Household Chores to Prep Your Home and Yard for Winter in Alberta
The days are getting shorter and colder in Alberta, and usually by the beginning of November we get our first snowfall. Now is the time to get your household ready for the coming winter months. Read our list of winter prep activities to make sure your household is ready for the cold and snowy weather that is coming.
Check on and Change your Furnace Filters
You’ll likely have noticed your furnace is starting to run more and more as it works to heat your home against the increasingly cold outdoor weather. Increased running time combined with all that fall debris floating in the air outside means your furnace might be working harder than it needs to. If your furnace filter is clogged up, it can’t work as efficiently as it needs to, and your home indoor air quality could be suffering as well. Now is the time to check on that all important furnace filter and change it if needed. It’s also a good time to check up on your stock of filters as you’ll be changing them more frequently in the coming months, and it’s nice to have them on hand.
Turn off the Water to your Outdoor Taps
If you have outdoor taps, you’ve likely had them turned on during the summer months to water your garden and run the sprinkler. Now is the time to remember to make sure those taps are shut off. Failing to turn off your taps in the winter can cause burst water pipes and lead to big problems you’d rather not have to deal with especially in the winter. So, friendly PSA: Turn off your outdoor taps.
Put Away the Garden Hose
While we’re on the subject of outdoor taps, don’t forget to drain and put away your garden hoses. While they won’t cause the problems an outdoor tap that gets left on will, if you leave your hoses outside during the winter, you’ll be causing them to wear prematurely, and they also pose a hazard to things like snow blowers if you leave them out on a path. So, get yourself ready for the next season by taking care of those garden hoses, and put them away for the season.
Drain and Put Away Outdoor Toys
While you’re dragging that hose to the storage shed, make sure you grab all those outdoor toys that have been left outside all summer. They were great fun during the summer, but they could become a sad story if they get left on a path that will be frequented by a piece of snow removal equipment, or, possibly even worse, if they crack from the freezing temperatures or get crushed from the weight of the snow and you must deal with an upset child over the destruction of their favourite toy. So, get those toys dried and stored so come winter, everyone stays happy.
Clean out Your Gutters
Yet another exciting fall task that should make your list of things to do is gutter cleaning. It might seem like something you can leave for spring, but if you have gutters filled with fall debris like leaves, mud, and sticks, you’ll likely end up with gutters that are too full to properly handle all that spring water running off your roof. So, get on your best work gloves and safely climb up that ladder to get a good look at your gutters and clean out any debris before the cold weather fully sets in.
Clear all Snow Cleaning Paths
Weather you have a snowplow, snow blower, or you like to use the good old fashioned hand shovel, now is a good time to make sure all the paths you plan on cleaning snow from in the winter are clear of any obstacles. You might have taken care of this when you put the hose and toys away, but don’t forget about those tree branches that may have fallen or those garden tools you’ve been telling yourself you’ll move a little later. It might seem small and unimportant now, but it quickly becomes a pain in the back when you’re trying to remove a branch sitting on your winter path that has frozen solid to the ground.
Winter Service your Vehicles and Equipment
If you have a snow blower or machine with a snowplow, make sure it’s all set up for winter and ready to go when you need it. This could include basic maintenance items like cleaning your carbs, changing the oil, cleaning out the air filters, filling it full of fresh fuel, and making sure the tires are crack and hole free and filled with enough air. If you’re having more serious issues like a machine that won’t start, consider taking it in for repairs if you’re not mechanically inclined. A machine that won’t start when you want it to is extra frustrating when you’re also battling cold weather and the restrictions of winter gear.
Get your Vehicle Winter Road Ready
Your snow removal equipment isn’t the only thing that requires winter preparation. Don’t forget about that trusty vehicle of yours that can quickly become untrustworthy if you don’t prepare it for winter. Now is the time to consider getting those winter tires installed or replaced if your last season ones are worn out. The earlier you get to this the better as winter tires tend to sell out quickly during this time of year leaving you with few options for replacements. This is also a good time to get a basic maintenance done which can include getting your oil changed, having a battery test done to make sure it can handle those cold starts, getting that broken block heater cord replaced, and having any repairs done that you’ve been postponing all summer when a breakdown isn’t as big of an issue as it is in the winter. You might also want to consider stocking up your vehicle with a pair of booster cables, a shorter extension cord, a tow rope, and a roadside emergency kit.