Table with the box

Winterizing your home
October 2012

It’s already happening. You have pulled your sweaters out of moth balls and found your mittens in the coat closet. It’s winter, its coming… are you and your home prepared? Before Jack Frost comes nipping at your nose and snow covers your roof, here is my list of common steps to take in order to prepare your home for another Great Canadian Winter:

  • Check the heating unit. Give it a test run and replace the filtre (typically every 3 months). Be sure to inspect the heating unit at the source and the distribution networks to ensure that the entire system is operating as it should.
  • Cover the AC condenser unit outside with a breathable waterproof cover. Remember to clean the unit with water and a hose set to “jet” in order to remove any dirt and debris.
  • Inspect the roof. If it your roof looks it may not survive the winter, this is the time to address the issue. While you’re up there, clean out those gutters!
  • Check the chimney and make sure no birds, squirrels or other animals have made a home of it. Check the flue damper operation and, if it has been awhile, this is also ideal time to have the chimney cleaned. Although not thought of much while the weather is warm, the wood burning fireplace and chimney can be a major source of cold air leaks and other issues in winter. Therefore, the chimney and the fireplace need a little going over before winter sets in. Inspect the firebrick in the fireplace. If you notice any open mortar joints, have them repaired immediately! A fire can spread into the stud wall behind the masonry firebrick through open mortar joints.
  • Shut down exterior plumbing (hose bibs) and insulate pipes in “cold zones” if necessary. Plumbing pipes exposed to cold weather can burst and cause a lot of damage (and headaches).
  • Check your windows and replace caulking as necessary. Infiltration of cold air from air leaks around doors and windows is as significant a contributor to your heating bill as is poor insulation in the walls and ceiling. An easy way to reduce you heating bill is to reduce these drafts with simple weather-stripping.
  • Trim trees if branches hang too close to the house or electrical wires.
  • Seal driveways, brick patios and wood decks.
  • Fill up on fuel. If you have an oil furnace, this would also be a great time to re-fill and order an inspection of the tank (if necessary).

With these straightforward maintenance procedures out of the way, you can relax knowing that your home is ready for yet another Canadian winter, once it arrives.

Peter Khatami - Peter is Senior Project Manager and Co-Owner of Nostco Construction, a Design/Build company serving residential and commercial clients throughout the GTA.