With subzero temperatures and arctic snow just around the corner, it is time for you to get your Regina home ready for winter.
By taking charge now, homeowners can minimize heating inefficiencies and avoid home insurance claims that the next stretch of frigid months can bring. Regina homes often take a beating during the winter. The good news is that there are several inexpensive things that you can do to make sure that you stay warm and cozy and avoid any winter mishaps.
A Regina Home Owner's Guide to Winter
Winter Preparation Outside Your Home
1. Blow out those sprinkler systems. The ritual irrigation blow-out should happen before the first freeze, as the frost level extends below the depth of your installed piping. There are several great professionals around Regina that can do this (even if you didn't get around to it before the frost!).
2. Turn off outdoor faucets. Undrained water can cause pipes to burst, so put drain and put away your garden hoses and turn off those taps.
3. Trim your trees and shrubs. Help decrease property damage and power issues by making sure that trees and shrubs are trimmed back from your house and any electrical systems. Branches break from heavy snow, and cause damage to Regina homes every year. Don't let yours be one of them.
Cost: $0 (or for professional yard service: $25+)
4. Clean your gutters. Not everyone's favourite job, but a very important one. It is vital to keep leaves, dirt, and little presents from squirrels out of your gutters. Blocked gutters do not allow the snow to drain, and this backup can cause major household leaks.
Cost: $0 (or for gutter cleaning services: $100+)
5. Downspouts down? While you are at it, do a quick check and make sure that all of your downspouts are directed away from the house at least 1.5 m to make sure that water runs away your house and not towards it.
Cost: $0 (or often included in gutter cleaning services)
6. Check out your roof. While you are already up on your ladder, make sure you take a look at your roof for any signs of damage. Are there any missing, loose, or damaged tiles? Are there spots that look distressed? How is the caulking around your air vents and chimney? Call a roofer to help inspect further and make any help with repairs or maintenance.
Cost: $0 (or $150 - $1,200 for inspections or repair on average)
7. Unpack your winter tools. Before you realize that your snow shovel is buried behind your lawn mower and camping gear, make sure that before the snow hits you have your weapons of winter nearby. Also double-check that you have enough salt or sand and that your snow brushes and snow shovels are in good condition. Replace them if they need it before the stores run out.
Cost: $0 (or snow shovel/brush $12+; ice melt/sand $4/bag)
Winter Preparation Inside Your Home
8. Plug leaks. Grab a pencil and a pad of paper and take a tour of your home. Make note of cracks and gaps that need filling. Pay special attention to doors, windows, skylights, vents, and chimneys.
Make a note of what needs filling and what needs repair. Then fix what you can. Use caulk for the smaller cracks and turn to foam sealant for the big ones.
Cost: $5 for caulking; $7 for foam sealant
9. Weather stripping. No, keep your clothes on. But check your home's exterior doors, windows, vents, and mail chutes for drafts. Pro tip: you can use a lit candle to check for drafts by moving it around your door frame - the flame will blow towards you if there is a draft.
Seal in warm air and increase your heating efficiencies easily by installing weather stripping. It's inexpensive, easy to install, and can save you megabucks on your heating bills.
Cost: $17 for about 5 m
10. Door sweeps are a thing.Your grandparents knew what they were doing - door sweeps keep drafts from coming into your home under exterior doors, helping you keeping your heating bills down.
11. Clean your chimney. Speaking of sweeps, sweep your chimney.
Before you light your fireplace, make sure that your fireplace, chimney, and vents are clear, clean, and in good condition. Dirty or blocked fireplaces/chimneys can cause issues lighting fires, chimney fires, and carbon-monoxide buildup in your home.
If you have a wood-burning fireplace you should be regularly inspecting for creosote buildup which can be a problem, especially in the colder months. Burn a chimney sweeping log or call a professional to service your chimney.
Cost: $20 for chimney sweeping log
12. Close that damper.. Warm air loves to escape open chimneys. Get into the good habit of closing your fireplace dampers once your fireplace has cooled down.
13. Change your ceiling fan direction. It's time for those blades to start moving clockwise and push that warm air down so you can enjoy it. There should be a switch on your remote control, or check your user guide for instructions.
14. Close your drapes and blinds. You would be surprised at how much insulation your drapes, curtains, and yes, even mini-blinds provide. Make it a habit to close your window coverings when the sun goes down to conserve heat and save on your electrical bills.
15. Lower water temperature. Increase your fuel savings! Hot water heaters' temperature settings are usually factory-set around 60° C. By lowering the temperature of your hot water heater to around 45° you will see savings on your utility bills and still have plenty of hot water to go around.
16. Insulate hot-water pipes. Does your basement or crawl space have exposed pipes? They are wasting a lot of heat, and costing you money.
Insulate your pipes by using foam pipe wrap. Pipe wrap is a pre-slit and hollow piece of foam insulation, that comes in a variety of sizes. Make a note of the diameter and lengths you need.
17. Change furnace filter. In the winter months you need to be on top of furnace maintenance. Before the season sets in, make sure you've had a professional fully service your furnace.
It is normal for homeowners in our area to have to change their furnace filters monthly. Keep a close eye on yours, and change it before it becomes a problem.
18. Install a programmable thermostat. This is one of the best thing that you can do to make your home more efficient during our cold Regina winters.
They work by automatically keeping your indoor temperatures consistent, saving fuel and you money. It is estimated that they can help you save $200 or more a year.
19. Set it and forget it. Now that you have a programmable thermostat installed, make sure that you set a temperature for morning, for night, and for when you are away.
Then leave it alone. If you are cold, try a sweater and warm socks before you increase the temperature.
20. Change batteries in smoke detectors. It is recommended that you change the batteries in your smoke detector at least once a year.
Many homeowners in Regina build this task into winterizing their homes to ensure that it is part of a routine. Keep your family safe this winter and make sure your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are in good working order.
21. Stock up. Winter storms can come quickly and sometimes last for days. Make sure that your home is fully stocked up on basic necessities to ride a storm out.
Winter Storm Survival
Have at least two-weeks worth of:
- Food (that doesn't require much cooking)
- Pet supplies
- Baby supplies
- Important medications
Make sure that you:
- Keep vehicle's gas tank full
- Have warm blankets, clothing, and space heaters on hand
- Check that your propane heater is meant for indoors
- Gather flashlight supplies in one location
- Have a battery powered or crank radio
- Have battery powered cell phone charger