For residents here in southern Ontario, there is arguably no time of year more damaging to our property than the winter months.
Heavy snow, ice buildup, bitter cold temperatures and howling winds (sometimes all at the same time) can each wreak havoc on our homes no matter what precautions we take before or during the season. However the more we can do to prepare our homes the more protected we will be.
Like most things in life, it can be a numbers game. In the case of winterizing our homes, it is specifically about percentages. Even though we cannot ensure with 100% certainty that our homes will be fully intact come the spring (unless your name is Elsa and you have special ice powers) there is still plenty we can do to increase the chances of coming out of the season unscathed.
LET THE OUTDOOR FURNITURE HIBERNATE
We love the comforts of patio furniture and other summer fun equipment but when the weather turns cold these pieces should turn in. This will not only protect the pieces themselves, it also reduces the risk of them being blown over or against your home and vehicles. Your portable basketball net and car windshield will thank you!
TRIM THOSE BRANCHES
A good tip for any time of year, but especially important before the winter so those older and weaker branches are not taken down by the weight of extra snow cover or freezing rain. Focus mainly on any branches hanging over or near structures or where people may walk.
PLANT SOME TREES
You may think this point contradicts the one before it but hear me out! A tried and tested way of protecting property from wind damage is to grow evergreens close to your home, particularly on the north and northwest sides of your property. This creates a wind break which can not only protect your home from physical damage from wind and flying debris, it can also reduce your heating costs by 30%.
DODGE THE DRAFT
Even with the perfect wind break in place, cold air can easily find its way into your home if you are not on top of securing openings. Draft proofing your home will help reduce heating bills and avoid cold toes and noses. Not sure where you have drafts? Try the incense trick by lighting one near windows and doors. Where the smoke is affected that is where a draft is coming in. Once you can identify the drafty areas, seal it with a doorsnake and also considering caulking around the edges.
Whether you may be looking to reduce heating bills, stay warm, avoid wear and tear on your home or all of the above, these are some of the best ways you can winterize your home from the outside.
Young or old, big or small, it is something we all deal with.
As if there is not enough to worry about in our normal everyday life, the winter brings an extra layer of concern about the dreaded slip and fall.
Barn fires are a problem for Ontario farmers, with an average of 166 barn fire incidents and an average annual loss of 28 million each year recorded between 2008 and 2014. These costs do not even take into account the loss of equipment, products or livestock which any farmer will tell you can be just as big of a loss as the structure itself.