There are certain jobs in and around your home that should take priority before Winter arrives. Furnace maintenance, checking your smoke detector, eavestrough cleaning, and shutting off the water to your outdoor valves are all tasks that should be at the top of your list.
TIP: During cold days, open window coverings to allow the sun to warm your home. Close them when the sun begins to set.
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Good maintenance of your furnace can save money on energy and aid in prolonging its life. Make sure you read through and follow the manufacturer’s literature on use and maintenance.
Duct Cleaning: The furnace ducts in your home were cleaned prior to possession. We recommend having your home’s ducts cleaned every two to three years. However, if health reasons are a factor, your ducts can be cleaned yearly.
Filter: A clean filter keeps your home clean and reduces allergens. It’s definitely a task you can easily complete yourself. It is important to clean or change the filter monthly during heating seasons. When filters clog, airflow is greatly reduced and may cause cold spots in your home. We recommend purchasing filters in bulk for the convenience of changing them as required and saving trips to the hardware store (Note the appropriate filter measurements before purchase!).
If you have a MERV Filter (Minimum Efficiency Reporting Valve), it is designed to measure the filter’s ability to capture and hold particles and pollutants. A higher MERV rating equals the more particles (dust mites, pet dander, air allergens, etc.) your filter will capture.
Don’t forget to clean your eavestroughs! As a homeowner, it is very important to pay attention to your gutters (especially during these fall months), prior to the first snowfall. Leaves and other loose items can quickly find their way into these areas that many of us often neglect. Any accumulation of natural debris (such as pine needles or leaves) or even gravel from roofing materials can become a home maintenance concern. Removing this is the home owner’s responsibility. If water is not flowing freely due to blockages, your gutters are not working as they’re meant to. Rainwater should be directed away from the perimeter of the home to reduce the opportunity for water to enter the home along the basement walls. This can cause extensive (and expensive) damage to your home. Maintain your rain gutters well and you can avoid overwhelming issues from occurring within your basement.
If an issue arises, you’ll want your smoke detectors in perfect working order. Please ensure you read the manufacturer’s manual for a detailed description of how to care for your home’s smoke detectors. When the smoke detector ionization chamber senses products of combustion, there will be a loud pulsating alarm until the air is clear of smoke particles. Batteries are recommended to be replaced twice per year. Testing your smoke detectors may not be on your radar, but it should be.
“Smoke alarms are electronic devices that age and can fail. Once installed, people sometimes have a false sense of security and don’t think to test the units regularly.”
– Environmental Public Health, Alberta Health Services
Follow the link below for more information on how and why you should be checking your smoke detectors:
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Freezing Pipes: Provided the home is heated at a normal level, pipes should not freeze. By only turning the water off, your outdoor hose or nozzle may still freeze and get damaged. To avoid this, after locating the water shutoff valve (inside your home) for your outdoor tap, you should also be disconnecting your hose and storing it properly.
If a plumbing leak occurs, immediately turn off the supply of water to the area to minimize damage to your home.
Tip: Keeping garage doors closed protects plumbing lines running through this area from freezing temperatures. If you are away during winter months, set your heat to a minimum of 15degrees Celsius.
Weather Stripping: This wears out over time. We recommend that each Fall, you are diligently inspecting: weather stripping, striker plates, and swipes around the perimeter of your home’s entry doors. Please also note that exterior door thresholds can occasionally require adjustment or replacement.
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