The winter season brings frigid temperatures, deep snow and icy conditions that could cause damage to your home. As a homeowner, you can complete nine preventative and maintenance tasks during fall to protect your house during or after the upcoming winter storms. Use this checklist to prepare your home for winter.

Maintain your Home’s Exterior

The outside of your house will bear the brunt of winter storms. Several exterior maintenance tasks winterize your home.

1. Inspect the Roof

As the first line of defence, your roof prevents water from leaking into your home. Inspect the roof and replace or repair any missing, damaged or loose shingles. A roofing professional can also replace or repair the calk around the chimney, air vents or sunroof.

2. Clear Gutters and Downspouts

The accumulation of leaves, dirt and sticks in the gutters and the downspouts hinders the free flow of melting snow and ice, and any blockages could cause roof and foundation damage. To protect your home, clean debris from the gutters and downspouts. Repair or replace broken or worn gutters, too, and ensure the downspouts extend at least five feet from the house and carry water away from the foundation.

3. Repair Weatherstripping

The weatherstripping and caulk around your windows, sills and doors prevent wind and water from entering your home. Inspect the seals around all the windows and doors. Replace, repair or otherwise fix any cracked, worn or missing weatherstripping to keep you warm and your house dry.

4. Clean the Yard

Heavy ice accumulations could break off tree branches, and strong winds may blow unsecured patio or yard furniture against your home’s siding and windows. These hazards could cause serious injuries to your family or costly damages to your house. Trim trees, store furniture in the shed, and clear the stairs and walkways as you prepare for a safe winter season.

Maintain your Home’s Interior

The inside of your house is as important as the exterior. To prep your home for winter, complete these indoor preventative and maintenance tasks.

5. Clean the Furnace

Your home’s furnace keeps your house and family warm all winter. Schedule a professional inspection and cleaning before winter weather hits. A clean furnace that functions properly and efficiently protects pipes from freezing and could save your life. Remember to also change the filters and wipe down your baseboards or central heating vents to improve indoor air quality.

6. Sweep the Chimney

Your fireplace creates a cozy and inviting indoor space, but a dirty chimney is a fire and health hazard. Hire a professional to inspect and clean the chimney. In addition to protecting your home and family, this maintenance task is generally required by many Canadian cities.

7. Protect Pipes

Water pipes in the garage, attic, crawl spaces, or other unheated areas of your house could freeze and burst when temperatures plummet. Cover exposed pipes with rubber or fibreglass insulation sleeves. You may also allow faucets to drip as you reduce the risk of frozen or burst pipes.

8. Improve Insulation

Cold air and water droplets can enter the attic, basement and other areas of your home that aren’t insulated. Seal these areas with extra insulation to protect your home from freezing and other damage. As a bonus, your home becomes more energy efficient thanks to adequate home insulation.

9. Test Detectors

The carbon monoxide and smoke detectors in your home can alert you to potential dangers, which is especially important as you spend more time indoors during the winter season. Test the detectors to ensure they work properly. Change the batteries and wipe dust and dirt off the detectors, too.

Before winter weather hits your town, follow this checklist and protect and winterize your home. You can also stock up on salt, sand and shovels, tune your snowblower, winterize your car, and update your home insurance policy. Your home and family are now ready for any weather our Canadian winter brings.

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