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Ways to Winterize Your House: Winter Checklist

Ways to Winterize Your House: Winter Checklist
Written by
  • tvine
| Nov 9, 2022
Reviewed, Jun 5, 2023

With winter right around the corner, homeowners all over Canada are getting ready to brave the colder weather by preparing for winter. Repairing damage caused by cold temperatures, ice, and water will be very expensive, so here is a solid winter checklist for homeowners to help you winterize your home and save time and money come spring!

Tip 1: Getting winter ready with your home’s heating & air conditioning

For starters, changing the filters of your heating system before turning it on is a must. Another good tip is to set the temperature of your home on the thermostat to save money on heating. Turning up the heating every time it gets cold in your house means you are having to reheat your home every time, which takes up a lot of energy. Instead, set the temperature of your home from the start and you won’t have to worry about it unless you plan on being away for a while. 

As for the air conditioning, remove any window units to optimize home insulation. If you have an outdoor unit, make sure it’s covered with appropriate tarp. 

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Tip 2: Seal your hard surfaces and exterior wood for a winter home 

If you have a concrete or asphalt driveway or even a concrete patio, make sure to apply sealant on these surfaces to avoid any cracks in the masonry. Exposure to snow and ice over the winter months causes water to seep through these surfaces and freezer, which can cause a lot of damage over time. 

As for any wood on the exterior of your house, make sure that it is well painted, sealed, and caulked. Exposure to water can cause the wood to rot if it is not well protected and compromised caulking around wooden window trims can also let cold air into your house. While the wood used for decks is already treated to remain resistant to extreme weather, touching up the paint job and sealant every couple of years is a good idea. 

Tip 3: Getting ready for winter by cleaning  your gutters and chimney

As we near the end of autumn with winter around the corner, now is the best time to clean your gutters. All the leaves have fallen off the trees, but it’s still temperate enough that you can get some outdoor work done without freezing your hands off. Cleaning your gutters before winter hits is incredibly important to make sure that the water from rainfall or snow doesn’t overflow and damage the exterior of your house or create icicles hanging from your gutters. Plus, removing crisp autumn leaves from your gutters is easier and more pleasant than dealing with the leftover wet sludge come springtime.

Cleaning your chimney is another important step, especially if you plan on using it in the winter. Usually people hire a professional for this job, but either way, don’t skip it! Blockage in your chimney can cause smoke or other debris to be back drafted into your house. 

Tip 4: Shut down your pool and outdoor sprinkler systems to be winter ready

Whether you have an above-ground pool or an in-ground pool, you will need to drain it and cover it with the appropriate tarp. You will also have to prepare the system for winter, which is a process that depends on the type of pool you have and same goes for winterizing your sprinkler system. These are expensive fixes and getting a professional to take care of it in the fall is a safe option.

Additionally, turn off all outdoor taps to prevent any water from freezing and damaging the pipes. Also, make sure to drain out your hose and store it somewhere dry. Hoses can crack and break if they are exposed to cold temperatures or if residual water freezes inside.

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Tip 5: Prep for winter by preventing pests from entering your attic and home

In the winter, pests like squirrels, mice, or chipmunks will seek out warm nooks to curl up in. Make sure your home does not become their preferred hiding spot by protecting any openings like vents, sidings, and eaves (under the overhang of your roof). It’s also a good idea to trim the tree branches around your home to make it harder for animals to access the roof of your house. 

Tip 6: Cover your expensive lawn, home equipment and furniture

If you are someone who works hard on maintaining their lawn, protecting it for the winter with the appropriate coverings will reduce the work you will have to do in the spring. Hardware stores usually carry coverings meant for lawns, as well as for shrubs and flower beds. 

As for your home equipment and outdoor furniture, storing them in a dry place like your garage is ideal. However, if space is an issue, using waterproof tarps to cover them will protect them from rust. 

Tip 7: Have a plan for patio and driveway snow removal for your home in winter

In the interest of saving money, a lot of people like to clear their patios and driveways themselves. However, if you prefer to hire a snow removal company, doing your research and booking a service earlier in the year is the best way to go. If you live somewhere that gets a lot of snow, slots fill up very fast! If you are new to a neighbourhood, it’s a good idea to ask your neighbours which company they use. That way, the service can clear both your driveways one after the other. 

Another option is to get a car shelter installed, which will protect both your driveway and your car from snowfall. This service is not available everywhere and some municipalities have rules about how long you can keep one up, but it’s definitely worth looking into. 

Tip 8: Check your current energy usage and plan ahead

The best way to plan for the winter is to keep track of your energy usage and the temperature of your home. Knowing how much energy your home uses and why will help you better plan and prioritize your winter prep checklist. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some frequently asked questions about preparing for winter:

 How do I prepare my house for winter storage?

If you have a garage or storage room, start making room for any outdoor furniture or equipment that needs to be stored in a dry place. Otherwise, protecting these items with the appropriate coverings is a great way to reduce any damage caused by water or cold temperatures. Most hardware stores stock all the appropriate tarps for different items.

What should I buy before winter?

When it comes to doing prep for winter, it can be a lot of work, but it will save you money and time in the long run. Any type of damage control will be far more challenging to deal with than having a solid winter plan to protect and heat your home over the cold winter months. 

Final Thoughts

When it comes to doing prep for winter, it can be a lot of work, but it will save you money and time in the long run. Any type of damage control will be far more challenging to deal with than having a solid winter plan to protect and heat your home over the cold winter months. 

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