Winter conditions for many Canadians can be a challenge; the snow and colder weather pose a risk for safety concerns such as injuries and accidents. Icy pathways and heating your apartment are some of the many factors apartment dwellers deal with regularly during this time of year. With all of this in mind, we have put together some tips for you to consider when winter weather wreaks havoc. 

Indoor Tips  

Heating Your Apartment 

One of the main priorities when renting an apartment is to make sure the heaters are working properly. A faulty heater will not only bring down the temperature in the apartment but can cause longer-term issues such as bursting pipes. 

The first step we suggest taking is to check for heat from each vent. If you notice something doesn’t seem to be working, make sure to reach out to your Avenue Living Communities team as soon as possible. When renting with us, you will benefit from the completion of maintenance requests within three business days – so you'll never have to worry about extended periods without interior heat this winter. 

Once you’ve checked for functioning heaters, the next step is to make sure there is nothing blocking the vents. Items obstructing the hot air from circulating throughout your apartment can prevent you from reaching your desired temperature and lead to unnecessary maintenance work or cost increases on your next utility bill. 

Keep Doors and Windows Closed  

During the winter months, chilly drafts often infiltrate apartment buildings, posing a risk of pipe bursts or diminished heating. Challenges such as ice dams, frozen pipes or heating issues could escalate quickly if they are not addressed promptly. To mitigate these issues, we recommend refraining from leaving windows and doors open or unattended for prolonged periods of time. By vigilantly monitoring your home and promptly notifying Avenue Living Communities of any emerging issues or potential problems, you can help play a crucial role in ensuring swift and efficient resolutions. This simple precaution contributes to maintaining a warm and comfortable environment for all residents. 

Fire Safety  

As winter unfolds, the heightened use of power, candles and cooking brings an increased risk of fires. Prioritizing apartment fire safety is paramount to ensuring the well-being of everyone living at the property. We recommend being mindful not to overload your outlets, which can lead to electrical fires. It's essential to spread out your usage and avoid daisy-chaining power strips. 

In Canada, an average of 800 fires are caused by candles each year. It’s important to never leave a flame unattended. Additionally, if you opt for a space heater in your apartment, ensure that it is also never left unattended and make sure that flammable objects are kept at least three feet away from the device. Items including paper, cardboard and fabrics can easily ignite if they're too close to a portable heating source. Taking these precautions can significantly reduce the risk of fire hazards during the winter months. 

Check Smoke Detectors and Carbon Monoxide Alarms 

During the cold weather months, certain methods of staying warm may inadvertently lead to carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, instances of CO exposure and poisoning are more prevalent when furnaces and heaters are in frequent use. 

To keep safe, make sure your smoke alarms and CO detectors are working properly. Test them annually by pressing the test buttons on all detectors throughout your home. If you're unsure or face any issues, simply request Avenue Living Communities to test them for you. Your safety is our priority! 

Must-Have Indoor Accessories  

Try adding an area rug in your living space to keep your feet warm, and placing a mat in your entryway to prevent salt from damaging your flooring or excess water from creating a slipping hazard. 

Another great item to have on hand is a shoe tray. Set up one just inside your front door for easy storage of winter boots and a clean, dry entrance overall. 

One more wise winter addition is a humidifier. By placing a humidifier in your bedroom, your skin can be hydrated on a regular basis rather than constant dryness and cracking. 

Outdoor Tips

Car Safety 

Image of a car that has a lot of snow on the car.

Keeping up-to-date on your vehicle’s maintenance during this time of year could be vital for your safety. For those who park outdoors, we suggest keeping up with snow removal on a regular basis. Bundle up and brush off that car of yours every time it snows, and pay extra attention to the hood because if too much snow accumulates, your engine could be in danger. Also, make sure to double-check that your car is plugged in and that the plug itself is working because no one wants to deal with a dead battery! On that note, we also encourage starting your car every couple of hours during those extra-chilly days to keep everything in working order. Lastly, always clear off your tires before venturing out, as the buildup of snow and ice can easily result in decreased traction. 

Tidy Up Your Balcony or Outdoor Space 

If your apartment has a balcony or outdoor space, we suggest making it winter-ready! This can include bringing inside anything that may deteriorate if exposed to cold weather, such as cushions, planters and rugs. This not only helps maintain a clean and tidy space, but also prevents the need for replacements in the spring. If your building lacks additional storage space, consider covering your belongings with a tarp. This simple measure can work wonders by isolating your items from the harsh winter elements. 

In addition, ensuring that patio doors remain closed is crucial. Unsecured doors can allow a significant amount of cold air to seep in, posing potential issues not only within your apartment but also for the entire building. Keep them securely shut and be vigilant for any drafts. 

Walk Like a Penguin 

Women sliding on ice in the winter because she needs winter safety tips.

Walking in the winter can always be a challenge, especially with the high risk of a sudden fall. Don’t be afraid to follow in the footsteps of penguins, who have walking on ice down to a tee! 

Here are a few key points on how to walk in the winter: 

- Wear shoes with proper traction 

- Take shorter steps 

- Bend your knees slightly and walk flat-footed 

- Point your feet out slightly 

- Maintain your centre of gravity 

- Keep your arms at your sides (and your empty hands out of your pockets) 

- Walk slowly – don't rush 

Always opt for taking cleared pathways for greater confidence in the ground beneath you. When you rent with Avenue Living Communities, you’ll never have to worry about shovelling your sidewalks – leave that to us. 

Plan Ahead 

In order to keep safe this winter, we suggest planning ahead and preparing for the worst-case scenario. Such situations could include power outages or being snowed in. Always having an emergency kit on hand that will last for at least a few days – complete with a flashlight, shovel, non-perishable food, an alternative heating source and any other survival gear, depending on your location is always a wise precaution. 

It’s never too late to be ready for winter!