No More Tile to Stall… It’s Fall!
~BUTTON UP YOUR HOME FOR WINTER BY FALL-OWING OUR FALL CHECKLIST
As the air cools and the leaves change colour, we begin to crave our cozy sweaters and fuzzy socks, reluctantly storing our flip flops and hauling out those winter boots for another 6-8 months.
Sigh… summer in Calgary is over. As we layer ourselves on the outside and warm our insides with things flavoured by pumpkin spice, we should also take time to consider the most important “outer layer” of all: our homes!
But, what really needs to be done each year to prepare our houses for winter?
If you’re anything like me, you love a good list.
I’ve done a little research to create an all-in-one fall checklist of suggestions to help you prime your hibernation cave for the winter season.
(Blogger’s confession: in my busy workplace I can get distracted at times, and procrastination can start to creep in. As I was preparing this checklist over the past few weeks, I was aware it may be on the “late” side. I was NOT prepared for the gargantuan heaps of snow that were dumped upon us on October 2nd! But, this information will be handy for you whether you work away on it this year, or next! And remember, fellow Calgarians… if you don’t like the weather, just wait five minutes. 😉
~ Check the various air passageways throughout your house to be sure the air you’re breathing is as healthy as it can be:
– change filters: furnace, humidifier, range hood fan, vacuum fridge coils (Remember: clean appliances are happy appliances. And they will cost you less money to run!)
– clean dryer vent to remove built-up lint
– have a professional inspect your furnace
– get your ducts cleaned (they can blow out your dryer vent too!)
– cover air conditioner
– inspect chimney and fireplace to be sure they are free of debris or buildup (ensure the chimney cap is in good shape as well)
– Atco Gas recommends having your gas appliances and fireplaces inspected regularly. It’s free! Click here for more information
~ Remember, water flow and efficiency is also important:
– drain exterior hoses and store in a warm location for winter (they can freeze and crack if you store them outside!)
– flush your hot water heater to remove sediment
– shut off water lines to your exterior hose bibs then drain remaining water
– blow out your sprinkler system and deactivate for the season
– check your clothes washer for a filter to be cleaned or drained
~ Stand back and take a look at your house from the outside. Then, get up close and personal. Walk around, use binoculars for the high spots, and take note of any areas needing attention:
– inspect and clean gutters (if there is an accumulation of granules, that could be a sign your shingles are deteriorating)
– direct drainage away from your house
– check for cracks in foundation, separations in siding, or gaps around windows or wiring access points (then have an expert seal them!)
– ensure weather stripping on doors is secure
– cover or store outdoor furniture (it will take a beating with the cold, moisture and sunlight through the winter)
– check exterior light fixtures, replace bulbs as required
– inspect your deck & railings for protruding nails, shifting boards or other damage. Have a look for cracks or damage in your sidewalks & driveways as well. Your shovel will thank you later!
– don’t forget to give your garage the same attention!
LAY OF THE LAND(SCAPE)
– seed and/or fertilize lawn with high phosphorus content (high “middle number”) and don’t forget to give it a last cut
– prune trees and bushes, check for any precarious limbs or dead spots to be addressed
– consider any aerating or tilling of grass and gardens
– plant bulbs for spring
– water trees, shrubs and grass to stock up water reserves for winter
– cover vulnerable shrubs and bushes
– empty exterior plant pots and store
– inspect your fire extinguishers and check the expiration date (if you don’t have one, get one!)
– check batteries and test smoke & carbon monoxide detectors. Have you tested for radon?
– take a few moments to review your “fire drill plan” with your family to be prepared for any emergencies
– give the BBQ a good inspection & cleaning, store the propane tank, wipe away your tears, and cover it (don’t fret, it’s not goodbye forever, only farewell for the season. No one likes to flip burgers in minus 40.)
– drain fuel from mower, weed eater, etc and store
– bring your shovel and snow blower out for easy access and check fuel (may as well put your snow scraper back in your car while you’re at it :/ )
This isn’t the shortest list I’ve ever made, but with a little fall-focus you can accomplish these tasks before the tiny icicles start to form in your nostrils. Do the work now, and reap the rewards of lower energy bills and appliances with longer lifespans. Not to mention: peace of mind. (Whoops, I just mentioned it.)
Start tackling a few items every weekend, and you’ll feel more comfortable and secure as you cozy up for winter next to your efficiently burning fireplace…. or at least beside your squeaky-clean heat vent.
*Note: If you’re not the handy type, hire someone who is. If you’re not sure, do some research. Experienced professionals are there to help, so you never need to make assumptions when it comes to your safety or the structure of your home.
Thanks to the following sources for inspiration for my list: