Home For Her

Real Estate and Renovation advice for women

Winter Maintenance: How to Keep Your House Warm

By Glenn Duxbury

keep your house warm As the winter season approaches and things start cooling down outside, it’s time to start thinking about preparing your home for the season. Beyond the usual preparations for temperature change and worrying about a drafty home, it’s also important to consider the fact the winter season means spending a lot more time indoors.

In winter, the furnace (or other heat source) is the heart of your house. Before anything else gets done, make sure you check your filter. If it’s old and dusty, you can either clean it or replace it. If your house /town home runs on forced air, you should spend the money to get the ducts vacuumed. Getting rid of the previous year’s dust, pet dander and other dangerous build-ups, instead of blowing them around your house for another season, is well worth the investment.

Next, make sure you’ve got a good and working carbon monoxide detector & smoke alarms on all levels. If you’ve got such already, make sure they work – you don’t want to endanger yourself or your family with faulty safety equipment.

You’ll also need to take humidity into account. Check the de-humistat connected to the main Bathroom fan is set properly and the fan is clean. If clogged, you can clean it with a vacuum or replace it entirely – especially if excessively NOISY and you cannot stand it. If you live in an apartment with radiators or electric heat, those can be vacuumed of accumulated dust.

Now, before you start sealing up your home for the season, you might want to give your house or apartment a really good cleaning. Get into those small, dusty areas and scrub them well, this way you can start your indoor season with a fresh, clean environment.

Keeping warm in the winter means ensuring you keep the heat inside. This means weatherproofing your doors and windows, plus the attic hatch cover.

Speaking of the attic, is the level of insulation sufficient ? Is your attic healthy (dry and clean) ? Anything living up there ???

For doors, there are a few things you can do to keep the draft from winning the battle for heat:

1. Install a sweep along the bottom of all your exterior doors. The sweep screws into the door and it has an adjustable rubber edge that makes a seal, which stops the draft from coming in under the doorway.

2. Apply “sticky foam” (like tape) to the inside edges of the door trim, sealing up the doorway against the winter winds.

3. Purchase weather-stripping which screws onto the outside edge of the doorway.

For windows:

1. Purchase temporary, removable caulking. Make sure you read and follow the instructions because, when the spring comes around, you don’t want to ruin your walls and/or window panes when you remove the caulking.

2. Use removable draft seal, which is also like tape. Simply tape up your windows in the winter and peel the tape off in the spring.

3. Finally, the old standard plastic (apply by blow-drying) is also an option. If you don’t want to seal up your windows, you can always avoid window drafts are by making use of window coverings like heavy drapes or blinds.

Now, don’t seal up all of your windows! Make sure you can still open one or two of the best which have a good seal when closed because even thought it might be cold, it’s still important to get some fresh air inside.

Now your space will be warm for the season, why not make it cheerful?

Buy some potpourri or beeswax candles (which naturally keep areas dust free) and ‘green up’ your space with some plants, which add some much needed oxygen to any home.

Keeping a warm, comforting and energy efficient home is one way to beat the winter doldrums!

On the outside: 

1. Clean debris out of gutters.

2. Have roof checked to ensure no leaks.

3. Bring snow shovels to an easily accessible place near your house door

(i.e. not the crawlspace or the detached garage).

4. Purchase chemical de-icer or salt to have on hand for walkways and driveways. Remember – salt is for pavement and chemical de-icer is for concrete. Never place salt on concrete!!

5. Have your furnace and gas fireplaces serviced if not already done. Change or clean your furnace filter.

6. Turn off your hose bibs (outside taps) and remove hoses to storage. If your hose bibs are not frost protected, either install a heat tracer wire on your pipes or wrap with a cloth or towel to protect them from freezing.

7. Ensure you have working flashlights and candles easily accessible for those unexpected power outages.

8. If you have a wood burning fireplace you should have your flue cleaned and checked prior to using it this winter. Ensure your smoke damper is closing properly – against excessive heat-loss. Also remember not to burn Xmas wrap in your fireplace. This is a major cause of chimney fires.

It is always wise to purchase the items that are necessary, early – so you do not get so surprised at the hardware store after the first snowfall when they have sold out all snow shovels and de-icer.

Glenn Duxbury & Associates- Building Inspection and Consulting
“Uncovering Tomorrow’s Surprises, TODAY !”
604 524-2502 http://www.glennduxbury-inspections.com