Six easy repairs to help winter-proof your home
This year, some forecasters are predicting an early winter, which is great news for ski lovers, but less so for those who would prefer to skip past winter altogether. You still have some time before the weather turns cold to get your home ready for winter, and the time and money you spend now to protect your home from the elements can help you avoid costly home repairs later.
With that in mind, we have prepared a list of six small but important tasks to consider getting done this fall to help protect your home from winter weather damage.
6 tasks to get your home ready for winter
When it comes to getting things done around the house, aesthetic improvements like a new décor are fun, so it’s easy to work them into the to-do list. However, it’s some of the less flashy jobs that are important to find the time for to help protect your home from Canada’s often harsh climate. If you don’t know where to begin, the following list should help give you some ideas:
- Turn off outdoor water taps: After tending to your garden all spring and summer, it’s important to disconnect any garden hoses, close the water valve to the pipes from inside, and leave the taps outside all the way open for the winter. This will help to ensure all the water drains to avoid frozen and burst pipes.
- Inspect the roof: Missing or damaged shingles leave the roof vulnerable to the harsh winter elements of snow, ice and wind, and the damage may not be apparent until the spring thaw. By that time, it will be too late to avoid the cost of repairing water damage if the roof leaks and, to make matters worse, the need to repair or replace the roof will still be a factor.
- Clean the gutters: Ideally, gutters should be cleaned twice a year – once in the spring and again in the fall. However, if it’s only going to be done once, the cleaning ahead of winter is arguably the most important. If gutters are not cleared, the leaves and other debris from trees can freeze, and that excess weight can cause them to come away from the house, thus requiring an expensive replacement.
- Seal the windows: Sealing windows with a fresh application of caulking is a relatively quick, inexpensive project, but it can add up to a big difference in home comfort and heating costs. As space heating can account for as much as 61% of the energy used in the average Canadian home, and as much as 13% of your home’s total heating and cooling could be escaping through the trim around windows and doors. Anything you can do to keep the warmth in and the cold out can help to save you money.
- Service the furnace: Having a licenced technician service the furnace before it’s tasked to work all day, every day, can help it work more efficiently. When the furnace is operating as it should, it can help save on energy bills, and spare you a costly repair if it suddenly stops working – no doubt on the coldest day of the year!
- Replace smoke detector batteries: Many newer-model smoke detectors are designed to be wired to the home’s electrical system, leading some homeowners to forget about replacing the backup batteries. However, 20% of all house fires in Canada are due to electrical fires, and if the electrical system isn’t working, neither is a hard-wired smoke detector. Back-up batteries should be considered an important piece of safety equipment to maintain. While you’re at it, you should replace the battery in you carbon monoxide detector as well.
Performing these tasks ahead of the winter can help keep your home more comfortable when the weather gets cold, certainly, but as you can see, there are also important safety issues that should help convince you to stay on top of your to-do list.
Paying for home repairs
The cost of some of the items on the winter-ready to-do list, like smoke detector batteries and new caulking around windows, are easy enough to absorb. But more extensive jobs, like an unexpected roof repair or replacement, may be more challenging to work into the budget.
For homeowners, Home Trust offers the Home Trust Equityline Visa* credit card, which allows you to unlock the equity in your home, while providing you with all the convenience and flexibility of a Visa card. Additionally, cardholders earn 1% cashback on every purchase made within Canada, which can help you get a head start on saving up for next year’s home improvement to-do list.
To learn more, visit the Home Trust Equityline Visa web page.
* This product is not available in Quebec.
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