Tips to Get Your Condo Ready for Winter

Tips to Get Your Condo Ready for Winter

With a mild start to Fall, colder weather may seem like a long way off. It’s particularly easy to procrastinate in rainy Vancouver. Eventually, we will see a cold snap and rather than get stuck with higher heating bills or a nasty repair bill, there are a few things you can do to prepare your condo for the colder months - and save money at the same time.

1. Humidity is Your Friend

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A little humidity will make your rooms feel slightly warmer, without having to adjust the heat. Increasing the humidity up to 45% can make the room feel a few degrees warmer. Combining an increase in humidity with sweater or hoodie will let you keep the thermostat a little lower and save you money.

As a bonus, humidity not also improves air quality but also helps prevent:

  • Dry Throats

  • Cracked Lips and Skin

  • Dry Eyes

  • Static Electricity Shocks

Be sure to monitor the moisture levels because too much humidity can lead to damaging condensation on windows and drywall.

2. A Rug or Two Makes Home a Whole New World

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Hardwood, tile, laminate, and concrete floors are popular flooring options for condos, but those hard surfaces can get chilly very fast. While few people would contemplate wall-to-wall carpets and rugs may not be part of your preferred decor, switching things up in the fall can add some much-needed comfort. Add a rug or two in the winter months to help insulate your home from the cold. They can add new textures and colours to a space and make your hole look much cozier and inviting for the holidays.

3. Protect Your Patio Furniture

Winter weather can put a lot of wear-and-tear on patio furniture. We recommend you cover your furniture and bring in any cushions inside.

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4. Unhook Outdoor Hose

If you have a hose on your balcony or patio, make sure your garden hose is unhooked from the faucet. Any water left in the hose can freeze in a cold snap and apply pressure on your pipes! At a minimum the frozen water could split your hose. Avoid having to buy a new hose of the possible water damage from a burst pipe and unhook your hose.

5. Keep a Little Heat on When You’re Away

While a condo owner was away on vacation, he was notified by the strata property manager that a frozen pipe in the sprinkler system had burst in his condo and water had run throughout his entire unit and to the unit below. The resulting damage was more than $50,000.

When temperatures drop, the risk for frozen and burst pipes is heightened. Condos that serve as secondary homes or those that are unoccupied for extended periods of time are even more vulnerable because when no one is home, the water can run undetected for hours. To prevent this, set the heat at a minimum of 18°C or 65°F while you’re away to ensure that the pipes in your home do not fall vulnerable to cold temperatures.

6. Check Window Seals

During a severe storm, wind-driven rain penetrated the window seals of a condo owner’s 15th floor apartment, allowing for water to enter. As a result, water collected underneath the hardwood flooring, causing discoloration and warping to the wood, and resulting in damage that exceeded $20,000.

While your building may be fine under normal rainy weather conditions, high winds can cause rain to hit exterior walls at a sideways angle allowing water to enter through sealed areas, like windows and doors. Taller buildings that experience greater wind exposure and penthouse condos located at the top of these buildings are often most vulnerable.

Check your window seals for dampness around the edges of windows or on window ledges and cracking. These are signs that your window seals may be deteriorating. Depending on your building, it may be your responsibility to replace them. Check your building’s bylaws to determine who is accountable and contact your building’s property manager (if it’s their responsibility) or a professional (if it’s your responsibility) to evaluate them and replace them if necessary.

7. Clear Drains

Following a series of heavy rains, a unit owner discovered pooled water on the floor of their home. Later it was determined that a clogged drain line on the exterior of the building was preventing the water from properly draining which allowed the water to enter through an air conditioning duct. Damage to the wood floor, which became warped from the standing water, amounted to more than $6,000.

Depending on your building, it may be your responsibility to clean the balcony or patio drains or gutters. Ensure that the drain lines are cleaned twice a year to prevent a water backup from occurring.

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