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How to prepare for winter

Every year, we often wonder if our house is well prepared for winter, because we know that we cannot easily make repairs during this season. In this article, we will present some tips that will help you prepare your home well to avoid major repairs during the cold season.

Structure


The role of the foundation is to protect the building against water infiltration and provides a solid foundation for the building. It supports the weight of the building structure. An unrepaired crack in the foundation poses a risk of water infiltration inside the building and can widen with the freeze/thaw cycle.

For buildings with a stone foundation, all the stones must remain in place to allow the wall to properly support the loads. Over time, stones can become loose, shift or fall from the wall. Before winter, make sure to put back in place and redo the accessible surface of the mortar joints to prevent other stones from moving and to avoid the risk of water infiltration, which can widen. with the freeze/thaw cycle.


It will be a good idea to check the condition of the foundation and have defects and cracks on the foundation repaired before the onset of winter by a specialist.


Exterior


Exterior Coating


Coatings contribute to the protection of the wall structure against the weather; water, wind, air pollution and the sun. Maintaining the coating in good condition will prevent the deterioration of the internal components of the walls and the intrusion of small pests. The general condition of the exterior cladding should be checked before the onset of winter to ensure that there are no cracks or openings in the exterior cladding.

Flashing and Sealant


The caulking around the openings of the house (doors, windows, ventilation register, etc.) plays an important role in sealing the house. The function of the caulking joints is to properly seal the openings to ensure the tightness of the building envelope preventing water and cold. Leaks or openings can allow the intrusion of insects and risk causing water infiltration in the components as well as heat loss. We recommend that you check the general condition of the caulking around the openings before the onset of winter.


Exterior door



The exterior door seal seals the door tightly and protects the building structure and interior flooring from water infiltration. It also minimizes heat loss in winter and reduces cold air infiltration inside the building. We recommend that you check the gasket, the weather stripping and the locking cylinder of the exterior door in order to reduce heat loss during the winter.

Water drainage


It is often observed that there is a negative slope towards the building. This is a situation that can cause water infiltration inside the building and an accumulation of water around the foundation which can freeze during the winter. It is advisable to have the negative slope corrected by a specialist before the onset of winter.


Roofing


There are simple roofing preventions that can help you avoid major repairs during the winter. The general condition of the roof sheathing should be checked before the onset of winter to ensure that there are no gaps around roof overhangs and that there are no shingles damaged above. Roof gutters should also be checked for possible blockage by leaves or debris.

For flat roofs, check the condition of the flashings and sealant for any gaps or holes. The roof drain can also be clogged with leaves and debris.

Plumbing

We suggest replacing the outdoor faucet with an antifreeze valve if it has not already been done. The antifreeze valve ensures the drainage of the plumbing line exposed to freezing in winter and prevents leaks caused by the breakage of frozen pipes. Be sure to properly close the interior supply valve of the exterior faucets before the first fall frosts, to prevent breakage or damage that could occur.

Water pipes, when not insulated and located outside, can freeze and crack under the effect of this. These breaks can be the source of significant damage to the building. We recommend that you insulate the water supply lines.


Heating

Before the onset of winter, clean the electric baseboards with a vacuum cleaner. This will remove the dust, which otherwise will burn and give off that typical electric baseboard starter smell. We also recommend that you change the filter, if you have a central heating system. This will also check the cleanliness of the pipes which may have been soiled and contain these undesirable micro-organisms. Also check the condition of the thermostats to make sure they are working properly before using them during the winter.

Isolation and roof ventilation

The roof deck provides support for the shingle sheathing. Black spots and rings are usually the result of condensation in the attic or leaks in the roof. Signs of overheating, on the other hand, can be caused by poor ventilation of the attic.


Condensation in the attic can cause the appearance of rot and even mold harmful to the health of the occupants. In addition, the water generated by condensation can cause breakage or damage to the insulation or the building structure. Before winter, try to check the condition of the attic to detect any signs. Also check the soffits to make sure they are not clogged or blocked.


Safety precautions

If you live in a home with a wood stove or fireplace, make sure the carbon monoxide detector is working properly before winter.


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