The snow is here to stay as we prepare for another cold winter. Last year, we were just 50 cm away from surpassing the record snowfall. This year, weather experts say we can expect extremely cold temperatures but not so much snow.
There are a number of seasonal maintenance items that are best to do in the winter – or necessary due to possible snow and ice build-up – and the uninviting weather is the perfect time to hone in on the health of your home.
Don’t worry about tackling this all in one weekend, but rather, make a list of five to 10 items you could knock off over an entire week. You’ll feel better about your productivity even if you’re also seeing a spike in your couch and screen time.
Want a ready-made to-do list you can print out, crossing off items as you go? Find Kensington’s winter checklist.
Inspect Windows & Doors
You don’t want to experience heat loss during one of our coldest winters yet. Check the weather-stripping around windows and door frames and replace them if necessary. Double check there is no drafts coming in and if there is, caulk inside and outside to make sure to keep the heat in.
Regular routine maintenance of your furnace is important and it’s good to have it checked before the temperature outside reaches freezing levels – and be sure to clean or replace the filter if necessary. Also, always be sure to maintain your air ducts by having them cleaned or doing it yourself.
Be sure to turn off all your exterior faucets and drain any water from outdoor pipes and have any sprinkler systems drained.
Clear snow and de-ice
The most important thing to stay on top of in the winter is pretty obvious: it’s all about keeping snow and ice from getting into places it shouldn’t be.
Keep snow clear from gas meters, fireplace vents, furnace intake/exhaust vents, dryer vents and basement windows outside your home to prevent malfunctions or damage.
Clearing snow early after a snowfall makes it easier on you to keep up; makes it safer for anyone using your walks; and prevents snow build-up that can lead to property damage, or slippery surfaces later.
Regularly inspect your roof for ice dams or dangerous icicles and snow build-up.
As well, keep an eye on windows and doors for any ice accumulation or cold air leaks. Make note to repair it in the spring if needed.
To prevent damage, put away delicate exterior window screens for the season.
Always be sure to have a bag of sand to layout on your sidewalks and stairs for those spots that are tough to breakthrough.
Take a look at all electrical cords, plugs and outlets, and outdoor seasonal lights. Overloaded outlets and damaged extension cords can cause electrical fires.
Make sure only one major appliance is plugged into an outlet at a time, and keep outdoor wall receptacles covered when not in use. Extension cords should only be used as a temporary solution. For more information, visit Manitoba Hydro’s winter safety tips.
Mind your water levels
As periodically required, drain off your hot water tank as per manufacturer’s recommendations.
To prevent sewer odours from seeping into your home during the cold months, pour a quart of water down the basement floor drain. Run some water down any unused plumbing fixtures to keep some water in the trap.
During this season, it’s also a great idea to test your plumbing’s shut-off valves so they don’t seize up.
Watch the humidity
Set your humidistat between 30 to 50 per cent in the winter – lower than other seasons’ levels – and monitor your home for excessive moisture.
Set reminders to clean your humidifier two or three times during the winter season.
Clean and maintain
Put on elbow-length gloves and dive into the messy job of deep-cleaning the drains in your dishwasher, sinks, bathtubs and shower stalls.
Pull your appliances away from the wall to uncover dust that’s been hiding back there, and vacuum the radiator grilles on your refrigerator and freezer.
Check all faucets for leaks, and replace the washers if needed.
Check the pressure gauge on any fire extinguishers, ensure they’re not expired, and refill or replace if needed.
Clean and vacuum your bathroom’s fan grille for cleaner air flow during your bathtime ritual.
Get organized and make sure you can easily access your exterior plugs so you can plug your car in during our cold Winnipeg nights.
Once you’ve completed all of this, you can safely say you’ve conquered your winter duties, and did your part to will on the spring.
See what tasks you found the easiest or hardest to remember to stay on top of. Consider setting little timely reminders in your phone or day planner to check in with your home next season. Most importantly, stay warm!