With the last remaining weeks of summer it might be a good idea to start planning your home for fall and winter. Preparing for fall the right way could mean the difference between paying through the nose and saving a bundle.
Here are a few ways to help pack away the sun shine.
Stowing Away Summer
Put away the Lawnmower: You probably won’t get much use of the lawnmower in the fall and winter. It’s a good idea to drain the gas out of the machine and use fuel stabilizers to prevent the gas from degrading. Make sure to clean off the machine, turn off the gas valve, and store the lawnmower in a shed or garage.
Make sure those faucets and hoses are away: Drain all your outside hoses and store them in a shed or garage. Turn off the water supply valve that is connected to outside faucets. This will help stop any minor leakage which could cause water in the pipes to freeze and crack.
Drain the sprinklers: Completely drain your irrigation system. Underground systems can freeze and deform causing broken pipes and sprinkler heads.
Depending on your irrigation system, you can drain the system. Here is a way you can do it:
- Turn off the water from the main valve
- Shut off from the automatic controller
- Open drainage valves
- Remove any sprinkler heads and shake the water out of them
Some people may need compressed air to remove the water. You can get that professionally done or do it carefully by yourself.
Check your roof: If your roof is steep or easily visible take a pair of binoculars and inspect your roof. Check to see if there are any buckled, cracked, or missing shingles. If you think your roof is in bad condition, call a professional. Some roofing companies offer free estimates.
Trim plants: Trim branches at least 3 feet from your house to prevent moisture from dripping on the roof.
Insulation is important in keeping your home the right temperature. It helps keep outdoor air from getting in and conditioned indoor air from escaping.
Insulation level is based on the insulation materials’ R-value. The higher the R-value the more resistance it has and the more effective it is.
How to tell if you have poor insulation:
Common signs of poor insulation:
- Cold floors and walls in the winter
- Hot inside air in the summer
- Mold growth
- High energy bills
- Uneven heating or ineffective cooling
Areas of Insulation:
- The attic
- Cathedral Ceilings
- Exterior walls
Types of Insulation:
Most common materials used for insulation are fiberglass, cellulose and foam.
- Blown-In/Loose Fill: Machine blown or sprayed into place, ideal for hard-to-reach areas.
- Batts: Comes in the form of a pre-cut section. Easy to handle and is ideal for in-between framing. They can be used in floors, walls, and attics.
- Foam Board: Used for almost your entire home. Reduces heat conduction through structural elements like wood and steel studs.
- Spray: Sprayed in and provides air tight installation.
- Injected: air tight installation good for existing walls and ceilings.
|Fibreglass||3.0-3.7||Pink fluffy stuff||Batt, Loose-fill, Board-stock, spray applied|
|Mineral Wool||2.8 -3.7||Like fiberglass but with better fire and sound resistance||Batt, Loose-fill, Board-stock, spray applied|
|Mineral Fibre||2.8-3.7||Light brown, stringy||Loose-fill|
|Cotton||3.0-3.7||Not readily available, can do it yourself||Batt|
|Cellulose||3.0-3.7||Bad in areas of moisture||Spray, Loose-fill, injected|
Proper insulation you can effectively heat your home and keep your heating bills low.
Cleaning gutters can be a routine task in the lower mainland. That’s why it may be a good idea to look into installing a gutter guard. Gutter guards are designed to keep leaves out and only let water in.
Gutter guard types:
Mesh: A metal sheet filled with holes attached to the roof shingles covering the gutter.
- Pros: Easy to clean and set up.
- Cons: Some leaves get through and clogs the holes. Still have to maintain them.
Reverse curve: Curved guard that positions the water downwards while directing leaves to fall on the ground.
- Pros: Great on large leaves and requires virtually no maintenance.
- Cons: Tree seeds may get into them and clog the opening. Denting them will render them useless.
Bottle brush: Upward facing bristles inside the gutter. Debris is caught by the bristles while water flows through.
- Pros: High debris capture rate.
- Cons: Clogs up quite fast.
Nylon: Prevents snow from building up and freezing
- Pros: Unique design
- Cons: Similar problem with Mesh, gets clogged if leaves sits on top
Foam: Fits directly into your existing gutter to help block debris from going into the gutter.
- Pros: Not noticeable.
- Cons: Gets filled up quickly.
Installing any one of these could be expensive and it is worth to mention that they are not 100% fool proof. You may need to clean/maintain them but they do help reduce the amount of work you need to do on your gutters.
Here are a few ways to keep the energy bill down and you comfortable:
- Cover drafty windows
- Adjust the thermostat so at night time its set to low, this could potentially save you about 10% a year
- Find and seal leaks
- Turn down the temperature of your hot water
- Replace furnace filters
- Let in natural sunlight to heat your home
Now your home is ready for fall
Now while you are soaking up the last of summer you can prepare yourself for fall and winter. Remember to store away summer equipment and machinery. Find the right type of insulation that works best for you, and install effective gutters. These can help you be energy efficient and save money.