Winterizing a House: Easy to Use Checklist

Winterizing a House: Easy to Use Checklist

When temperatures start to dip in Ontario, it’s time to start thinking about how to winterize the house. Whether you’re staying through the winter or flocking south to warmer climes, it’s important for safety and comfort to know everything that needs to be ticked off your winterizing a house checklist. To simplify the process, we’ve created an easy checklist for you to follow.

Protect Pipes

Burst pipes are one of the most common problems for homeowners who haven’t learned about winterizing a house. Burst pipes happen because water expands when it gets cold. If you have water in the pipes that isn’t moving, it can freeze and build up pressure inside the pipes.

You can prevent this by turning off water at exterior spigots, like the one connected to your garden hose. If you have lawn sprinklers, be sure to shut that off, and drain the system. Note that many sprinkler systems have their own water main faucet, so you might be able to shut it off from there. 

Weatherstrip Windows

Older Ontario homes often have drafty windows that let cold air in and allow heat to escape. Pick up some window weather-stripping at the hardware store and place it in the crevice where double-hung windows meet, and along the bottom between the window and the sill. Weatherstripping is stick-in-place, so no tools are needed on this step for winterizing a house. You can also use a cellophane seal over the entire window, and there are kits you buy at most hardware stores for this.

Get Flues Cleaned

There is just something magical about a wood-burning fireplace. But fireplace flues collect soot in winter that can catch on fire. If you haven’t had the fireplace flue professionally cleaned since last winter, it’s definitely time to do so, before you begin a long Ontario winter filled with cozy, fireside evenings.

Insulate the Attic

Winterizing a house should also include revisiting your insulation needs. It may have been years since you inspected your attic insulation. Recently, new and improved insulation has become available that is better suited to Ontario winters. Consider replacing your attic and/or basement insulation. Keep in mind that old insulation may contain loose fiberglass fibers, so it’s best to leave this task to the professionals.

Clean Gutters

Clean gutters help to prevent ice dams from forming on your eaves. Ice dams happen when melting snow can’t flow off the roof. It builds up at the eaves, freezes, and creates ice dams. In turn, these ice dams can lead to water seeping into your walls, creating all kinds of havoc. Take an hour to go around and clean out the gutters of leaves and other debris. There are many gutter cleaning gadgets available on the market that will make the job go fast.

Change Out Textiles

Part of winterizing a house is changing out the textiles. Replace gossamer sheers window panels with insulated draperies that will help keep out the cold. Place cozy rugs on hardwood floors next to beds. Replace silk throws with woolen blankets on sofas and chairs so it’s easy to snuggle in on cold Ontario nights.

Install Programmable Thermostat

If you haven’t yet installed a programmable thermostat, consider doing it now. These thermostats make it easy to regulate the temperature in your home, especially in the winter. You’ll be able to save money by programming it to bring down temps while you’re away for the weekend or at work. If your home is large, consider a zone programmable thermostat, so you won’t waste energy heating rooms that are rarely used.

Get a Furnace Checkup

Nothing’s worse than waking up shivering to discover that the furnace has died. Take time now to get a professional furnace checkup to ensure your furnace is operating properly. This may include changing the furnace filter if yours has one. 

Winterizing a Condo

Of course, if you happen to live in a condominium, your winterizing checklist will be a little bit different than winterizing a house. You won’t have to worry about attic insulation, for example. Still, there are some things you can do to save energy and keep your condo safe from winter’s tempests.

Use a door insulator strip. A colourful fabric strip placed at the foot of your front door will keep out drafts.

Hang insulated drapes. Insulated drapes on sliding glass doors will keep out winter’s chill.

This checklist for winterizing a house will be a handy reference for you to use this winter and in future winters. And remember, any permanent work you do on your house to insulate it for winter will add value to your home for potential homebuyers should you choose to sell someday.