November 3, 2022

Preparing Your Home for Winter Weather

As the winter weather approaches (sad, we know), it’s important for homeowners to understand that preparing your home for winter weather can result in substantial savings over time. By preventing costly repairs and making choices that reduce utility costs, you can get ahead of the risks associated with the cold, wet and snowy weather.

Keep in mind that your home insurance will protect you from unpredictable events that may occur throughout the winter, however it does not cover general wear and tear that occurs over time.

We recommend that you take action to prepare your home as soon as possible – it’s so much easier to check these items off your to-do list before the snow arrives!

Exterior of the Home

  • Check your roof for potential problems. Loose or deteriorating shingles can allow water to easily penetrate your home during freeze and thaw season
  • Look for any possible entry points for rodents. If there are any potential entry points, consider stuffing them with steel wool
  • Inspect exterior lighting to ensure it provides enough light on main traffic areas
  • Change or repair weather stripping around doors to prevent cold air from entering your home
  • Remove your summer screens and install storm windows
  • Inspect the exterior of your home for any cracks and exposed entry points around pipes
  • Consider protecting your basement window wells by covering them with plastic shields
  • Replace worn or missing roof shingles or tiles
  • Clean out your gutters and downspouts, and ensure your downspouts run six feet away from your home

Landscaping & Yard

  • Make sure that any furniture or toys are properly secured and won’t cause damage in a storm
  • Keep pathways clear and safe. This includes extending any eaves through downspouts so ice will not accumulate
  • Rake away all debris and vegetation from the foundation of your home

Heating Systems

  • Cover your outdoor air conditioner condensing unit, and if your AC has a water shut-off valve, turn it off
  • Inspect your attic to ensure you have adequate insulation to prevent warm air from escaping and forming condensation or ice dams in your home
  • Have your furnace inspected annually by a qualified HVAC technician and make sure that all gas vents are clear of any debris. Don’t forget to also clean or replace your furnace’s air filter
  • If you have a wood burning fireplace, it is required by Ontario regulations to have your chimney cleaned annually. You should also ensure that you have a cap or screen at the top of your chimney to keep unwanted critters out, and inspect the fireplace damper for proper opening and closing
  • If you’re going away for the holidays, keep the temperature in your home at least 12 degrees Celsius

Smoke & Carbon Monoxide Detectors

  • Replace any smoke detectors or fire extinguishers older than 10 years
  • Buy extra smoke detector batteries and change them once a year
  • Install a carbon monoxide detector near your wood burning appliance, furnace and/or water heater
  • Test smoke and carbon monoxide detectors to make sure they work (test once a month)

Pipes & Plumbing

  • Drain all garden hoses and close “secondary” shut off valves inside
  • Look for exposed pipes in your home (likely locations include crawlspaces, basements or garages). Wrap exposed pipes with foam rubber sleeves or fiberglass insulation to keep them from freezing
  • Find your water main and keep it accessible in the event you need to shut it off in an emergency

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