It isn’t even winter yet, but many parts of the Lower Mainland have already had a taste of cold and snowy weather. That’s why city officials are reminding people to get prepared now, and start winterizing your home.
Whether it’s outside your house, or in, there are a few key things you can do to save money and headaches this winter.
While the City of Vancouver has huge piles of salt to deal with slippery conditions, homeowners should ensure they have a bag of it on hand as well, along with a small snow shovel and boots to deal with slippery conditions around their home.
"Homeowners and buildings are required to clear the sidewalks in front of their place by 10 a.m. after a snowfall," explained Taryn Scollard, Director of Streets, City of Vancouver.
But the biggest threat to your home isn’t the snow, it’s actually water.
"Our streets are designed to take some water, but certainly if we get an excess of flooding it can risk businesses and homes," said Scollard.
We can all help to keep storm grates clear of debris. Vancouver has recently launched an "Adopt a Catch Basin" program, where you can go online and pledge to keep a street basin clear throughout the year.
And what about winterizing the inside of your home?
"Heating can actually account for about 50 per cent of hydro bill,” said Susie Rieder, BC Hydro spokesperson.
To save money, turn down the thermostat to 16 when you're away or sleeping, then turn it back up to 21 when you’re lounging around. Doing so could take 10 per cent off your hydro bill.
Sealing drafts around your doors and windows or putting an insulator film on your windows will save you up to $100 during the fall and winter months.
And consider a smart plug to program lamps during the shorter days.
“You can actually turn it off and on via your phone,” explained Rieder.
If you use LED bulbs is those lamps, you’re looking at a savings of another $100 over the bulbs’ lifespan.
Another way to put money back in your pocket is to join Team Power Smart. If you commit and are successful in cutting your electricity consumption by 10 per cent over a year, BC Hydro will give you $50.
If you’re unsure of where cold drafts are coming in to your home, your best bet is to track down the source of an air leak on a windy day. Use your hands to fell around the cracks in your doors and windows or close all the doors and windows in your house and light a stick of incense. Hold the burning incense near the areas your suspect. If there's a leak the smoke from the incense will drift away.