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In order to prepare for winter, there are a number of beneficial tasks that you can carry out to ensure that you have a safe and comfortable winter.

 

Furnace/boiler tune-up, replace filters: Before you experience an issue with the furnace or boiler, it is best t to call in a heating contractor to service the equipment. They will clean it out, test it for safety and replace all filters as needed. While you are at it, have the water heater inspected as well.

 

Clean gutters: If you live in a location with heavy vegetation, it is a good idea to have your gutters and drains cleaned often, while checking for leaks. Overflowing and or leaking gutters can cause moisture damage to the home, so be sure to have them properly maintained.

 

Shut off exterior hose bibs: Find out where all of your exterior hose bibs are located, turn them off and drain all the water before it gets too cold. Exposed, pressurized water can freeze and cause leaks.

 

Test your smoke detectors and replace all expired ones: I recommend checking your smoke detectors at last every six months. If they are six years or older, they are 50 per cent less effective, so replace then if you need to. Also, all smoke detectors should be interconnected and hard-wired so they can be heard on all levels of the home. An electrician can help with this if you are not comfortable with your electrical system.

 

Have the roof inspected: Although it is much safer in the summer, a good winter roof inspection by a licensed roofing contractor or inspector should be considered, especially if it has not been done recently.

 

Have the attic inspected and add weather stripping to the hatch: In my opinion, the winter is the ideal time to check the attic, especially when it is raining. You can look for leaks, evidence of pests, insulation levels and ventilation. To reduce your heating costs have a proper weather strip applied on the attic hatch.

 

Caulk windows and doors, add weather stripping: Although summer is the ideal time to do this task, you’ll be able to check for drafts much easier in the winter. Take a trip to the hardware store to purchase the right type of caulking for your needs. Any damaged weather stripping can be applied to exterior doors.

 

Remove all items and vegetation from the home: All plants growing or storage items against the home should be removed to prevent moisture issues. This is an easy way to maintain the exterior, while preventing damage. In addition, remove snow from the foundation wall and clean all exterior vents.

 

Repair minor interior items: Why not take the time to repair those miscellaneous items that have been in the back of your mind all year? Loose door handles, trim, handrails, cupboards, bathroom and kitchen caulking, etc, can all be done in the winter.

 

Of course, many of these tasks can be done before winter, yet it is better late than never.

 

Source: REW.ca, Sean Moss - registered home inspector

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