cleaning gutter

Winterizing Your Home in Ottawa

The old man winter is coming soon, and since the weather has changed in early September here in Ottawa, most people are probably thinking (although one does not want to) about ways to winterize their homes.

Here are 10 tips to get your home ready for the winter:

1. Clean your gutters
September onward would be the best time to clean up all the tree branches, leaves or toys that are stuck in the gutters. You do not want the fall rain to be draining towards your house, you want it away from your foundation, having them cleared for rain/water flow would benefit any home. If you have a tree that sheds it’s leaves late in fall, you may wish to do this later in the season.

2. Replace your furnace filter
Most of us forget about replacing our furnace filters (which causes us to reach the furnace company for a service call only for them to advise us to change our filter and the furnace works just fine again) they do get dusty over the summer even though your furnace may not be running that much (remember it still runs if you have an air conditioning unit), replace your filter and mark the date on your calendar so that you know when the filter was last changed.

3. Caulk any gaps at windows or doors
Caulking is one of the cheapest solutions to block draft air coming into your home. The process is by simply moving your hand around the edges of your door and windows and find out if there is any air coming in. Caulk around where you feel the draft, don’t forget the attic door, and your laundry dryer vent might need caulking as well.

4. Check door and garage door weatherstripping
Check the main entrance door weatherstripping, if its damaged, replace it and also the weatherstripping for the door that enters your house through the garage. There is weather stripping for your outside garage doors that one can purchase from Lowes or Home Depot. Having garage door sealers/weatherstrips adds an extra layer or blockage of wind and breeze, thus it keeps your garage and house warmer.

5. Insulate electrical outlets and switches
Most people may not realize that electrical outlets also bring in some draft air into houses, and one can purchase a simple styrofoam socket sealer from Home Depot or Lowes. Remember when working with electricity, one has to turn it off from the main electrical panel before starting to unscrew any socket.

6. Add attic insulation
Houses lose most heat through the roof/attic, I have an article of how to insulate your attic, and it does really help in warming your house when you increase your attic insulation!

7. Reverse your ceiling fan
Most people think of using their ceiling fans only in summer, but in winter if you reverse the rotation (i.e running clockwise) it will bring back the warm air from the ceiling back down to be recirculated.

8. Wrap those pipes
Turn off those outside water sprinklers or faucets so that you don’t get your pipe frozen and end up with unpleasant insurance claims and flooding problems , turn them off from the inside if you can access them, also get pre-molded pipe sleeves to wrap up any hot water pipe so that less heat is lost through them for your hot water tank.

9. Get a programmable thermostat
If you are still using a non-programmable thermostat, go and obtain one that you can program, it will save you money. Hydro Ottawa peak saver plus runs a free program to get free thermostat till the end of September 2014.

10. Seal up any ducts
The ducts that run around your house can also be sealed up with aluminum foil tape, if you find/reach any heating duct, check if there is any leakage around them, usually leakage is found around the joints. Use your hands to feel if there is any breeze, and put some extra tape to seal it up.

And remember to enjoy winter, it will not last forever…

Author: Nilay Ertemur

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