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October 2016

How to prepare your home for winter

We may have had particularly a warm and sunny summer and fall, but there's no escaping the fact that cold weather is on its way. But no matter how low the temperatures drop, there's a way to avoid a lot of potential nightmares this winter. Here are a few tips from Soresto that will help you come out of winter without a scratch.
Doors and windows
• Once a year, inspect the seals around your doors and windows. Over time, weatherstripping may loose its elasticity and airtightness, letting cold air seep into your home. Make sure your seals are still in good shape so you can avoid letting cold air in and losing a lot of heat.
• Basement window wells may have unpleasant surprises waiting for you if you don't inspect them regularly. Clear out any leaves or other debris from window wells and make sure water isn't accumulating there.
• Window wells should have a working drain. And make sure that the bottom of your well has a gravel layer than water can pass through to flow into the drain. Water trapped in a window well means a flooded basement when temperatures start to rise again!
Outdoor faucets
• Forgetting to turn off outdoor faucets can leave you with busted pipes. But merely turning off the faucet isn't enough—you also need to shut off the valve. Cut the water supply, close the valves, drain your hoses and then disconnect and store them away for winter.
Outdoor equipment
• It's time to bid farewell to your faithful lawn mower and barbecue grill. Protect your barbecue grill from the elements with a cover, disconnect the propane tank and store it vertically in a place that kids can't reach. If your lawnmower runs on gasoline, close the gas can tightly and put it in a place that's off limits to kids and far away from pool maintenance products. Never store gasoline on your balcony or in your basement.
• Winter is go-time for your air exchanger, and you can bet it'll be running a lot. Make sure it's running as efficiently as possible by regularly cleaning the filters every two or three months. And have your heating system professionally serviced before you switch it on this winter, so you can be sure to keep the cold outside, where it belongs!
• Chilly temperatures mean the end of mosquitoes and other critters that bite and sting. So it's not necessary to keep screens on your windows over the winter; in fact, doing so wears them out quicker, reduces the amount of light coming in and traps dirt. Store your window screen in a dry place to make them last longer.
• One of the best tricks for getting your house ready for winter is to take advantage of the time change to do all the very important little chores you never get around to. Over the weekend of November 5 and 6, replace the batteries in your smoke detectors and make sure they work.
• Leaky roofs are definitely not fun. We recommend checking your roof at least once a year, or twice a year if you're on top of your game. If your roof is over 20 years old, call a professional to have it checked out. Finally, clean your roof eaves thoroughly so that the soffit, or underside of the roof, can properly ventilate your attic and keep moisture out of your house.
Drains and eavestroughs
• Leaves in drains and eavestroughs are something you'll want to avoid at all costs. Clean them out so that water can easily flow through them, or else you'll have serious problems on your hands. The same thing goes for downspouts: don't send the water over to your neighbour's yard, but make sure the water shoots out at least 1.8 metres from your foundation and is pointed away from your house.
• There's nothing like raking up a nice colourful pile of leaves and watching your kids or dog have fun jumping around in them. You can also just put fallen leaves directly into the right bags for the municipal leaf pick-up. Finally, you can compost them—it's a really great way to enrich flowerbeds and gardens. But whatever you do, don't burn your leaves in your yard!
Peace of mind during holidays
• Halloween doesn't mean you need to give yourself a fright. Keep your Jack-o-Lantern and candles far away from combustible materials. Bales of hay may make for nice decoration, but they can easily catch on fire. If you love decorating, make sure you don't overload your outlets and extension cords.
• So many fires are still caused by blocked chimneys. If you have a fireplace, get a specialist to sweep your chimney. Smoke will safely leave your home, and Santa Claus will be able to easily slide down to deliver presents beneath the tree.
Have a great, warm winter!
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