Winter in Whistler is exhilarating, and it’s always fun to plan for the days and nights you will be spending in your cozy ski chalet; complete with fireplace, breathtaking mountain views and proximity to the village and the slopes. Ski passes and ski gear have been purchased for the family, and you’ve already planned out your weekends in Whistler, filled with shopping, dining and other wonderful winter activities.
But, I bet there are a few things that you haven’t thought about as we head into winter. Have you winter proofed your home? Whether you’re getting ready to stay in your home yourself, renting it out or preparing to sell, there are a few things you should do to prepare.
Here is a handy winter checklist:
- Clean out gutters. Remove leaves, sticks and other debris from gutters, so melting snow and ice can flow freely. This can prevent ice damming – a condition where water is unable to drain through the gutters and instead seeps into the house causing water to drip from the ceiling and walls.
- Install gutter guards. Available in most hardware and home stores, “gutter guards” prevent debris from entering the gutter and interfering with the flow of water away from the house and into the ground.
- Trim trees and remove dead branches. Ice, snow and wind could cause weak trees or branches to break – damaging your home or car.
- Repair steps and handrails. Stairs and banisters can become lethal when covered with snow.
- Turn off your sprinkler system – you laugh, but we’ve seen it happen. Your very own snowmaking operation.
- Seal cracks in holes in outside walls and foundations. Use caulking to protect water pipes and make sure that skylights and other roof openings have proper weather stripping to prevent snow melt from seeping in.
- Remember to clear snow away from doors and windows. Snow melting could come in windows, doors and other openings in the house which could lead to mold issues.
- Since Whistler tends to get large amounts of snow, make every effort to hire a pro and remove large snow deposits from roofs and away from intakes, doors, and windows, as large quantities of melting snow, especially on roofs, can cause a great deal of damage.
- Keep the house warm. Set the thermostat for at least 65 Fahrenheit/18 Celsius, since the temperature inside the walls, where the pipes are located, is substantially colder – a lower temperature will not keep the pipes from freezing.
- Add extra insulation to attics, basements and crawl spaces. If too much heat escapes through the attic, it can cause snow or ice to melt on the roof. Water can then re-freeze, causing more snow and ice to build up. Well-insulated basements and crawl spaces will also help protect pipes from freezing. You may also consider insulating unfinished rooms such as garages to keep pipes from freezing.
- Have the heating system serviced. Furnaces, boilers and chimneys should be serviced at least once a year to prevent fire and smoke damage.
- Check pipes. Look closely for cracks and leaks and have the pipes repaired immediately. Wrap exposed pipes with heating tape.
- Install an emergency pressure release valve in your plumbing system. This will protect them against increased pressures caused by freezing pipes and can help prevent your pipes from bursting.
- Make sure that smoke and fire alarms are working properly. Residential fires increase in the winter, so it is important to protect your family with working alarm systems. Also, consider installing a carbon dioxide detector, since a well-sealed home can trap this toxic gas.
- Learn how to shut the water off and know where your pipes are located. If your pipes freeze, time is of the essence. The quicker you can shut off the water or direct your plumber to the problem, the better chance you have to prevent pipes from bursting.
- Hire a licensed contractor to look for structural damage. If damage is discovered, have it repaired now rather than waiting for a problem to occur
Some numbers you might want to have on hand as temperatures begin to drop…
Snow Removal Services
Whistler Snow Clearing
Coastal Mountain Excavations
Sea To Sky Firewood
Squamish Wood Fuel Supply