We have recently experienced the first snowstorm of the season here in British Columbia, which may have been a good trial run to see how we can better prepare moving forward for the next few snowfalls over the winter months. Here are tips to prepare your home inside and out for the upcoming winter.
Starting on the Inside!
Did you know that keeping your thermostat at 68 degrees Fahrenheit while you're awake at home and then setting it back 10 to 12 degrees when you're away can save you as much as 10 percent a year on your energy bill, according to ENERGY STAR® whether controlling the thermostat is something you do manually or have it on an automatic setting, deciding a balance that works right for you is super beneficial in being cost-efficient.
However, if you’re not going away and you spend most days cozying in at home or are around for the weekend, keeping your thermostat programmed to stay at a certain temperature means that your heat will only come on when the temperature drops below your desired temperature. Leaving your thermostat set to 19 degrees may come on sporadically throughout the day, but it also means that you won’t be coming home to a cold house that takes hours of energy to get up to the temperature. .
To help with the heating of your home, looking for potential drafts to eliminate can be super beneficial in keeping your house warmer and cutting costs on heating. Drafts usually creep in through your home from around the windows, doors, electrical outlets, recessed lights or attic. One of the most common drafts is from your doors because the weather stripping is worn down. The same thing happens to a window seal, it gets worn down and stops being effective, or your window is not properly insulated.
I was recently reminded of the importance of changing my furnace filter every three months when I had to call a technician to come and service my furnace. Without a clean filter, your furnace can suck up all sorts of debris and dust that can spread throughout your home. Not only is this unhealthy for you and your family, but it also means that your furnace is working harder than it needs to heat your home. Thankfully, changing the filter is a simple task that only takes a few minutes- just make sure you do it every three months! The filter is typically located in the heart of your furnace system and is relatively easy to replace. Keep in mind that there are many different filter sizes, and the size can usually be found on the edge of the filter. Keeping a few filters on hand might be a good idea so that you don’t have to run to the store when a phone reminder goes off.
Humid air holds heat better, making your heating more efficient. This doesn’t mean you should live in a rainforest (We already do on Vancouver Island), but controlled humidity can be good.
This doesn’t mean you have to go and buy a humidifier. Steam creates humidity, and cooking and showers create steam. It is important to ensure that you are not leaving your home too humid as this can facilitate mould growth and other bacteria. If you keep your home more humid as a way of holding heat, make sure to check for moisture and condensation build-up. Check the walls of your bathroom and make sure they aren’t sweating. Windows are another wet spot for condensation to build up due to the quick temperature changes outside.
DIY Creations + Tips and Tricks for dealing with snow:
Did you know: the City of Nanaimo Bylaw 5000, Section 22(1)states that snow must be removed from sidewalks and footpaths bordering the property within 24 hours of snowfall? If you are outside of the Nanaimo area, be sure to check your municipality's respective bylaws.
Snow shovelling is difficult work, especially when it’s the heavy, wet snow covering your driveway and sidewalk. To make it a little easier, spray some cooking spray on your shovel. It will help you move through the snow quickly and prevent it from sticking to your shovel. To avoid a mess, just remember to wipe the ice shovel tool down before you store it back in the garage.
Why not be super prepared for everything winter throws your way? Just in case you find yourself snowed in without any ice melt or rock salt there’s an alternative you can make with household ingredients. Combine 1 teaspoon of dish soap, 1 tablespoon of rubbing alcohol and 1/2 gallon of water in a bucket and pour the mixture where you need it most.
This works amazing if the snow is falling light and fluffy. Forget the shovel and speed up the snow removal process with a leaf blower or even a broom is effective in dusting away the snow on stairways and front door entrance ways.
The awnings, overhangs and decks of your home can take on a lot of snow, and sometimes we forget about those areas until it's too late. To prevent any potential damage to the exterior of your home, scrape off your awnings if possible, shovel your deck, and don't forget to give your outdoor plants a shake so they don't break and can grow back for the spring.
Lastly, to speed up your mornings after a snowfall, try placing a plastic tarp over exposed sidewalks, walkways and even your car when snow is anticipated. And when the flurries stop, just pull the tarp off to uncover a clear path.
Best of luck with the snow, and drive safe! Hopefully, we barely need to use the snow tips this winter!
Personal Real Estate Corporation
One of Canada's Leading Realtors
#1 Nanaimo Realtor® 2015 - 2018 RE/MAX*
Top 52 Canada RE/MAX*
Consistently one of Nanaimo's Top REALTORS® RE/MAX International Individual - 2017*
Contact Us Today
Largest Real Estate Brokerage in North America
Agent | Owner