WINTERIZING YOUR Calgary HOME
Since the weather is getting a little colder, now is the perfect time to prepare your home for the winter season with a few simple steps that will help make the upcoming months of hibernation much more comfortable and cozy for you and your family. Fall is actually the ideal time to do this but since Calagry is famous for chinooks you can alway wait until one rolls throught to make the outside work a little more bearable.
Start your preparations outside by removing debris from window wells and gutters and installing mesh or perforated leaf shields to keep your gutters clear for next year. Repair or replace worn-out weather-stripping on your home’s moving parts, such as doors and windows, to ensure a draft-free, airtight fit. Many do-it-yourself materials are readily available for weather-stripping projects including felt strips, metal-black strips and self-stick foam.
Your next step is to inspect the caulking outside and inside your home to check for warm interior air escaping outdoors through cavities in the walls and roof, which results in energy loss and unnecessary heating costs. Consider investing in more expensive caulking that will last longer and remember to clean the surface you are working on to make sure that the caulking adheres properly to the applied area.
Draft-proofing maximizes the effectiveness of your home’s insulation by keeping cold, dry air from entering the house and warm, moist air from escaping, which accounts for up to 30 percent of heat loss in the average Canadian home, according to the Office of Energy Efficiency.
Be sure to draft-proof anywhere there is an air leak between your home and unheated outside areas. Suggestions for draft-proofing include installing child safety plugs in rarely used electrical outlets, sealing mail slots that are no longer in use and removing window air conditioners and properly sealing the window during the cold, winter months.
Make sure that furniture, rugs and drapes, which can block the flow of heat, do not obstruct heating registers and radiators. Insulate exposed water pipes in unheated areas with newspaper bundles, fiberglass insulation or perforated plastic foam to protect against freezing and to save energy. And be sure to install plastic sheet insulator kits on old windows that let the cold air inside.
Curling up before a cozy fireplace is a favourite winter pastime for many. However, to avoid potential dangers such as chimney fires and carbon monoxide poisoning, it is a good idea to install a carbon monoxide detector that will alert you to harmful gases and to mount a chimney cap to avoid animal nestings and debris build-up. In addition to checking the flue seal, every homeowner should consider having the chimney inspected by a professional chimney sweep at least once a year.
Keep in mind that the heat from your roaring fire isn’t the only way to control heating costs. Install a programmable thermostat that will encourage your family to practice temperature setbacks that reduce energy consumption. For example, if you set your thermometer at 20 degrees C during the day and 17 degrees C at night, compared to the typically 21 degrees C, you will save as much as 15 percent on your energy bill, according to BC Gas Utility Ltd.
And, don’t forget that for most people, winter is the perfect time to snuggle into the warm covers and daydream the frost-filled hours away. According to a Better Sleep Council survey, more that five times as many adults spend more time in bed during the winter than in the summer.
If you are one of the many who enjoy spending time in the winter in the relaxing haven of your bedroom, be sure to check your mattress for visible signs of wear and tear and replace it if it no longer provides the restful support needed for a blissful winter’s slumber. Remember to close your bedroom drapes as soon as the sun goes down to keep warm air in the room.
And for those of you who need more than the warm retreat of your bedroom, you can use the money you saved on heating bills to finance a fun-filled trip down to the sunny south!
Nevin Van Nest . Realtor . Royal LePage Foothills
Your Calgary Real Estate Expert