The first day of fall is fast approaching, which means it’s almost time to swap out the T-shirts for sweaters, the cold brews for hot coffee, and the barbecues for apple picking.
If you’re a homeowner, however, cooler weather requires a little more preparation. Seasonal maintenance may not be the most enjoyable aspect of fall, but doing it sooner rather than later will likely save you headaches — and a whole lot of money — further down the line.
Here are 10 ways to prepare your home for colder weather.
1. Weatherstrip your home
According to National Resources Canada, up to 25% of house heat loss can be attributed to windows and doors.
One of the easiest and most cost-effective ways to keep your heating bill as low as possible is weatherstripping — sealing your windows and doors to keep warm air inside, and drafts outside. Make sure you choose weatherstripping materials that can withstand temperature changes and the wear and tear associated with everyday use, if it is applied to doors or windows that you and your family use frequently.
2. Get the furnace inspected
Having a HVAC (that’s short for heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) professional inspect and service your furnace at least once a year could help prolong its life and even prevent it from leaking dangerous substances like carbon monoxide into your home.
3. Clean the gutters
Remove leaves and other debris from your gutters, so they can drain properly. Clogged gutters could mean substantial water damage both inside and outside your home, which could result in you having to make a home insurance claim.
4. Make sure you have a home insurance policy that meets your needs
Home insurance provides financial coverage to repair or rebuild your home following common incidents like fires and burst pipes. However, not all policies are made equal. Some policies cover damages resulting from floods and earthquakes, for example, while others do not.
Review your home insurance policy to make sure it provides coverage for incidents that are likely to happen in your area. If you decide you need more coverage, shop around to compare prices and ensure you get the best deal.
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5. Set your programmable thermostat
If you don’t already have a programmable thermostat, it could be worthwhile to consider investing in one since it could bring you savings in the long run. Unlike manual thermostats, programmable thermostats allow you to adjust the temperature at different times of the day.
Setting your thermostat to automatically lower the temperature when you’re not at home and at night could result in lower energy bills — and big savings.
6. Drain and turn off outdoor faucets
To prevent water from freezing inside your garden hoses, drain and disconnect them from outside spigots before temperatures dip too low. Not doing so could result in burst pipes and broken valves.
7. Insulate pipes that are exposed to the elements
Install insulation around pipes that pass through unheated areas of your house, like the garage or attic. This will help prevent water from freezing in the pipes, but it could also help cut down on energy costs by minimizing the amount of heat hot water pipes lose to the cold air.
8. Check your home safety devices
The federal government recommends installing smoke detectors outside each of your bedrooms and sleeping areas, as well as on each level of your home — including the basement. It also recommends installing at least one carbon monoxide alarm in your home.
The change in season is a good time to check that all your safety devices are working. Replace the batteries if necessary.
9. Get the chimney cleaned and inspected
If you’re lucky enough to have a fireplace, keeping your chimney free of debris will ensure that your fireplace vents correctly and poses less of a fire hazard.
10. Fertilize the lawn
This will help minimize the damage your lawn sees from harsh temperatures, and even help prevent weeds in the spring.