Here at Effect Home Builders, we understand better than most that your house is treasured, loved, and even part of your family’s story. As such, it’s important to look after it as best you can, and that’s never more crucial than in the run up to winter.
Alberta’s harsh winters require a bit of preparation if you want a warm, comfortable season. Take a bit of time before winter hits and make sure you’ve checked these routine items off of your pre-winter list.
Our focus is, of course, on boosting energy efficiency and essential preparation. A well-maintained home is also when it’s at its most efficient, which is good for your wallet and our carbon footprint.
Clear Your Gutters and Drains
As winter closes in, those beautiful fall leaves become a hazard for your home. They clog up drainage pipes, meaning that water will get trapped in the gutters and eventually leak through your roof and walls. By keeping them free of obstruction, you can ensure the downpours to come will stay outside your walls.
Worse yet, the coming overnight lows will cause moist leaves/dirt/mud to freeze. This will be a real problem once the snow starts to fall and packs of top of it. Come spring you may have a bit of a mess on your hands.
Now that the leaves have finished falling, October/early November is a good time to clean out eavestrough and ensure your downspouts flow well.
Make Sure Your Furnace is in Good Shape
It won’t cost much to get a qualified technician out to do a quick service of your heating unit, especially when compared to the alternative. If your furnace does break down, it can be not only inconvenient, expensive and uncomfortable, but even dangerous when temperatures plummet: be sure to get it checked out now rather than running the risk.
Newer furnaces (furnaces under 8 years old) shouldn’t require much in the way of repairs, but if you haven’t replaced your filter in a while or had the heating coil inspected, now’s a good time.
Simple preventative maintenance can keep a furnace operating up to 12% more efficiently compared to a furnace that is behind on its regular maintenance.
Beef Up Your Insulation
There are various types of insulation, for your walls and attic, and many of them offer substantial improvements to your home’s heat retention without too much of an upfront cost. The Alberta government offers a home improvement rebate for insulation of up to $3,500. If your home is older, you may find significant benefits from relooking at your insulation.
Reducing heat loss has multiple benefits: you spend less money on heating because your home is better at retaining it, and your furnace maintenance costs are reduced, as your furnace doesn’t have to work as hard.
Put Draught Protection in Place
This is perhaps the easiest and cheapest way to keep your home that bit toastier this winter. Draught protection should cover any cracks where cold air could seep through, like the base of doors or cat flaps. A bit of tape is an easy DIY option, while ready-made draught excluders are also readily available.
This is best done when daytime temperatures are still positive- it’s not a ton of fun working in the cold.
Wipe Off Your Solar Cells
If you’re in one of our green home renovations, a new Effect home, or you just happen to have rooftop solar, be sure to get up there and clean off the freshly-fallen snow. Just kidding- your solar cells won’t require you to brush off the snow. Assuming they’re properly installed and sloped, they’re pretty set and forget.