01.19.2024 | Homeowners

Toronto Homeowners: Here’s How to Thrive This Winter

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After a fresh snowfall, the beautiful City of Toronto can look as picture-perfect as a postcard. The trees and lawns glistening in white seem so scenic and peaceful. Children and the young at heart eagerly bundle up to head outside and explore a lush winter wonderland.

However, every homeowner knows that picturesque beauty, snow angels, sledding and ice-skating are not always the reality of winter in the city. Without a strategic maintenance schedule, the snow and ice can be detrimental to your house. In this post, we’ll provide a few tips and tricks to care for your home so you can enjoy a safe and happy winter.

Check Your Furnace

Your home should be a warm and welcoming respite from the plummeting temperatures outside. In fact, watching the snow fall and listening to the wind howl as you’re warm and cozy inside is one of life’s most satisfying moments. 

However, for that idealistic picture to become and remain a reality, your furnace needs to work! Here are some tips to ensure it is up to the task all winter:

  • Inspect your filter regularly, and replace it at least every three months. Not only will this help your furnace run smoothly, but it will also keep the air you breathe cleaner and healthier.
  • Double-check your thermostat to ensure it is accurate and working properly.
  • Review your owner’s manual for instructions on how to clean your furnace.
  • To enhance the lifespan of your furnace, consider having it professionally serviced every one to two years.

You also may want to consider hiring a professional to inspect and clean your ducts approximately every three to five years. Though not directly related to your furnace, this will help to improve the air quality throughout the house. This is especially important in the winter since you may find yourself spending more time indoors. 

Thinking of selling your house this winter or spring? The resources below will help you hit the ground running:

Chimney Inspection

Few things are cozier in the winter than a classic wood-burning fireplace! They’re a well-loved feature in many of Toronto’s older homes. 

If you’re lucky enough to have one in your house, it’s a good idea to have it inspected regularly to reduce the risk of fire.

Even if you don’t use the fireplace, a qualified inspector may be able to show you how to prevent heat loss and help control your energy bills. 

Change Batteries in Smoke Detectors

A change in the season is a great time to inspect or switch out the batteries in your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. Some homeowners perform this task once or twice a year. 

However, it doesn’t hurt to be safe by doing it a little more often. This is a fast home update that takes minutes of your time. 

Switch Your Ceiling Fans

Did you know that there’s a simple switch that can help you stay warmer in the winter while potentially saving on energy costs? It turns out that most, if not all, ceiling fans can spin in either direction. 

In the summer, the fan should spin counterclockwise to push the air down and create a refreshing breeze. Cooler temperatures can help you sleep better, and you may even rely less on your air conditioner during the warm months.

In the winter, reverse the direction to rotate the fan clockwise. Since warm air rises, this will help to distribute and maintain the heat in your house. As a result, you may be able to feel warm and toasty even as you turn down the thermostat a degree or two. 

Typically, the switch is located at the base of the fan just above the blades. Some newer models even come with a remote, so you don’t have to climb up onto a ladder. If in doubt, check your owner’s manual or contact the manufacturer.

Hit Up Your Hardware Store

At the first sign of winter’s chill, it’s a good idea to make a checklist of must-have items to keep your home safe and comfortable. If you have stairs leading up to your front door, you already know how icy and slippery they can be. A healthy supply of ice-melt can stop slips and falls. The trick is remembering to stock up before the frigid temperatures arrive. It will help to create a separate list of what you need for the winter. For example:

  • Salt for the driveway, sidewalk, and front steps
  • Weatherstripping to eliminate cold drafts
  • Tarps to protect your air conditioner, BBQ, and patio furniture
  • Extra snow shovels and brushes
  • Thermal blankets
  • A backup generator or power station
  • A well-stocked first-aid kit
  • Covers to protect plants and garden shrubs
  • Batteries
  • Flashlights

Want to get out of the house to enjoy the season? Here are a few ideas:

Light Up the Darkness

Adding solar lights is an inexpensive way to brighten up your yard during the winter months. Since it gets dark early, lighting up walkways and stairs isn’t just beautiful; it can enhance the safety of family members and guests. 

There are so many styles of solar lights to choose from, including tall torches, string lights, curtain lights, and hanging lanterns. Seeing your yard lit up can warm your soul even during the most bitter cold spell!

Need an indoor oasis to escape the cold? You may enjoy: Winter is Coming! How to Make Your House Feel Like Home as the Weather Turns

Prepare for Joy and Fun

Winter comes every year, ready or not. You might as well enjoy it. With your house warm and prepared, it’s time to look at what you can do to bring joy back to the season. Start by making a wish list of everything that can help you turn both your home and yard into a fabulous winter oasis.

  • Eye-catching seasonal decor combined with a patio heater or fire table can allow you to spend more time outdoors. 
  • Invest in water-resistant thermal pants and outerwear for the next snow day. It’s perfect for keeping you warm and cozy while making snow angels in the yard!
  • Bring life to your yard with an outdoor garden. Several plants can survive and thrive even in Canada’s harsh winters, including evergreen shrubs, winterberries, and Japanese yew. If all else fails, a dried arrangement or artificial flowers can add colour and warmth to your outdoor oasis.

Do you have questions about Toronto real estate this winter? Reach out to us at 416.443.0300 or Erica@EricaReddy.com, and we will happily point you in the right direction.

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