How Homeowners Can Get Ready for Winter

Winter is coming! While we might not get much snow here in Vancouver, there are still a few things that should be done around the house before the colder weather sets in.

Winter is cold and dark, but your home doesn’t have to be. Turn your home into a warm, cozy haven with these clever tricks:

  • Clean light fixtures and bulbs to allow lights to shine brighter.
  • Keep your windows clean, too. Doing so will allow more light into your home, which is also important for your mental health in the darker winter months. Taking your screens down will allow even more light in.
  • To identify hidden drafts in your home is to light an incense stick and hold it near recessed lights, electrical boxes, and other drafty areas. If the smoke wavers, that means there’s a draft.
  • Make sure your ceiling fans are spinning clockwise. Heat rises, but if your ceiling fan is spinning clockwise it will suck the cold air upwards and push the warm air downwards.
  • Pull out the slow cooker. Not only will you have a delicious soup to keep you warm, you will also be rewarded with the cozy aroma throughout your home. As a bonus, slow cookers are more energy efficient than electric ovens, saving you tons on your electricity bill.

You can keep your home even cosier by keeping it clean and allergen-free all season long. Spending more time indoors is a catalyst for accumulating dust. This can be incredibly irritating for anyone with allergies. It’s also a great time to catch a cold—so many germs! Keep your home clean by following these simple steps:

  • Be sure to change your air filters.
  • Wash and disinfect your garbage cans, wastebaskets, and toilet brush holders. These are all germ havens that are often overlooked.
  • Flip over and vacuum the underside of your furniture—it’s a favourite nest for dust bunnies!
  • Tables and counters aren’t the only horizontal surface that needs cleaning. It’s important to remember to also clean the tops of door frames, trim, artwork, computer monitor, and light fixtures.
  • Vacuum behind the fridge, and don’t forget to clean the condenser coils as well, to keep your fridge running at maximum efficiency. More info on cleaning condenser coils here.

We all know how keeping the house warm chews up your energy bill. Luckily, there are some ways that this cost can be offset.

  • Don’t allow the cold air into your home in the first place! Seal cracks in window sills, baseboards, and fireplace/dryer vents to keep the warm air indoors.
  • Program your thermostat to align with your family’s schedules. There’s no reason to have the heat going while nobody’s home.
  • Keep your gutters clear of icicles and build up, and clean them before winter blows in. This will keep them in working order and prevent water damage, which is expensive to repair.
  • If you have a fireplace, it is crucial that you keep it well maintained and have it inspected as early as possible in the season. Failure to do so could result in a fire.

If you’re still craving a taste of spring, brighten your home with these simple tips:

  • Build a window box and plant few herbs such as mint, rosemary, and thyme. They’re easy to grow, and not only will they provide you with a lovely aroma, as a bonus you’ll save money when you need herbs for a meal.
  • For an extra dose of a spring breeze aroma, boil a sliced lemon, thyme (from your window box!) and a spoonful of vanilla. Or, soak cotton balls in your favourite essential oil, and then pop them in your vacuum bag before you clean to spread some nice scents.
  • Take advantage of sunny days. Open your shades—they won’t let the heat out—to let the sunshine in. On warmer days, open your windows to let out some of the stale air.

Whether you like it or not, winter is on its way. But it’s easy to enjoy the season if you know how to prepare for it! Are you ready?