Prepare your home for winter
- We proceed with cleaning the gutters
Winter is a formidable enemy for roofs and their components, especially gutters which can easily become clogged. It is recommended to inspect your roof twice a year. Before the start of winter, a thorough brushing and cleaning should be done, removing dead leaves, dirt, and residues that could eventually damage your gutters and promote degradation such as the growth of moss, overflow, etc. Don’t want to brush it yourself? Call on the professionals of a specialized cleaning service. At the same time, have them check for visible leaks to prevent freezing or inclement weather from causing further cracking and make sure they are securely fastened.
While you’re outside, also check that no shingles on the roof are broken, detached or curled. If some are damaged, replace them without delay: nobody wants a water infiltration with -30°C outside and 40cm of snow on the roof. Now, go around your house (or apartment) and thoroughly inspect the exterior walls to identify any cracks. If you find any, fill them before water seeps in: freezing and thawing could cause significant damage.
- We insulate the outdoor faucets
Before the arrival of cold weather, it’s important to make sure to properly drain outdoor faucets. And most importantly, protect them from freezing with foam sleeves. Also, remember to close the shut-off valve for water supply to the outside.
You can take this opportunity to inspect the condition of your exterior walls and repair any cracks where water could seep in.
- We check the sealing of windows and doors
In the house, the weakest points of insulation are often the windows and glass doors. To achieve good insulation, it’s important that the seals adhere perfectly to the windows and glass doors. Start by cleaning them, as dirt can hinder proper closure, this way you can avoid any heat loss and benefit from better comfort. If necessary, consider applying sealant. Obviously, single-glazed windows are not ideal for insulation and it’s preferable to have double or even triple-glazed windows that you can further complement with good insulating shutters. However, these insulation works are obviously a bit more complex and expensive to undertake…
Similarly, make sure that your front door, French doors, and interior doors do not let in cold air. Apply a “door seal” and/or a “door sweep” as needed, which will seal your living spaces and provide you with improved thermal and acoustic insulation.
- Cleaning heating and ventilation
Did you know that hot air rises and cold air descends? Before turning on your heating, here are three points to consider:
Clean your electric baseboards to limit bad odors when they start up again;
Do tests to check that they are all functioning properly;
If you live in a house, start by heating the basement and garage.
If you have an air exchanger, don’t forget to clean it before using it if you don’t want to end up with a house full of dust – the dust that has accumulated in the ducts over the past few months.
- We check smoke detectors and air quality
When was the last time you checked your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors? Be honest with yourself.
Take advantage of your winter preparation to change their batteries and clean accumulated dust. You will feel safer.
Even though it’s cold outside and you don’t feel like it, don’t skip airing out your living spaces for 10 to 15 minutes in the morning and evening. This helps purify and renew the air.
- Chimney inspection
It is very important to check your chimney, especially if you use a wood-burning stove.
- Firstly, check the sealing joints on the roof and the mortar between the bricks. If you notice any cracks or holes, fill them in as you did earlier.
- For prefabricated chimneys, make sure the joints and attachments are secure.
- Take out your brush and sweep your chimney. Call a chimney sweep if necessary.
- Don’t hesitate to ask the local fire department for advice on maintaining your chimney. They are experts and will be happy to help you.
- Securely attach the chimney cap and spark arrester: you don’t want to find them in your neighbor’s yard on a windy day.
- Once the job is done, come inside for a few minutes to warm up and change the batteries in your smoke detectors.
A small tip: avoid climbing on the roof if it appears icy or if the temperature is below 0°C. You do not want to risk serious injury from falling from such a height.