It’s Still Not Too Late to Winterize Your Home

For most of Canada, snow, ice and freezing cold temperatures are imminent. Is your home prepared?

Failing to properly winterize your home can cost you big bucks in service calls and repairs. Here are some winter tasks you should consider.

Find – and seal – leaks: Air leakage in your home can lead to heat loss, which can drive up your energy bills and leave you shivering. Ensure that all cracks and holes are properly caulked, and that windows and doors are adequately weather-stripped. If you think you may have some hidden leaks, Canadian Living magazine recommends holding a lit stick of incense along baseboards. “A strong leak will make the stick glow brighter and blow the smoke away, while smaller leaks will puff the smoke in a distinct direction,” the magazine suggests.

Hoses and irrigation systems: Water left sitting in garden houses can freeze and burst. Before the temperature drops, drain your outdoor hoses completely, remove any attachments and disconnect them from outdoor faucets. If you can, store them inside to maintain their integrity during the winter months.

If you have a sprinkler system installed, be sure to shut off its supply and wrap valves and any piping with insulating foam or tape.

Clean out your gutters: Gutters can easily become clogged with sticks, leaves and other debris from fall. This can spell trouble in the winter months, if an ice dam occurs and forces gutters to break open. To avoid a potential gutter-burst, make sure the gutters are clear before the snow starts falling.

The 80s Called: Your ‘Dated’ Home Is Trendy Now

We’ve seen it on TV: potential buyers (PBs) horrified by dated bathrooms and kitchens, wall-to-wall carpeting, and floral wallpaper (“The ’80s called; they want their rooms back…”)

“It’s so old-fashioned,” the PBs say, “we’ll have to gut it.”

There must be a lot of gutting going on: according to the most recent American Housing Survey, some two-thirds of owner-occupied U.S. homes were built before 1980, and many of those considerably earlier.

But before you start to tear down walls, consider this: today’s outmoded decor is yesterday’s classic design-widely loved and admired in its day.

Also consider that these homes were mostly built to last-sturdy homes that celebrated a time when “ordinary” wasn’t a dirty word. Call it normcore, meaning bland and unremarkable. Or call it trendy.

Who wants bland and ordinary? Once again, we turn to millennials (the leading edge of whom are now in their mid-30s). Similar to previous generations, these market drivers are looking for something different, and just as they are dressing in normcore fashion, the millennials are turning to normcore neighbourhoods and homes that reflect their own values.

They’re searching for balance and normalcy, notes one real estate insider in an RISMedia article titled “Best Normcore Neighbourhood to Buy an Unpretentious Home.” Like the Seinfeld TV series, it’s ordinariness as a lifestyle. And it’s now a big trend.

So next time you’re tempted to disparage wallpaper, pink and black bathrooms, and laminate countertops, think back. Remember the Formica kitchen table where you weren’t afraid to do homework or spill your milk. Or the rec room with fake pine paneling and furniture you could put your feet on.

Also remember that laminate counters and linoleum floors are virtually indestructible and are eco-friendly, and that “popcorn” and wallpaper magically cover up unsightly irregularities in ceilings and walls.

So, has your perspective on “dated” houses changed maybe just a bit?