With the arrival of this colder weather Iíve been forced to do two things: start wearing socks and start thinking about winterizing our new home.
This will be our first winter in the house we purchased in April.
It will also be the first time weíve cared about winterizing a property. Up until this year weíve been renters and the only winterizing weíve ever had to do was bring in the kidsí toys from the backyard so they donít mould over winter, a.k.a. the rainy season.
So, not really knowing what to do, my husband and I pulled out the stack of papers we got when we bought our home to see if there were any pointers. There at about page 48, was a list of home maintenance tips our home inspector left us.
At first it looked like an easy list with five to-do items, but the page turned to reveal about a dozen more.
The item I focused on right away was cleaning out the gutters to prepare for heavy rainfall.
I learned the importance of keeping gutters clean the week we moved into our dream home. While I was still floating around and discovering new things that we owned, like the kitchen faucet that could extend with a hose (how did I miss that?), I noticed a vine reaching up into our gutter on the front of the house.
I pulled the vine, expecting it to fall easily from the gutter it laid in, but the vine snapped and half of it dangled there in front of me, the top still securely fastened to something.
I, being the wonderfully helpful wife I am, told my husband. He went up on the roof and found a solid green lawn of moss had grown inside most of our gutters and even a few plants were starting to sprout.
Needless to say he spent some time up there cleaning them out and now that the rainy seasonís coming itís worth another look.
Another helpful tip on the winter home maintenance list is making sure that downspouts are secure and that thereís proper drainage taking water away from the house.
My husband zeroed in on the tip about sealing all openings in walkways and driveways to prevent water from penetrating into the homeís foundation because thereís a crack in our cement pad out back.
He also liked the tip about tripping circuit breakers twice a year to ensure they arenít stuck in the open position.
We donít have a wood fireplace, but I know from the dozens of stories Iíve written with information from Sechelt fire Chief Bill Higgs that chimney fires are common every winter and also easily avoidable by annual cleaning. Chimney sweeps can be found in the phonebook and they need to be WETT certified.
On the topic of chimneys, itís a good time of year to look for and close up any openings that could be attractive to animals like raccoons to nest in. Chimneys should be capped and other openings should be covered to keep critters out.
One tip I plan to try soon is to light an incense stick on a breezy day and walk around the house checking for drafts in doorways, windows and electrical outlets. Most drafts can be fixed easily with kits found at the local hardware store, so I might actually fix some of those things myself.
This is a good time of year to check that alarms are working well and for deep cleaning of homes as colder temperatures means more time spent indoors.
Just the deep cleaning could keep me busy for the next two weeks.
So it looks like thereís a lot to be done to get our home ready for winter now that weíre homeowners, but if we start now we should be done by Dec. 21, which is when winter officially descends.