Aside from getting ready for the busy Christmas season that is already upon us, there are also some things you can do now to prepare your home for the first snowfall. With winter around the corner, here in Ottawa, especially, we can expect sub-zero, arctic-like temperatures, icy conditions, and a whole lot of snow and freezing rain. It’s important to take steps now to prepare your home for those winter conditions. This is especially important if you are planning to list your home in early spring 2020: you want to make sure your home is in it’s best condition before putting it up for sale.

Here are five tips that will help prevent any significant winter damage, or even unfortunate water damage to your home or property.

  1. If you don’t want to freeze this winter, having your furnace professionally serviced and checked for any potential defects is a good idea. You should try to get in the habit of a routine check for your furnace every fall to avoid having it break down during the coldest months of the year. Never say never- it happens! If you have an older furnace or thermostat system, you might want to consider upgrading it this fall as well. This will help save you on hydro costs and overall use of energy – and will add value to your home if your planning on listing it soon.

  2. Be sure to check all of your doors and windows for any cracks or visible gapings. Making sure everything is properly sealed will help prevent heat loss during the cold winter months. You can also do a walk-around your property to check the condition of window and door frames from the outside, making sure there are no gaps letting cold air in. This even more crucial if you have older windows in your home.

  3. Do you have a chimney? If yes, be sure to clean it out properly before using it for the first time this season. You want to make sure all of the vents in your home are also properly cleaned before lighting that fire. This is extremely important to prevent carbon monoxide build up in your home, and having a clean chimney prevents the risk of chimney fires.

  4. Inspect your roof and clean out all of your gutters from any debris buildup during the fall season. If you do find your roof or gutters need immediate attention, be sure to call a professional sooner than later so you are prepared for the first snowfall – and won’t be surprised by leaks in the spring when everything starts to thaw.

  5. If you have larger trees and bushes on your property, be sure to trim them and perhaps even wrap them up for the winter. This will not only protect the trees, but will help decrease the risk of additional, more serious property damage during big winter storms.

Taking the time to winter-proof your home this month may seem like the last thing you want to add to your to-do list, but it could have larger payoffs in the long run.  In addition, making sure your garage or shed is stocked with a couple of good shovels, salt, sand, and extra windshield fluid for your vehicles can come in handy during unexpected storms. Once that first snowfall hits, the only thing you should have to worry about is having extra Hot Coco in the house at all times!