Breaking News! Winter Is Coming To Toronto

Though, we true Canadians secretly wish that winter would never come, it always has a way of catching us when we are the least prepared. So don’t be the Toronto home owner who is caught with the lawn furniture covered in 6 cm of snow, drafty doors/windows, an unserviced furnace or clogged eaves toughs as neglecting them now while the weather is good could mean some very costly repair bills when the weather turns.

 

Furnace Inspection

  • For 6 months you will be relying on it to keeping you toasty warm, so get a HVAC inspection done to keep it operational…if not, furnaces have a way of knowing what is the coldest day of the year to become temperamental.
  • With your home closed up tight you should know that your furnace filter is working 24/7 to keep the air free of contaminants…purchase enough filters to get you through the winter and replace MONTHLY.
  • Like to save money on your energy bills? Who doesn’t. Now is the time to switch to a programmable thermostat.

Roof, Gutters and Downspouts

  • Since the roof will be off limits with snow, now is the time to get up there and replace missing shingles and seal any joints.
  • Fall leaves have a funny way of clogging eaves and downspouts causing them to fail. Clean out the gutters and clear the downspouts so that water will flow freely avoiding damaging ice dams.

Exterior Property Cleanup and Prep

  • It will not be pretty when you see your lovely patio furniture covered with 6cm of snow. Put away any summer equipment (lawn mowers, tools, etc.)either in the garage or pile them to one side and cover them with tarp.
  • Now is the time to bring out the shovels, snow blower (make sure is is serviced) and any other weapons you will require in your arsenal to battle the upcoming winter storms.
  • While you are out check that the exterior water line is turned off (from the inside) and insulate to with stand deep freezes.
  • I would say that during the winter that half of the homes I see have an uncovered central air conditioning unit. (this really bugs me). If want to keep the unit from filling up up with leaves, snow and anything else blowing around out there then use a cover – if you don’t have one a piece of plywood covering the top fan will do.

Windows and Doors

  • It is curious how $40 dollars or caulking and weatherstripping can seal up drafts and save you money. For just a couple hours work you can liberate your house from those energy sucking drafts.

Check Foundations

  • As we are getting ready to seal ourselves so are those pesky small animals. Mice can gain access to your home from a space smaller than the size of a quarter, so tuck point and seal all foundation cracks.
  • Make sure that all garage doors are closing securely as well as any access points under decks, porches or crawl spaces to make them rodent proof. Here in Toronto raccoons and skunks have made themselves comfortable in the city and are looking for a warm winter residence.

Smoke Detectors and Carbon Monoxide Detectors

  • Nothing has a bigger priority than protecting our families and nonoperational or nonexistent smoke or carbon monoxide detectors puts them in harms way. It is a great time for new batteries and while you are at it test each one which should be on every floor of your home.
  • Your carbon monoxide detectors should be near your furnace.

Plumbing and Water Freezes

  • Everyone who lives in the house should know where the main water shut off is in case of an emergency.
  • Wrap any exposed plumbing that is adjacent to known cold zones within your home
  • Disconnect the garden hose and drain it.
  • If you decide to go on vacation make sure that the heat remains on, this way there should be no unpleasant surprises upon your return.

Prepare Yourselves For an Emergency

  • If you were to lose access to utilities make sure you have a emergency kit.
  • Your kit should include matches/lighter, bottled water, non-perishable food, phone numbers for utilities as well as an evacuation plan.

Once you get your home ready for winter, you can be confident that your home is prepared for whatever a Canadian winter has in store.