Toronto usually has a cold and windy winter with the temperature about 0° C to -7° C. Sometimes the freezing winter nights in Toronto can be -20°C. So, maybe when you are enjoying your pumpkin pie looking at the beauty of orange-clad trees, you better make a checklist preparing your home for winter in Toronto.
Fall is the best time to get prepared by writing a checklist of what kind of maintenance your house needs for winter. Start this process in fall to make sure the icy winter cannot surprise you. Complete all the winter maintenance before the freezing weather comes and make sure your house and family are completely ready.
Related article: Is Winter a Good Time to Build a House in Toronto?
Here are a few tips for your winter maintenance checklist to impressively winterize your house:
The inside house winter maintenance:
1.Check the furnace and its filter
You need your furnace to work at its ideal function during all the winter. It means keeping your house warm is completely depending on the furnace. Therefore, the best advice for you is to get it serviced before the winter comes. An intact furnace can keep the inside temperature stably warm and prevent the walls and pipes and YOU from freezing.
You can check and change its filter by yourself. Clean filters allow the better airflow and furnace can work properly to keep your home as warm as possible. Generally, it is recommended to change the filters every 3 months. If you see any further problems, you can ask for the help of professionals and repair it before the weather gets colder.
2.Pipes and water supply system
One of the most common problems in cold freezing winters is damage to pipes and watermains. If your house pipes freeze, they would be vulnerable to any damage. If the water mains freeze, there would be a flood in the underground pipes and supplying water system.
To prevent such a disaster, you better check and ensure that all the pipes are entirely covered using pre-molded foam rubber sleeves or fiberglass insulation. This will minimize the risk of the pipes freezing.
Important Note: Try to open the faucet at a drip from time to time so that water flows in the pipes and try to keep the temperature of the house warm.
Installing a programmable thermostat can keep the heating in control the whole winter. You can simply set a schedule for it and also save energy for the times you are not home. Even when you are away for holidays, this tool can help to reheat your home for the time you want to come back.
A programmable thermostat is also cost-effective. Because when you are using this tool the heating system does not need to always run. You can control the temperature on your phone and use lower temperature when you are going to work or bed. This is a useful tool to decrease your energy usage.
Repairing old windows not only helps to keep inside the house warmer, but also can decrease your energy costs by up to 20% every year. So try to insulate or repair your windows before the freezing weather comes.
You can start by weather stripping. Use plastic weather stripping at each side of the window. Don’t worry! You can still open and close your windows smoothly. You can also use them for your doors. For more precaution, you can also use rope caulks. These are soft and sticky caulk for filling the gaps, which can be easily removed at the end of the winter.
Another option would be using shrink film. These are usually available with double-sided tape. You can use a hair dryer to fit tight these plastic sheets. It is a very useful tool to cover the whole window and stop the airflow. In spring, you can release the tape by rubbing alcohol.
Draft snakes are another effective way for windows insulation. If you feel the airflow from the bottom of your window, put a draft snake on the window ledge. You can also use this one at the bottom of your door. You can even make it yourself, you just need a 36-inch foam tube and a washable cover.
5.Check the Carbon Monoxide Detector
Generally the heat sources of your house may produce carbon monoxide and it can be dangerous. If the carbon monoxide detector works properly, it can monitor the level of carbon monoxide in your home and will alert you if it gets dangerous.
So before the winter and starting heat sources, try to check the detector regularly. Don’t forget to change or replace the batteries. Most of the house fires are usually happening in winter. Because not only the furnace might generate carbon monoxide, but also there is no airflow, all the windows are closed up tight. It is recommended to check all the carbon dioxide and smoke detectors.
As final words for your precautions inside the house: Pay attention to cracks on the windows, walls or foundation. Check inside and outside of the house, and fill all the cracks with caulking.
The outside house winter maintenance
1.Check chimney and fireplace
Before you start fire in the winter, make sure you checked and cleaned the fireplace and chimney for any damage or cracks. Or maybe it is stuck by bird nests or just leaves. So, it is very important to inspect inside and outside of your chimney. Try to clean it once a year. You can use the help of chimney sweep companies, they can identify all the maintenance problems.
During your visual inspection, ensure that:
- The chimney bricks aren’t missing.
- The chimney cap is in its proper place and in good condition.
- Find the bird nest or damage in the chimney.
- Take all the tree limbs above or near the chimney away or cut them.
- The flue liner is visible above the chimney crown.
- There is no inclination in the shape of a chimney.
Order the required amount of firewood in the fall. Stack the firewood in a proper location and cover them correctly. Separate the old and rotten firewood from the new ones.
2.Clean your gutters
The beauty of yellow and orange leaves in fall can be sometimes dangerous in the winter. So the first job should be cleaning the gutters from all the leaves, twigs, and gunk. Clogged gutters may overflow and damage your walls and ruin your house gradually.
It may also result in the serious damage of foundation, as a result of gradual penetration of water in the basement. If the water flows under the concrete, you will face expensive repairs and maintenance problems in the winter. You can check your basement to find any water to pool at your foundation. If you notice any dents in the surface, just fill it in with some soil.
There are some extra things you should consider to do for preparing your home for winter in Toronto:
- Empty the hose, put it away (in the garage).
- Put your outdoor furniture or seasonal tools somewhere safe and dry inside.
- Clear the garage space, then your car will have enough space away from winter weather.
- Service your snow-blower and put it somewhere available. Check its fuel level and change its oil.
- The last but most important point is to bring the salt and sand out to use it on your walkway and driveways, if necessary.