5 steps to get your home winter ready

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Fall is the best time to get your home ready for winter. Do this to stay safe, comfortable and healthy. You’ll save heating and repair costs too.

Check the following:

How to winterize your home from Home Channel TV.

  1. Doors and windows

    Doors and windows can have leaks and gaps. Cold air can get inside your house or let the heat go out. This can increase your energy bill. Do the following:

    • See light and movement – There’s a leak when you can see light on the edges of windows and doors or if you can shake them. Fix old and cracking weatherstripping or caulking around windows to fix leaks.
    • Do the candle or incense test – Turn off all fans, furnace or heaters and close windows and doors. Turn on your kitchen or bathroom exhaust vents. Hold a lighted incense or candle close to spaces around windows or doors. There is a leak if you see smoke moving.
    • Ask a professional – Call a licensed home inspector if you cannot do this yourself. Tell your landlord/building manager to help you if you live in an apartment.
  2. Check your furnace

    • Turn your furnace on. See if it is working properly.
    • See if air filters need to be changed. These should be changed every two to three months.
    • Don’t block heat vents with big pieces of furniture.
    • Adjust your thermostat to 20°C to 22°C in the daytime (when someone is at home). Lower it to 17°C to 19°C at night.
    • Install carbon monoxide detectors. Replace batteries regularly if you have them.
    • Check your smoke alarm if it is working. Winter is the worst season for fires in Canada.

    Don’t turn the heater off if you’re leaving your home for a long time. Water pipes can freeze and burst if you do this. Turn down your heat to 10°C if you will be on vacation.

  3. Clean out your gutters and protect your garden

    • Sweep out leaves and dirt from roof gutters. Dirt can block melting ice and snow and damage your roof.
    • Clean up your garden and protect the plants from the cold. Ask a gardener at the supply store about protection for plants. Store yard tools.
    • Important: Turn off the water and remove water from hoses outside of your house. They can explode if there’s water in them.
  4. Tidy up in your garage

    • Clean the garage. Make space for your car to protect it from winter weather.
    • Get your snowblower ready. Check if it is working.
    • Get a shovel and prepare some salt or sand for de-icing your driveway.
  5. Keep pests out

    • Look for cracks and holes from outside your house and cover them. Mice and small insects look for warm places in winter. They can go inside your home through cracks.
    • Keep your home and surroundings clean.
    • Keep garbage bins covered. Garbage attracts rodents.
    • Read How to keep your home pest-free in winter for more tips.
  6. Report it to your landlord

    Tell your landlord if you see dangers near your apartment building. Examples are patches of black ice near entrances or icicles forming near entryways. Keep the apartment’s surroundings clean at all times. Help others stay safe in winter. Have a worry-free winter!

Article updated October 28, 2021.
Sources: The guide to getting your house ready for winter, Think Insure.ca; Prepare your apartment for colder weather, Rentseeker, Apartment Living; 7 tips to get your home ready for fall, Brian McKechnie, Global News; and What temperature should I set my thermostat to for the winter? Direct Energy. Accessed November 1,2018.

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