Home Maintenance | January 15, 2019
Heading south to avoid the cold and snow this year? Find out how to winterize your home’s HVAC and plumbing before you leave for winter.
As the final flocks of Canada Geese depart for warmer climes to the south, preparations are well underway for their human counterparts — the migratory snowbird! In addition to packing the cargo shorts and flip flops, homeowners will want to ensure the nest remains intact and safe. While you may be fortunate enough to escape the snowy wrath, you’ll need to winterize your home before leaving for the winter.
Read on for tips on how to prepare your home when leaving for the winter, including advice on how to winterize house plumbing and HVAC equipment.
Home winterizing checklist
Cover your outdoor air conditioner unit
There are some conflicting opinions about whether you should or should not cover air conditioner units in winter. The real answer? Yes, you should cover the outdoor AC cabinet, but make sure it’s the proper cover for your unit.
When buying a cover for your air conditioner, choose one that properly fits the size of your condenser unit. Also make sure it’s made from a breathable material such as canvas, which will protect the unit from rain and snow, but will let any moisture dry out easily, reducing the risk of corrosion to the coils or humidity damage to internal wiring and circuit boards.
Ultimately, air conditioner units are built to withstand the bitter cold and snow of a Canadian winter, but a good quality cover is an extra layer of protection for your investment. Just don’t forget to remove it in the spring!
Check the sump pump
Performing an annual sump pump check is your best defense against a disastrous spring thaw. Even if you plan to be home before the official arrival of spring, seasonal changes in Edmonton Alberta are unpredictable and you never know when a mild spell could spell trouble for your basement while you’re away!
We’ve previously outlined some simple DIY sump pump inspection tips, which include how to inspect and test the operation of your sump pump and float, as well as checking the exterior outlet pump for blockages.
Replace the battery in your thermostat
Most programmable thermostats will display a notification message when the backup batteries in the indoor thermostat or in the outdoor sensor need replacing. Which is great — unless you are poolside in Palm Spring when it happens!
To keep your thermostat and sensors running uninterrupted all winter long, you may want to replace batteries yearly, just before you head south for the winter.
Reduce your thermostat settings
Minimize home energy bills while you’re away for the winter by adjusting the thermostat so that your home is warm enough that the pipes won’t freeze — around 13 degrees Celsius (55 degrees Fahrenheit).
Some thermostat models, such as the Lennox iComfort WiFi® Thermostat, can control your home’s HVAC systems remotely from any web-enabled device, meaning you can make adjustments from the airport and come home to perfectly cozy conditions!
Turn off water
According to home insurance providers, frozen water pipes are one of the biggest causes of property loss during winter. Burst pipes can leak for days before they are detected if your home is left unchecked.
For any trip longer than five days, shut off the main water valve to your house and drain the pipes by running all fixtures until the water drains completely. One exception is a fire sprinkler system — should you have one in your home, check with your insurance provider first before shutting off the water supply.
Schedule a pre-winter HVAC maintenance
From finding someone to shovel the driveway and pick up the mail while you’re away, to arranging for travel insurance and booking a car rental — there’s a lot to do before you depart for your southern escape. Enlisting expert help to manage heating- and plumbing-related preparations means you can rest easy knowing your HVAC system has been professionally inspected and serviced before you go.
First Call offers a variety of HVAC maintenance services in the Sherwood Park and Edmonton area including furnace and air conditioner maintenance, duct cleaning, boiler servicing, and hot water heater maintenance. Give us a call at 780.464.3337 to learn more about our Climate Care Protection Plans that help make regular maintenance simple and affordable, or schedule a maintenance appointment today.
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