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Winter Preparation: Let’s Go Nuts!

All the squirrels and chipmunks are running around, busy collecting nuts, making sure their homes are well stocked… and you? What exactly are you doing to get ready for winter?

Before settling into hibernation mode, it’s a good idea to do a thorough walk around your home and see what may benefit from a little TLC before winter hits.  You may have already made it an annual ritual to turn off your outdoor plumbing and check your gutters, but there are other parts of your house that could use a little preparation for the inevitable cold.

Love  cleaning, caulking, weather-stripping, and insulating?  It’s important to take pride in these things. Don’t look at them with dread. This is your home, and it needs you to care for it. Every day, your home provides shelter from the elements and a place for you and your family to be together. It’s also a great way to bond with your family – take a weekend together to get some of these tasks done.

Voila! A Montreal and area winter preparation checklist to help make the job a little easier.

Don’t be nuts: prepare for winter!

Heating Systems (General)

  • Check the filters on the forced air furnace. Clean or replace them. Filters should be cleaned or replaced once a month in the cold months.
  • Vacuum the return air vents.
  • Check registers are not set for air conditioning. Reset them for winter heating.
  • Put the cover over the air conditioner.
  • Make sure the heat pump and outside coils are all clean.

Furnace

  • Lubricate the furnace motor, or better yet call the serviceman to check out your furnace.
  • Clean registers, vents and duct openings.
  • Remove any combustible materials from the area.
  • Check flue or chimney. Clean it, or hire someone to do it for you.
  • Gas or oil: Install a carbon monoxide sensor (detector) if you don’t already have one.
  • Oil: Look for leaks on the oil tank.
  • Make sure the smoke detectors work; even if they are functional, it is a good idea to change the batteries anyway. There should be a smoke detector on every level of your house.

Insulation

  • Make sure your attic is well insulated.
  • Install a blanket on the water heater. This can save you $200 per year in electricity.
  • Check the doors and windows for air leaks. Add weather stripping if needed.
  • Cover old drafty windows with heavy-duty, clear plastic. (Kits are available)
  • Outside, caulk around pipes, dryer vents, or other places where cold air can enter your home.
  • Replace doorstops if you can see light under exterior doors.

Gutters and Downspouts

  • Clean and repair rain gutters and down spouts.
  • Make sure gutter spouts drain away from the foundation.

Roof & Chimney

  • Make sure all roof vents are clear of debris.
  • Check and repair or replace any missing or damaged shingles.
  • Check the seal on the flashing around each chimney, vent, dormer, or skylight connection on the roof.
  • If you don’t already have one, install a screen on the chimney to prevent squirrels, birds or other critters from getting in.

Decks, Patios and Porches

  • Inspect supports and foundations for damage (See All hands on deck )
  • If the weather is not too cold yet, apply an extra coat of waterproof sealant to wooden decks and porches (this should be done in spring, if possible).
  • Store or cover outdoor furniture, grills, and planters.
  • Check lights and timers. Reset timers for earlier darkness.

Outdoor Plumbing

  • Drain and turn off the sprinkler system.
  • Drain and turn off all hoses and faucets.

Garage

  • Test the garage door auto reverse, by interrupting the optical sensors or trying to stop the door closing with your hand – it should reverse easily.
  • Check the floor drain is clean and has water in it.

With that, you should be in good shape for winter.

Happy hibernation!