Preparing Your Home for Fall

We all know that Fall in Canada is often short lived so maybe it's more appropriate to title this, "Utilizing your last chance to get ready for winter!" Jokes aside, it is super important to take care of your home and do the right checks while the opportunity is there (and before anything bad can happen to remind us).

1. Shut off and clear outside drains and running water. 
Some of us have absolutely learned the hard way but before your pipes can get the chance to freeze you will want to shut off and drain any running water outdoors. Turn off your valves to the exterior and run until they are all emptied. Improper care can lead to your pipes bursting and cracking which is not a fun clean up. When in doubt or if you cannot find your valve shutoffs contact your local plumber to help you out!

2. Clean the Gutter
Doesn’t really need a ton of explaining. Clear your gutters and downspouts so that you know they will drain well throughout your winter. Throughout Fall things will start to build up and with the Chinooks and Calgary winters as snow and ice freezes, then thaws, then freezes, then thaws you want to avoid any chances for water to build up and then proceed to go where it really shouldn’t (like inside). Please be safe and cautious if you are choosing to do this yourself. Use proper equipment and have another person with you to help keep you steady and monitor the situation. There are professionals that you can call to come and do this for you.

3. Check Seals on all Windows, Doors and Openings
You want to make sure you are keeping that cold air out and it isn’t finding any way to sneak in. Check the weather stripping for any wear and tear and consider a replacement where need be. A good rule of thumb is to replace it every few years. This is also a good time to go through and bring out the Caulking. Do some spot checks around the house wherever you notice some weak spots. 

4. Putting the Air Conditioner Away
There are a few reasons to make sure to put away your air conditioners for the winter. One of which is to protect the unit itself. If you read your manufacturers guide there is a good chance it even tells us to do it. One wants to be sure that after spending your hard earned money on your A/C that it will be perfectly ready for another Calgary heat wave come next summer. Additionally you want to protect the people around your home and your home itself. Added snow buildup on top of the A/C unit can cause the weight to shift and may cause it to fall or break which could be dangerous to those around and to your windows/siding. And lastly it's another spot where cold air could sneak in, which we definitely don’t want. 
If you have an integrated system you still want to make sure that it doesn’t accidentally turn on for whatever reason. Maybe you have too many people at home who like to play with the temperature? BUT it's not a bad idea to get into the habit of powering it down and shutting off the breaker that leads to your A/C to prevent any unwanted usage during the winter.

5. Check & Clean the Furnace
Before your furnace  starts going at full power to keep you nice and toastie this winter make sure that your filter has been cleaned or replaced. You don’t want to be breathing in any mucky air. It’s good for you and it’s good for your furnace (and for your bills). Keeping your furnace filter clean helps to have it running efficiently and effectively. Keeping you happy, healthy and toastie!

6. Prep Your Patio Furniture For Winter
Whether you leave it out all winter, cover it, or opt to store it. You may want to sort this out before the weather decides for you. Lots of furniture can lose its lustre after long exposure to water and salt. 

7. Winterize Your Outdoor Belongings and Spaces
Empty and store your rain barrels and planters, make sure your lawn mower and other supplies have been stored safely and securely, seal cracks in your driveway, walkways and steps. Clear your garage so you can actually park in it this winter. Imagine not freezing your toes off while you flail your arms trying to clean your windshield because we may have possibly yet again put off getting a scraper. Get salt or sand ready for walkways (please also note pet safe options like these). And don’t forget to make sure your shovels and snow blowers are ready to GO!

8. Inspect Your Roof and Chimney
You’ll want to check for any damages to the roof that could be potential causes for water damage. Give yourself a chance to fix it before the snow begins to sit and then thaw. Additionally any debris or obstructions in your chimney/fireplace are a fire hazard. These are two things that are worth getting professional help with to ensure that they are taken care of safely and properly.

9. Consider an Arborist Consult
Does anyone else remember September 2014 in Calgary? Now there are a few factors to consider for the damage that the 2014 snowfall caused, but it can give you a good idea of what the damage could potentially be. Consider calling an arborist to assess your property and check for trees or limbs that may need to go. Damage from fallen trees, and branches can cause very serious damage to you, your home, and others around you. Trees that may be in a vulnerable position may not do well in a heavy snowstorm.

10. Check the Smoke Alarm & Carbon Monoxide Detector
Winter often sees an increase in house fires, so check your smoke detectors. Check your batteries, replace them, and make sure it is actually working properly. You also want to make sure that your Carbon Monoxide Detector is working. During the winter months you may have various heat sources generating carbon monoxide within your home. Your carbon monoxide detector is your frontline for monitoring the levels in your home and alerting you when something is amiss. Check your batteries, replace them if need be, and ensure it is WORKING!

Feel free to download our FREE checklist to work through your Canadian Fall Home Preparation, just click here for your free copy.

Always consider consulting a professional and practice safety when doing these preparations.