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Protecting Your Home from Old Man Winter

With winter upon us, it’s important to take steps to protect your home from Calgary’s sometimes wild winter weather.

  • Make sure your windows and doors are sealed. Not only will you stay warmer in your house, you’ll save a lot of money on heating costs. Check for drafts around windows and doors with a stick of incense. If the smoke wavers, you have a draft. If the draft is coming from the gap between the window frame and the wall, re-caulk. Apply plastic film over drafty windows. It’s not that noticeable, and you’ll be amazed by the difference a thin layer of plastic can make.
  • Add extra insulation to your attic. You can lose a lot of heat through your roof if there isn’t enough insulation. Adding insulation doesn’t have to cost a lot and it can save you a lot of money in the long term.
  • Wrap pipes close to exterior walls or in unheated crawlspaces or garages with insulation. It will help prevent heat loss from hot water pipes, and can also prevent pipes from freezing and bursting during a cold snap.
  • Remove garden hoses to prevent exterior taps from freezing and make sure that they are turned off completely.  A dripping exterior faucet can create dangerous patches of ice.
  • Have your furnace inspected. Waking up in the middle of the night in an ice cold house is no fun. Make sure your furnace is clean and working properly, especially if you haven’t had it checked in a while.
  • Clean your gutters and make sure that your downspouts are clear. During a Chinook, the snow on your roof can melt very quickly. If it can’t drain, it can create an ice dam around the edges of your roof. During the spring thaw or next Chinook, water can back up under the shingles and damage your roof’s structure.

If you’re really concerned about how your home will weather another Calgary winter, it can’t hurt to have a home inspection.

By Patrick Murray