Preparing Your House for Winter

snow at side door

Say it isn’t true! Winter is on the way. It may seem like a long time off but the calendar just turned over to October and even though we have had some unseasonably warm weather the leaves are turning and the days are shortening. In Canada that can only mean one thing -the white stuff will be arriving in no time.

Now is an excellent time to take some time to do a quick tour around your house to ensure it is ready for the harsh winter conditions ahead.

Here is a checklist of some of the items to look at in the weeks ahead:

  • Clean your eaves troughs
rain barrel with overflow
rain barrel with overflow into infiltration bed
  • Remove rain barrels for the winter and make sure to add downspout extensions to divert water away from the house
  • Examine the trees around your house for dead or broken branches -especially in trees near and overhanging the house roof
brick mortar joints
missing mortar can let water into the house walls
  • Look at your siding for loose pieces, your stucco for cracks and bricks for loose or missing mortar.
  • Look for holes in soffit areas that might indicate animals preparing to make a home inside your house.
  • Check all vent louvers on dryer vents, bath fan and kitchen exhaust vents for debris and to make sure vent flaps move freely.
  • Examine the condition of your roof. Look for loose, curled or missing shingles.
window caulking
cracks in caulking around windows can let water in
  • Take a peek at the condition of your doors and windows to ensure weatherstripping is tight and in good condition. Caulking around openings should be sound.
  • Check for loose paint on exterior components. It is getting a little late for exterior painting but even getting a coat of primer on bare wood goes a long way to protect it until a proper painting job can be done in the spring.
  • Confirm roof heat cables are functioning properly.
  • Make sure all exterior lights are working.

Moving inside:

boiler system
boiler system needs yearly maintenance to run at top efficiency
  • Install new furnace filters and have your furnace or boiler cleaned and serviced annually to make sure it is in top shape for the start of heating season.
  • Take a look in your attic to check insulation levels, signs of condensation or roof leaks and for signs of animal activity that disturbs insulation.
  • Confirm your attic hatch has good weatherstripping.
  • Check the performance of bath fans and kitchen exhaust fans to help control humidity levels in the house. In newer houses confirm your HRV (heat recovery ventilator) is balanced correctly.
  • Consider a REEP home energy audit to see an overall picture of the energy efficiency of your house and pinpoint problem areas.

This list might look daunting at first but it really just takes a little bit of time now to prevent bigger problems later. Depending on how handy you are many of these items can be done yourself. If you don’t have the skills or the time, getting a professional to take a look is the best approach.