Monday, November 3, 2008

Prepare Your Home for Winter

While some of us are still waiting for the leaves to fall, other areas of Ontario have already been hit by the white stuff. With winter creeping closer, getting your home ready with this simple checklist will save you winter headaches and money!

  • Have your furnace serviced before the heating season begins and change the filter. Then change it regularly (monthly even). A clean filter alone would've saved me hundreds of dollars last winter.
  • If you don't already have a programmable thermostat, consider buying one. It will save on your heating bills and many energy companies are offering rebates right now for buying one.
  • Look for drafts around all windows and doors. One way to do this is to run a feather along the edges. Seal with cauk or replace weatherstripping where needed. You may also want to staple heavy plastic over basement windows if you suspect heat loss.
  • If you don't already have them, consider putting up heavy curtains. Open them during the day to let in the sun's warmth and close them at night to keep the heat from escaping.
  • Clean out your eavestroughs and gutters. Replace any missing or worn shingles.
  • If you have a fireplace, call a chimney sweep to clean it. Make sure caps or screens are installed properly to prevent animals from moving in.
  • Inspect for and seal cracks in foundation, chimneys bricks and mortor and driveways.
  • Shut off valves for outdoor water taps and drain pipe and hoses.
  • Drain AC pipes, and shut off any valves, if your unit has them. Consider covering for the winter.
  • Ensure your fire extinguishers, smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are all functioning properly.
  • Not digging your 2007-era boots and coat? Give someone else a warm winter and donate gently-used coats to charity. Many stores are even offering discounts on winter clothing with the donation of a jacket.

For more energy-saving offers, shop for your home – from your home at

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