Ottawa is known for its quick change of seasons. Sunny and warm one day, frosty and cold the next.
So, when October rolls around you know winter is not far behind. That’s why fall is the perfect time to start preparing your home for the cold months ahead. Often homeowners wait too long and ice damage, heat loss and unwanted critters can move in. You don’t need that headache.
We’ve made adjusting to fall easy, putting together 7 home maintenance activities you can complete over a weekend. Follow them and you and your home are sure to stay warm and dry all winter long.
1) Roof Inspection
An annual roof inspection is critical to identify minor repair issues before they become major problems.
The best way to start a roof inspection is to grab a ladder and work your way around the house. You should be looking out for these common issues:
- Shingles that are curling up, or damaged
- Cracked seals or lifting flashing around vent pipes
- Chimney cap damage
- Growth of moss and lichen – a signal of roof decay
- Leaves or pine needles stuck in roof valleys
Renco Tip: Grab a set of binoculars to avoid climbing up a ladder.
2) Critter-Proof Your House:
Critters like mice, squirrels, and raccoons can sense the changing temperatures approaching. And when this happens they go looking for warm shelter. If they come across an opening in your house, they may get in and make a home.
But you can prevent unwanted guests by doing a walk around the exterior of your home and looking out for these issues:
- Holes or cracks where siding meets foundation
- Damaged weather-stripping around exterior door frames
- Seals where utilities enter house
- Outside dryer vents
Renco Tip: Use stainless steel wool to repair any hole smaller than 2 inches.
3) Clean Exterior Windows:
Just like floors, exterior windows need to be cleaned to remove debris and keep them in good shape. Here’s a quick tip to getting a streak-free shine, every time:
- Fill a bucket with warm water and small amount of dish detergent
- Wet a terry cloth rag and clean around window seals
- Use a window scrubber or sponge to clean window glass
- Wipe the glass clean with a squeegee
- Use a dry micro-fiber towel to do final pass on glass
Renco Tip: Closely inspect window seals to ensure no cracks or gaps have formed.
4) Drain Outdoor Faucets:
When fall hits in Ottawa you should be on the lookout for frost and freezing temperatures. A cold snap can happen overnight, leaving you with broken hoses and potential water damage. To protect against this damage prepare your outdoor faucets for winter with the following steps:
- Locate exterior faucets, remove hoses and drain water out
- Locate individual shutoff valve for each faucet inside your house, and turn-off
- Back outside, open facet and let all remaining water drip out
But if you already have frost free faucet, removing and draining the hose is all you need to do. When installed correctly these taps automatically drain remaining water, leaving nothing to freeze. See photo below to tell if you have frost free faucets installed at your home.
Renco Tip: Follow these simple steps to make sure your garden hose does not freeze
5) Clean out Gutters:
The best time to clean out your gutters is the fall. This is when leaves tend to accumulate quickly and clog up gutters preventing water from draining away. But by getting up on a ladder and cleaning them out before winter sets in, you can ensure rain and melting snow drain away from your home leaving your foundation dry and basement leak free.
Renco Tip: If you find asphalt grit from shingles in your gutters, this is a sign your roof is at end of life.
6) Test Home Safety Equipment:
The change of temperature means your furnace will start running and windows will remain closed. To make sure you and your family stay safe, take some time to inspect your safety equipment. The main devices include:
- Smoke detectors
- Water moisture sensors
- Carbon monoxide detectors
- Sump pump monitors
Renco Tip: Write down the install date on the inside of detectors to know when to replace.
7) Inspect Insulation:
Critters can silently move into your house, making a new home in your wall, attic or floor insulation. This can cause heat to escape, and worse water damage and mold. To ensure your insulation is dry and keeping you warm, conduct the following inspection:
- Visual inspection of insulation in attic
- Inspect insulation and vapor barriers in unfinished basements
- Inspect basement floors and walls for moisture or efflorescence
Renco Tip: Renco’s infrared thermal cameras can detect heating and moisture issues behind finished walls, floors and roofs. Contact us for a free assessment today.