Winter will soon be here, and although it can be one of the more challenging seasons of the year, there are some things you can do to make life easier! Below you'll find a list of ideas on how you can prepare for winter and make your transition into the colder months as smooth and painless as possible.
1. Stock Up On Ice Melt
It may seem obvious, but you might be surprised at how many people let themselves get low on this essential product. Without ice melt, you may be hard-pressed to get your vehicle out of the driveway to go to work. Always keep an extra bag on hand for those times when you can't get out to buy more.
2. Invest in a High-quality Snow Shovel
High-quality, ergonomic snow shovels can make it a world easier to hand-shovel your driveway. Consider replacing your standard snow shovel with one that's kinder to your back and legs.
3. Weather Stripping
Weather stripping is an effective and inexpensive way to keep the cold air out and warm air in - especially if you live in an older home. You can find it in most hardware stores. When installing weather stripping, double check the following areas of your home for drafts and apply as needed:
- Doors and windows
- Electric and gas line entry points
- Plumbing exit points
- Air conditioners
- Vents and fans
4. Invest in a Roof Rake
The roof of the average home can hold up to four feet of fresh snow before it becomes stressed. The amount it can hold will be greatly reduced if the snow is heavy and wet.
Snow accumulating from multiple snow storms can lead to sagging ceilings, cracked drywall and plaster. A roof rake is an easy way to remove excess snow from your roof without needing to climb up and do it manually. If you live in an area that receives heavy snowfall, this tool is a must-have.
5. Stock Up
Keep a stash of basic supplies on hand in case of power outages or other inconveniences. Some of the items to consider for stock-up are:
- Canned food items or snacks that don't require much cooking
- Bottled water and energy drinks
- Extra winter gear (e.g. scarves, hats, mittens, gloves, long johns)
- A battery charger for cell phones
- Battery operated lantern or other light source
6. Insulate Your Pipes
To help prevent your pipes from freezing, consider insulating all exposed pipes. Foam and fibreglass sleeves are easy to install and can be found in most hardware stores. Caulk cracks or holes in your walls to keep the cold air away from the pipes. During especially cold weather, let your faucets drip to keep the water flowing.
7. Prune All Trees Around Your House
Remove all long branches from the trees around your home that have the potential to punch a hole in the roof, hit the gutters or damage your siding. Taking the time to get rid of them before winter hits can prevent damage down the road. For those larger branches you can't easily remove yourself, consider contacting a tree service.
8. Use Insulated Window Coverings
Although regular drapes and curtains will prevent some of the heat from escaping, insulated window coverings will provide an extra layer of protection. Keep the windows covered during the night and when you are away to keep the heat within the home.
9. Set Ceiling Fans to the “Winter” Setting
For the winter, your fans should spin clockwise to pull cool air up and send the warm air near the ceiling down towards the floor.
By taking a few (or all!) the above tips into account you'll be well on your way to enjoying a warmer winter. For other helpful cold weather hints, check out our previous post, "Ready, Set, Winterize Your Home".