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Moving is stressful at the best of times but moving in the winter months has its own challenges. With proper planning and preparation it can go smoothly. Below are my top tips for planning a local move in the winter. 

  1. Hire movers - Hiring movers is always a great idea but especially in the winter months as you do not want to be driving an unfamiliar moving truck in the snow and ice. It is also best to leave the heavy lifting to the professionals to minimize your risk of sustaining personal injuries, causing property damage or damaging your valuable possessions.
  2. Pack well - Some extra effort will be required to pack temperature sensitive items. Dishes, glasses and china can crack when exposed to extreme temperatures and should be well wrapped in packing paper and bubble wrap. Electronics should be packed well and wrapped in moving blankets for extra insulation. Let electronic items return to room temperature before plugging them in to minimize damage from condensation. Keep extra towels and sheets on hand to protect furniture, artwork and other possessions if it starts to snow. 
  3. Prepare your home - Check that all utilities (heat, lights and water) are working in your new home the day before you move. Clear snow and ice from all walkways on the property as well as the city sidewalk, the driveway, the entrance to the garage, and ensure there is a clear path from the moving truck all entrances. Salt or sand pathways and ensure they are free of ice. Take precautions inside both properties, as snow and ice will be tracked inside. Cardboard, plastic sheeting (taped down), or carpet remnants can be laid down to protect the floors and movers usually have carpet runners as well to protect the high traffic routes. 
  4. Dress properly - Even with movers doing the heavy lifting, you will be busy. Be sure to wear appropriate winter clothing and dress in layers of clothing that will not restrict your movements. Wear winter boots with gripping tread and protect your hands with work gloves. Have extra gloves in case gloves get wet.
  5. Start early and have warm beverages - It is best to start your move day early as soon as it is light out as winter days are shorter and it gets dark earlier. The temperatures will also be more comfortable during the daytime hours. Consider picking up a box of coffee from a coffee franchise or leave your coffee maker unpacked so that you can make coffee for yourself and your movers. A slow cooker can also be used to make a large batch of hot chocolate or apple cider. Make sure you have disposable cups!

Be safe and stay warm - It will be worth it once you are settled in your new home!

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The temperatures have dropped significantly in the last week but it's not too late to take some steps to prepare your home for the colder temperatures on the way.

 

One of the biggest hazards for winter in terms of the potential damage to your home, is the risk of pipes bursting from exposure to freezing temperatures. Identify problem pipes in your house that are prone to freezing - areas where it is not heated and where pipes run through crawlspaces, basements or garages. Use insulation sleeves on the pipes or heat tape in cases of extreme cold. Another option is to keep a slow trickle of water flowing through faucets connected to pipes that run through unheated or unprotected spaces. Be sure that everyone in the household knows how to turn off the water at the source should a pipe burst. 

 

Unfortunately fires are also too common in the winter. Be sure to have your chimney inspected and cleaned by a professional, have heating systems checked, replace furnace filters and install a carbon monoxide monitor if you don't already have one. Be sure to test your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide monitors and replace batteries. 

 

To improve energy efficiency, seal air leaks. It is easy to add or replace weather stripping around doors and windows as well as repair caulking around windows to reduce drafts. There are many different types of programmable thermostats to choose from as well as wifi thermostats so that you can program, adjust or monitor your home's temperature even when you are not there. 

 

Ice dams on roofs occur when heat collects in the attic and warms the roof, except the eaves. Snow melts on the warm roof and then refreezes on the eaves. Ice accumulates along the eaves forming a dam. The meltwater from the warm roof backs up behind it and can flow under the shingles and into the house. There are quick ways to prevent ice dams as well as permanent solutions. One quick fix includes installing heated cables with clips along the roof's edge to equalize your roof's temperature from the outside. In order to get rid of ice dams for good, the entire roof must be the same temperature as the eaves and this is achieved by increasing ventilation, adding insulation and sealing off every possible air leak that might warm the underside of the roof. 

 

One final safety tip is to remove tree branches that may get weighed down with snow or ice and fall on your house or your neighbour's house and potentially cause damage. 

 

The cold temperatures may be here but simple fixes can keep your home warm, less drafty and safe from potential winter hazards. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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