No, not yet. We’ll be yearning for summer soon enough. For now, you should be well into WINTERIZING YOUR HOME. With that, here are a few tips to get the place that you call “home”, ready for Old Man Winter;
- Turn off outside hose bibs (faucets) and drain them. As an added precaution, wrap it with a towel and plastic to take the cold draft away. By the way, leave the shut off open. That way, when you turn it on in the spring, it’ll remind you to check the outside for any damage.
- Open the blinds or curtains on South facing windows. Whatever sun does show up will heat up that room.
- Seal off any unused doors or windows with plastic to eliminate drafts.
- Add insulation where practical – to the exposed concrete of the foundation walls, the attic, and maybe even wrap the hot water tank.
- Add, or replace existing, weatherstripping to doors.
- Close closet doors. There’s no need to heat the square footage.
- Put a sweater on, have a bowl of soup, put some slippers and socks on. If you feel warmer, you may not turn the heat up – just to heat the room.
- Install a programmable thermostat. this will control the heat when you are not at home or sleeping.
- A bit more of an expense, but if it’s time to change the furnace, go with the high efficiency ones. What about the hot water tank. Maybe a tankless system is for you.
- Vacuum the forced air ducts and change the furnace filter. A cleaner system if more efficient.
- If you don”t use the fireplace, close the damper and put a few pieces of insulation in the space to limit drafts.
- Reverse the direction of the ceiling fan. It’s push the warm air back down. Which way is the right way??? You’ll “feel” the air coming down when it’s the turning the right way.
- Install storm doors or windows to control the drafts.
- Install foam gaskets behind electrical cover plates on exterior walls.
- Clean out gutters and downspouts – before the rain starts and the water freezes in the gutter.
- If you have an alarm system, let your neighbours know how to get in touch with you, in the event of need. If the system is monitored, inform your monitoring centre of your vacancy and how to get you (or a near neighbour) if needed. Some alarm systems have a sensor to monitor for fire and flood as well, so calling your monitoring company and performing a test with them would be a good idea.
- Have irrigation lines drained and blown out.
If you have a summer home – cabin, trailer, or like, consider these;
- Shut the water off at the source. Drain water lines and hot water tank. If draining isn’t possible, then wrap pipes and check connections on pipe heaters.
- For waste lines for the sink, shower, tub, toilet, etc, pour about 1 cup of anti-freeze down the drain to settle in the P-trap to prevent freezing. DON’T use regular anti-freeze as it’s very toxic. Use plumbing anti-freeze for mobile homes and campers. Important: Don’t drain the toilet of the water. The seals will dry up and crack, and when the water is refilled next season, the leaks will start.
- Add a commercial septic tank treatment or enzyme product to the septic tank to help break down solids.
- Lower heating to just above 0 degrees (maybe 4 or 5 degrees) to keep ambient air warm enough to ward off the chill.
- Check skirting of mobile of mobile home for animal ingress point. While they deserve to keep warm for the winter, the destruction that they may cause could be a costly expense to rectify in the spring – not to mention the potential of removing any winterizing that you’ve done.
- Re-install storm windows and doors to keep chill away.
- Lower or remove any awnings or temporary roof structures to avoid blowing away or collapse under snow load.
No matter where you live, where you stay for the summer, or what you call the place where you lay your head, they all need to be protected from the chill of the season change. A little bit of pre-thought and maybe a small amount of money and time will go a long way to make sure that your retreat is ready for your enjoyment next season. In all cases, check your insurance policy. Make sure that it’s up to date and that you have appropriate coverage. If you have any tips of you own that you’d like to share, drop a line and I’d love to include them with everyone.
Until next time,