A great article from our friends at Rentseeker.
Although most of Canada has been experiencing a mild fall this year, the cold weather will be upon us like a blanket (of snow) before we know it. Weather experts are forecasting a mixed bag across the country for the winter season, ranging from relatively warmer temperatures to increased precipitation in the form of snow, according to The Huffington Post. While the weather itself will always be unpredictable, you can take steps to prepare yourself and your apartment for whatever will be thrown our way this year.
Save Your Money
It may seem an impossible task, but you can reduce your energy consumption during the winter months. Keep heat inside your apartment by closing your blinds and curtains during the nighttime hours and on cloudy days. If you have hardwood floors, putting rugs down will actually help to prevent heat from escaping. Additionally, you'll want to keep your thermostat at the lowest comfortable setting. If you'll be out of your apartment for several days, do not turn your heating system off completely - this could result in frozen pipes that will burst, causing flooding and headaches for yourself and your fellow tenants.
Examine Your Windows
The windows in your apartment can be the biggest source of cold air leaking into your apartment, whether you have them open or not (and if you do have them open, only leave them open for a short period of time. Those frozen pipes again!). Put your hand near the opening to feel for drafts. If you have any concerns, speak with your landlord about having your windows resealed or shrink-wrapped. You can also block any drafts by purchasing a plastic "draft dodger" or by simply using a towel or heavy draperies.
One of the best parts about the winter months is that you can warm up under warm blankets on the couch while drinking hot chocolate. Consider investing in heavier bedding, such as flannel comforters or down duvets, that will allow you to keep your thermostat turned down during the cold nights. Keeping wool throw blankets on the back of your couch will not only add a cozy and festive touch to your decor, but will encourage you to cuddle up in it rather than turning up the heat.
If You See Something, Say Something
Stay safe throughout your apartment building by letting your landlord know if you see anything that could be hazardous to yourself and other tenants, such as a patch of black ice near the front door or large icicles near entryways. Spot a fellow tenant struggling to get their groceries from their car to the front door in the snow? Lend a hand. Looking out for each other will help everyone get through the cold Canadian winter.
The Rent Cafe Blog provides even more great tips for preparing your apartment for the winter months in their article, "5 Necessities to Prep Yourself and Your Apartment for Cold Weather":
1. Protect your health through sanitary practices. Who’s got time to lay around sick and pitiful? No one. If you’re going to be off of work, let it be for a cool vacation, not to nurse the flu. Protect yourself by doing what you already know to do: eat well; get plenty of sleep; take vitamin supplements; wash your hands when you’re in contact with anything public; cover your coughs and sneezes.
2. Protect your cash by conserving energy while warming your home. Keep your thermostat on a modest temperature between 65-74 degrees instead of jacking it up in the evening when you’re home and letting the rental freeze when you’re away. It cost more to try to defrost an icicle than to warm a chilled room. If only one room of your home gets used frequently, consider setting the thermostat ultra-low and using an energy efficient space heater.
3. Protect your life by staying up to date on emergency evacuation plans. Unfortunately, the winter marks the height of residential fires. From fireplaces to Christmas lights and candles, there are risks at every turn. While it’s important to practice safe fire handling skills at home, remember that your neighbors might not…be that considerate. Familiarize yourself with evacuation plans for your building and the community.
4. Protecting your home with safety tips while warming and decorating the home. As the point above mentions, there is a tendency for fire-related accidents to happen during the colder months. Do you research before wiring up your holiday lights, using multiple space heaters, and getting the bonfire roaring.
5. Protecting property while away on holiday vacations. In addition to locking doors and windows don’t forget to take additional precautions. Notify trusted neighbors of your vacation dates and ask them to look out for your place. Stop mail delivery to your home so that it doesn’t accumulate. Unplug electronics and appliances to conserve energy and prevent electricity-related problems.