How do I take care of my new home this winter? If this is your first colder season without a landlord or Building Manager to remind you of your duties (or take care of them for you altogether) early snow falls may come as a frigid reality shock. One day it’s fall and sunny, the next you are running late for work because shoveling off and warming up the car was an unpleasant surprise in the morning. And in the scheme of unwanted, domestic winter surprises, that is actually fairly easy to handle! When it comes to preparing and taking care of an entire house on your own, there are definitely some chilly basics you need to get covered. Fear not, you can ask for more than simply planning to survive – become equipped to thrive in the season ahead! Check out the following helpful hints to get your winterizing underway.

Pipe Master

Green thumb season, at least one that takes place outside in the elements, is coming to a swift and certain end. You might have been hoping to test out your new garden hose before Santa Claus comes, but right now it is just not worth the risk. Take heed; unattended, exposed, outdoor piping can be guilty of showing little or no signs of distress, while also being the direct cause of major damage to the interior of your new home. Aka flooding! Following a winter move, as soon as you are unpacked, or perhaps even before that, locate all of the outdoor faucets surrounding your new home and shut them off! If circumstances permit, the first few days you have possession of your new home are a great opportunity to familiarize yourself with these types of systems. Finding and noting where your main water valve/line shut off is located is immensely important as well. Pro tip: while you are outside, If it is not too icy or dangerous, get up on a ladder and clear out any remaining junk in your gutters. Fall runoff can freeze, expand and/or crack these systems and lead to damage in your roof or worse. Take care of all of your outdoor water access and drainage points to show your new home love this winter.

How Wonderful Are Your Windows, Really?

A well lit space, with plenty of gorgeous natural light is absolutely a wonderful asset in a new home. However, this aesthetically pleasing feature can drive your heating bills through the roof if the windows themselves are not functioning efficiently. You might be thinking; past opening, closing and locking – how exactly does a window need to function? In a nutshell, it should be keeping the cold out and the heat in. First and foremost, check the outside of your window seals for tears and/or cracks. Whatever you find here can help you determine if these spaces have any weather wear and tear, or exposed air leaks. Do note, check your doors that open to the outside for these signs of damage as well. Learn how to get on top of this issue here. Check the health of your glass; cracks and broken pieces of course mean there is no possibility of an airtight seal, and could lead to further damage once temperatures drop considerably. Paying to fix or update a window yourself, or hiring a professional for the job, could be an expense you want to skip – don’t! Ensuring your windows are operating the way they were designed to, will play a big role in keeping your new home cozy (and affordable) throughout the winter.

Snow Removal Strategy

It never becomes more clear that you are now responsible for your own, large space, than when you need to shovel your big driveway for the very first time. As tiring and seemingly never ending as that can seem, your responsibility could go past your property line. Avoid waiting to receive your first warning or ticket to become aware of what you should be clearing. Become familiar with the expectations of snow removal for your new home. Some homeowners must shovel the sidewalk in front of their property, others are expected to shovel a certain distance into the street. This is all dependent upon the city where you live, and the type of neighbourhood or development your home resides in. If your new home looks onto a bus stop or postal box it is most likely these rules will be imposed even more strictly. Once you understand the full perimeter you are accountable for, you can then decide what kind of removal equipment you would like to invest in. The classic shovel never fails, and the variety of options plentiful. Figure out how to find something perfect for you here. Thinking you would like something with more power? A snow blower could be your new best friend. Check out this snow blower buying guide and remember to be mindful of where you are relocating your snow – you won’t make any fast friends by dumping on your neighbours! Learn the ins and outs of salting and de-icing, arm yourself with your removal weapon of choice, and stay on top of snow on your new property this winter.

Winter Storm Emergency Kit


Not a necessity, but could certainly come in handy in times of distress, and provide some peace of mind in the interim – a winter emergency kit. This is also great to have on hand if you are still getting to know your new area, and aren’t yet comfortable asking neighbours to borrow supplies. Grab an easy to store, waterproof bin and stock it up with tools to help you ride out a storm, should one ever come your way. You could include:

  • Flashlight
  • Batteries
  • Candles
  • Matches
  • Battery operated cell phone charger

If it is in the budget, a generator can also be an incredible tool to keep on standby. Keep it regularly maintained and charged throughout the winter, and familiarize all family members on how it is operated. Doing what you can to prepare for the unknown is a great way to feel safe and comfortable this winter, in your new home.

Your furnace, hot water tank, electrical system, all of the above and more will also be affected by extreme shifts in the weather. Before you get yourself overwhelmed with what it really means to take care of your new home, know that it will never be possible to check in with every major system, in every single moment. This is where routine maintenance and regular checks will become the saving grace for both you and your pocketbook. If you leave a major appliance or operating system unchecked for long enough, it will most likely come back to bite you. Throughout the year, it is good practice to make a list, and once a month (or season), check in on the equipment that keeps your home running. Ahead of a major weather shift and season change – make this even more of a priority. Bundle up, and good luck!

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