Five things: Winnipeg expert’s checklist for winterizing your home

The sudden drop in temperature has home owners finalizing some of the seasonal steps to winterize their homes.

Rob Balcaen from Balcaen & Sons told Global News there are five key points to include on your winterizing checklist.

1. Exterior taps

Balcaen says the first thing you need to do is turn off your outside taps and make sure the water has drained.

“That line will freeze coming back into the house to the point of splitting, and if you’re not home and it splits you’ll have a big mess on your hands so you’ll have to get rid of the water that’s in there,” he said.

Ideally this should be done when you are out working in your yard in the fall. But if you haven’t already done it, despite current freezing temperatures, it may not be too late.

“If you’re just taking your hose off and you’ve found that your tap has already frozen, leave your tap off inside,” he said.

“If we happen to have weather above zero, try and turn this [outside] tap and drain it.”

2. Disconnect your sump pump

“A lot of people bury it for aesthetics,” he said. “It traps water, once the water freezes, then the pump’s going to try and go off and dead head and you’ll burn the pump out.”

Balcaen said disconnecting the fitting where the discharge hose leaves the house in the fall, and leaving it disconnected until spring, will prevent the pump from attempting to push water through frozen pipes. The worst case scenario of leaving the hose connected is a burnt out pump, which can lead to a flooded basement.

3. Check furnace filters

Steps three and four both involve the furnace.

He said you should really have someone check your furnace to ensure it is running properly ahead of winter, but at the very least, check the filter.

Balcaen says you need to ensure your filters are clean to allow adequate air flow. Plugged filters starve the furnace of air supply and can lead to the furnace shutting down or not operating efficiently.

How often you change your filters depending on the type of filter you have and the household. If you have pets or have been doing renovations, you should change the filter more frequently.

If you don’t remember the last time the filter was changed, now is a good time to do it.

4. Ensure furnace vents are not obstructed

While most of the checklist items are done before winter sets in, this is one that needs to be revisited throughout the season.

Balcaen said it is important to make sure the vents outside the home are clear, adding that is a common service call.

“In the middle of winter when there’s a heavy snow with big wind, the sides of your house can drift in,” he said.

“Where the vents go out the side of the house they can get covered in snow.”

Make sure the vents are clear all the time to save yourself possible issues with the furnace, he added.

5. Close up the air conditioner

Balcaen said the last thing to do on the winter checklist is turn off your air conditioning unit and put a cover over it to keep it clean.

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