Checklist: Winterizing your home

Winterize Your Home Tips


Heating – Before the cold hits, make sure your system is in proper working order. If it is a forced air type, get an expert to service the furnace; at the very least, replace the filter and repeat every 3-6 months.

Ensure that heating vents/grills are free of obstructions.

Check for carbon monoxide leaks by installing an alarm (this is a silent killer).

If you have a heat pump, ensure it is free of debris inside and out.

Chimney and fireplace – A wood burning fireplace and chimney can be a major source of cold-air leaks. Do your “annual” professional chimney clean and make sure that the damper is operating correctly.

Plumbing – If you have exposed water or drain lines in uninsulated areas such as crawlspaces, attics and outside walls, insulate with foam insulation as a minimum.

Exterior faucets should have all hoses removed and the water supply turned off, allow the hose bib to drain.

Sprinkler systems should have all the water drained by turning off the water supply and then using compressed air blow any residue remaining in the lines.

Electrical – Are all your exterior wall outlets and switch plates insulated (a very cheap fix). Amazing how much cold air comes through.

Windows and Doors – A significant contributor to cold air leakage comes from poorly caulked windows and no or worn weatherstripping around doors. Again another cheap fix which will save you many dollars in heating costs.

Roof Check roof for damaged or missing shingles and replace as necessary.

Ensure that all of the eavestroughing and downspouts are free of all leaves and other debris. Not a plug, but, an inexpensive “leaf guard” product that is easily installed can be purchased from Costco and will stop the future build-up.

Garden – Prepare your garden for winter by feeding your lawn with the correct feed.

Cover or store your patio furniture (amazing how much longer it lasts when you do this).

Drain any fountains and unplug the pumps.

Garden tools, such as mowers and strimmers that use gas should have the fuel removed. From personal experience, use a stabilizer to keep the carburetor diaphragm supple until you use it next year; if not, this can be very annoying and expensive to repair.

Emergency Kit – Make sure that you have an ample supply of flashlights and

/or candles, matches or lighter in case of power outages and know where they are!

Remember you can use the BBQ and the top of a woodstove to heat water or cook.

If you don’t have one, consider an alternative back-up heat source.

General tips – Because of increased humidity during the winter months, use the kitchen and bathroom exhaust fans on a constant basis.

Ensure the door from the garage to the house closes and seals properly.

Replace batteries in the smoke alarms and check that they work.

Repair all faucet leaks.

A good time to clean the dryer vent is now; too many fires are caused by lint build up.

Make sure the gardens around and against the house slope away and are not above the concrete foundation. This is a major problem that can cause extensive damage to siding, sill plates and studs, but I can assure you that this is very common.

I hope these tips help in keeping you and your family warm and safe in the coming winter months.



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