That's why we've compiled a handy checklist of important tasks you might want to consider taking care of before the cold winds start to blow.
- Clean up and store patio furniture and umbrellas, outdoor summer toys, garden ornaments and anything else in your yard or on your balcony that shouldn't stay outside during the winter.
- Inspect windows and external doors, including your garage door, to make sure they seal tightly. Now is the time to install weather-stripping or re-caulk if need be.
- Put a fitted cover over your BBQ if it is stored outside. For information about safely storing propane tanks, visit http://www.propane.ca/en/about-propane/safety
- Drain and store garden hoses. If possible, turn off water to exterior faucets to protect against freezing.
- Check your gutters and downspouts after the bulk of the leaves have fallen to make sure they are clear of leaves and other debris. This may help prevent ice dams from forming in your gutters. If you're worried about safety, hire a professional gutter cleaner to do the job for you.
- Clean up and store your garden tools and siphon off or use up the gas in any motorized equipment like lawn mowers and trimmers.
- Stock up on ice salt and prepare a winter emergency car kit (it should include items such as a warm blanket, jumper cables, an ice scraper, a small shovel and kitty litter or sand to help you get traction if you're ever stuck in the snow). Check out our "Drive safely" article on more details on winter car safety.
- If you have a wood-burning fireplace or stove, have someone come in to clean and inspect the chimney and flues before lighting your first fire of the season.
- Schedule a fall furnace maintenance visit. Don't wait until the first cold night to discover that your furnace is on the blink!
- Check your dryer exhaust tube for lint build-up and debris, and make sure that the exterior vent closes tightly when not in use.
- Test your smoke and carbon monoxide alarms, or install them if you don't already have them.
A little bit of effort now means peace of mind all winter and a clean, organized and easier start to spring next year!