Of all the seasons where home maintenance is important, autumn stands out as the most crucial time of year – especially here in Canada, where your home isn’t just a place to lay your head but also a building that protects you from wind, rain, snow, ice and freezing temperatures. Because of this, when wintry weather approaches, it’s important to make sure your Toronto townhouse or detached, or semo-detached home is in tip-top condition. Here are five home maintenance tips to ensure your home can handle everything mother nature throws at it this winter.
1 – Clean the Gutters
Once per year, it’s important to drag that ladder out of the garage and climb up onto the roof to remove all the leaves and debris that has accumulated in the gutters around your home. Your gutters perform an important function in the winter, to not only funnel rain but also melted snow from the roof. Clogged gutters can overflow and result in hazardous ice build-up on the ground surrounding your home.
Cleaning gutters is easy: simply scoop all the leaves and muck out of your gutters and into a garbage bag or save it for compost. Then check for any obvious leaks or damage, and take the opportunity to inspect your roof for damage like missing shingles.
2 – Seal Windows and Doors
Keep your home warm this winter by sealing up any gaps around your windows and doors with exterior grade caulk. Update any weather stripping that has come loose over the past year and finish this to-do by sealing the gaps around your window trim inside the home. For least conspicuous results, use exterior caulk that dries clear, and interior caulk that also dries clear and is paintable.
By eliminating the free flow of air around your windows and doors, you’ll vastly reduce your home’s heat loss when temperatures drop, which will make your home feel warmer and less drafty.
3 – Drain Exterior Faucets
When outdoor temperatures approach zero degrees Celsius, any water pooled around the exterior of your home will freeze and expand. This law of physics also applies to the water in your home’s exterior faucet, which will freeze, expand, and crack the metal, causing leaks and an expensive repair bill. A cracked faucet is expensive and inconvenient. Fortunately, this repair can easily be avoided by turning off the water access to your exterior faucet in the fall, draining the faucet by turning it on, and leaving it slightly open to allow any remaining water to drip out. In the spring when you need water again, simply turn the faucet back on from inside.
4 – Rake the Leaves
With the onset of autumn comes another common activity, raking leaves. While this fall task might be nostalgic at first, it quickly becomes an onerous task. If you own a home in the Hamilton real estate market, which is known for its spacious lots and old growth trees, raking leaves might seem particularly unappealing, but a leaf-free lawn is important to ensuring your yard grows in quickly in the spring. Raking leaves also has a side benefit that many homeowners overlook: leaves make great compost. Dead leaves will break down over the winter leaving you with an excellent source of compost for your garden beds in the spring. To ensure your leaves break down even faster, shred them with a lawn mower before adding them to your compost pile.
5 – Upgrade Your Insulation
While not necessarily a home maintenance task, every fall you should consider your financial situation and determine whether you are in a position to improve your home’s energy efficiency. No matter your budget, there are always ways to make your home more comfortable and less expensive to heat. There are inexpensive options like spray foam insulating cracks and crevices or adding foam backing to your exterior wall electrical outlets. Or, if you’ve got a bigger budget you could ad attic insulation or upgrade your windows. A weather-tight home will be a much more cozy place to spend the winter.