There’s nothing more peaceful than relaxing at home – warm and comfortable –while gazing out the window at the snow falling outside. As winter gets underway, it’s important to ensure that you prepare your home for the season.
Bryan Baeumler, star of the hit HGTV series Island of Bryan, offers the following six steps that you should take to ensure you can stay warm, safe and relaxed. They’ll also and keep your heating bills low.
1. Set your home up for warmth.
It’s possible to arrange the inside of your home so that it is laid out for optimal heat efficiency. Furniture should be moved away from vents to enable warm air to circulate more easily. Drapes can be strategically opened and closed to catch the sun’s heat. And simply adding a few rugs or mats to your decor can help to keep floors warm.
2. Seal areas that permit heat to escape.
Once your room is set up for warmth, be sure to keep that warmth inside. Gaps and cracks around doors and windows must be sealed to prevent heat from escaping. Caulking or weather-stripping are ideal for this purpose, but even plastic wrap or a layer of bubble wrap can add that extra bit of insulation to a window – as long as the aesthetic is not a priority.
Insulation is also crucial, but it needs to be replaced periodically. Check it to ensure that it’s in good enough shape to handle another winter. The attic and basement are key areas in which to check the insulation.
3. Inspect and clean your furnace and fireplace.
Do hire a professional to inspect your furnace yearly, ensuring that it operates correctly. This is crucial not only to keep it working efficiently, but also to prevent carbon monoxide leaks or other issues. Filters should be changed even more frequently – about every three months.
Fireplaces should be inspected and cleaned annually. Bird nests in chimneys and spider webs that clog gas lines can cause fires.
4. Get efficient with your electricity.
Efficiency is not exclusively about reducing electricity usage; it’s about using electricity smartly. Programmable thermostats enable you to regulate room temperatures around your daily schedule, and many can be controlled remotely via your smartphone.
As for that ceiling fan you used all summer: change its direction to enable it to pull warm air downward into the room.
5. Prevent water buildup.
Any outdoor pipes with water left inside them can freeze and burst once temperatures dip below freezing. They must be emptied to prevent water damage to your home. This includes those connected to garden taps and air conditioning.
6. Your first line of defence is your roof.
Don’t ignore the roof, which is your first line of defence against snow and rain. Keep gutters clean to allow precipitation to drain freely away from your home and its foundation. Gutters that contain autumn’s detritus allow ice to accumulate, forcing snow to fall directly onto a house’s facade, potentially leading to water damage.
Ensuring safety, comfort and the longevity of your home will enable you and your family to enjoy everything that Canada’s spectacular winters have to offer. •
Bryan Baeumler, star of the hit HGTV series Island of Bryan, is the brand ambassador for HeyBryan, an app that connects homeowners with vetted, trusted home-maintenance experts who perform small tasks around the house. HeyBryan is currently available in Calgary, Toronto, and Vancouver.