The changing of the seasons is nothing new, especially in Alberta! Every year, we look out the window to see the leaves changing from green to red and gold, before they eventually fall to the ground. Every year, flocks of geese and other birds fly south, and sure enough, glittering blankets of frost begin to appear on the grass in the morning. Yet, in spite of how routine and predictable these season changes are, it still always feels like no one is ever really ready for them, especially the shift to winter! Many people end up scrambling at the last minute to get ready for the cold. However, if you get your home ready for winter before the cold actually arrives you will feel more prepared for the harshness of this particular season, even if you do wish summer would last just a little longer.
Check Your Furnace
When getting your home ready for winter, you’ll want to start with your heating system. You might not notice furnace issues in the summer months when the heat is turned down, so now is the time to have your furnace checked by a specialist to ensure it’s in proper working order and your house will be heated adequately during the cold months of the year. This is also a good time to change the furnace filter and schedule your next furnace cleaning.
Keep the Heat in
Once you’ve checked your furnace and are confident you have enough heat inside your home, it’s time to make sure that heat won’t escape! Is it especially chilly near windows and doors? Are walls around them cold to the touch? Do you detect a noticeable temperature drop in rooms with large windows? If any of these scenarios are true in your home, you may need to have windows or doors repaired or replaced, or install a plastic sealing kit around windows to prevent the precious heat from escaping and your heating bills from skyrocketing!
Keep the Water Out
There are many ways that water can sneak into your house during the winter, so you want to be as proactive as possible in making sure your house stays dry. One thing you can do in the fall after the leaves are all off the trees is clean your gutters out thoroughly. If the gutters are blocked and cannot drain freely, ice dams will form and can cause problems when everything starts to thaw. Water could drip slowing into your garage or attic, and you wouldn’t know about it until it was a real problem.
Another fairly simple thing that could save you serious trouble later is making sure your outdoor hose is disconnected from the house. If it stays connected to the water supply, any water inside it could freeze and cause a backup into the water line, which could then itself freeze. Much better to put your hose away for the winter and avoid this situation entirely. It’s also important to regularly check for moisture seepage on walls and floors, especially in the basement where melting snow can drip in through cracks or windows. This moisture can damage carpets and cause mould growth if not remedied quickly. And lastly, if you have electronic water sensors that are battery operated, use your fall maintenance routine as a reminder to change those batteries and keep them functioning optimally for the next season.
Getting your home ready for the winter means preparing for winter messes too! The water, slush and mud that comes with winter can be a nightmare for your carpets. Be sure to have a protective mat in place in front of your door for family and guests to remove their shoes on before stepping onto the carpet. Also consider buying a boot tray. This is a very important weapon in the fight to keep the floor clean! It will give your family (and guests!) a visual cue for where to put their soiled footwear.
Now that you’ve guarded your home against the cold, you’re ready for the low temperatures to set in. Getting your home ready for winter might not be your favorite way to spend the fall, but ultimately, it will save you time and stress and make winter a little easier. And if you really want to make sure your home is as clean as possible in the run-up to the mess of winter, consider a carpet cleaning from Amsteam! We have solutions for protecting your carpets, and the equipment to clean them when winter finds its way in!