The leaves are turning, the temperature is dropping, and everything is pumpkin-flavoured.
That means winter is creeping upon us.
Are your home and furnace prepared for a cold winter?
1. Clean Your Gutters
Leaves in your gutters can cause ice buildup which will block snow as it melts off your roof. Water can start pooling, and lead to some costly damage.
If you have thick gloves and a sturdy ladder, this is something you can do yourself on a weekend morning. If you don’t, there are exterior companies in Ottawa that can help.
2. Tidy Up Your Landscaping
When you’re shoveling up a storm mid-February, you’ll be glad you took the time now to tidy up your landscaping.
Any branches or trees near your roof, windows, or parking spots should be trimmed back. If too much snow or ice builds up on overhanging branches, they can break and potentially cause damage to your house or vehicle.
You should also mark the edges of your drive with sturdy, brightly coloured posts. These will serve as markers for whoever is shoveling/plowing your driveway and keep them off the lawn.
3. Seal Up Drafts
The last thing you want in the winter is a draft. Not only could they send shivers down your spine, but that could be tricking your thermostat and causing your furnace to run when it shouldn’t.
Your local hardware store will carry weather stripping, spray foam, and caulking you need to eliminate drafts. If those remedies aren’t quite working, have a certified energy advisor come in and perform a thorough blower door test.
4. Add Some Insulation to Your Pipes
Even your pipes can benefit from putting on an extra layer. You can get pipe insulation at your local hardware store and use it on exposed pipes to reduce heat loss.
5. Prep Your AC for Colder Temperatures
Your air conditioner is about to take a long vacation, and it needs the right protection. This is something you can do yourself or have us do for you:
- Clip grass and vegetation around your air conditioner
- Turn off the electrical power supply to your air conditioner
- Drain any water away from the air conditioner/your house
- Put on your air conditioner’s cover and make sure it is properly secured
During the winter, you should regularly remove any snow or ice from the air conditioner and adjust the cover to keep your AC snug all season.
6. Service Your Furnace for Winter
One of the most important things you need to have done before winter hits with an icy-cold vengeance is to have your furnace, boiler, or heaters serviced.
Remember: some things you can do yourself, and some things should only be handled by professionals.
1. Clean or Replace Your Furnace Filter
This is something you can – and should – do regularly.
The blower in your furnace is used all year long, including by your air conditioner. A clogged air filter won’t be able to properly protect your furnace from dust and debris. That means an increased risk of expensive breakdowns.
Before turning your furnace on for the first time this season, carefully remove your furnace filter from the return air vent. If it is disposable, replace it with one of the same size. If it is reusable, wash it with gentle soap and water, allowing it to dry completely before reinstalling.
2. Test Your Thermostat
Once you make sure your furnace is on, it’s time to test out your thermostat.
Make sure it is set to the appropriate heat setting, and program the temperature to be about 4 to 5ºC above the current temperature. It may take a few minutes to feel the heat from the vents, but you should notice the change. You want the perfect temperature to set your thermostat during the winter.
3. Inspect Your Carbon Monoxide and Smoke Alarms
A change of season is a perfect time to make sure your carbon monoxide and smoke alarms are working properly. They help keep you safe from carbon monoxide poisoning and fire.
Press the ‘test’ button on your alarms. This will alert you to any potential issues. You should also make sure your fire extinguishers are full and up to date.
4. Have Your Furnace Inspected by Professionals
Most of the work to get your furnace ready for winter needs to be completed by experienced professionals.
Professional furnace maintenance will keep you and your family safe from the effects of carbon monoxide by making sure that every part of your heating system is in proper working condition.
It will also make your home heating more efficient and help prevent surprise breakdowns.
Let Us Help Heat Your Home This Winter
Whether you need your annual furnace tune up, a repair, or a new furnace altogether, Ottawa Home Services can help.