8 Ways to Prepare your home for winter - By Odds On Home Inspections.
1) Furnace Inspection
• Have your furnace serviced and ducts cleaned (every 2 years)
• Stock up on furnace filters and change them monthly. It is good practice to write the date changed on the furnace filter for a reminder – Move the dial on your humidifier from Summer to Winter, make sure the humidifier filter is clean or replace it.
For homes with HRV systems (Heat Recovery and ventilation system) – clean and service this as per the manufacturer's instructions on the unit itself.
• Consider switching out your thermostat for a programmable thermostat.
• Remove all flammable material from the area surrounding your furnace.
2) Get your Gas/Wood fireplace serviced/cleaned/inspected.
• We suggest having the fireplace serviced and cleaned (every 2 years)
• Adding a thermostat control to your gas fireplace. In the case of furnace failure this could save your home from disaster in winter.
• For solid wood fireplaces, we suggest W.E.T.T inspection(Wood Energy Technology Transfer) every 5 years and get a chimney sweep every 2 years – If you are storing firewood, keep it dry and away from the foundation.
3) Check the Exterior, Doors, and Windows
• Inspect externally for exposed entry points around windows, doors, pipes etc and seal them.
• Inspect and replace (if needed) weatherstripping around doors to prevent cold air from entering the home.
• If your home has a basement, consider protecting its window wells by covering them with
4) Prevent Plumbing Freezes
• Winterize all external faucets and drain via the bleed valve, keep off until spring.
• Locate your water main in the event you need to shut it off in an emergency. It is always good practice to turn off water when on vacation
• Insulate exposed plumbing pipes.
• Turn off the power and cover the air conditioner unit.
• If you go on vacation, leave the heat on, set to at a minimum of 16 degrees.
5) Service Weather-Specific Equipment
• Drain gas from lawn mowers.
• Service or tune-up snow blowers.
• Replace worn rakes and snow shovels.
• Clean, dry, and store summer gardening equipment.
• Sharpen ice choppers and buy bags of ice-melt / sand.
6) Check Foundations
• Take away all debris and edible vegetation from the foundation.
• Seal up entry points to keep small animals from crawling in the house.
• Seal foundation cracks. Mice can slip through space as thin as a 1/4 inch..
7) Install/Test Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors
• Smoke and carbon monoxide detectors should be installed on every level, ideally every walkway leading to sleeping areas and smoke detectors in every bedroom.
• Check the dates on smoke detectors, the lifespan is 10 years and 7 years for carbon monoxide detectors - Buy extra batteries and change them yearly.
• Install a carbon monoxide detector near your furnace and / or water heater.
• Test smoke and carbon monoxide detectors monthly to make sure they work
• Buy a fire extinguisher or replace an extinguisher older than 10 years.
8) Leaving your home in winter
• Turn off the main water supply to the home.
• Have a friend/fay member go into the home to check every 2/3 days or as per your insurance requirements
• Keep the heating at a minimum of 16 degrees at all times.
• Turn the water heater to vacation mode.
• Throw out all the garbage in the home.
Source - Chris Odd -