be a top priority in your home, and fall is an ideal time to conduct safety checks. Test fire extinguishers, carbon monoxide detectors, and smoke alarms. These devices play a vital role in protecting your family in case of emergencies. Review your family’s fire escape plan and update it if necessary. Knowing what to do in an emergency can save lives – and you can make it a fun activity for the kids!

10. Stock Up on Winter Supplies

Winter weather can sometimes lead to power outages. Prepare by stocking up on essential supplies. Create an emergency kit that includes items like flashlights, batteries, non-perishable food, and blankets to keep your family safe and comfortable during power interruptions.

It’s easy to get lost in the beauty of the season as the leaves change to beautiful shades of gold and crimson. However, don’t let the wonders of autumn distract you from the vital task of preparing your home for winter. A well-prepared home not only provides comfort during the winter months but also adds value if you decide to sell your property and helps you save. By following these essential fall maintenance steps, you’ll be ready to face the challenges of a frosty Canadian winter with confidence. Stay warm, stay safe and stay cozy knowing that you’ve perfectly prepped your home for the colder temperatures and fluctuating weather to come!