Getting Ready to Winterize Your Home

Canadian winters are hard on your home. As the temperature plummets, keeping your family safe and warm, all while protecting your investment, is what matters most. When late autumn sets in, don’t get too cozy; stay ahead of the snowfall by being proactive and winterizing your home before the ice sets in.

Take the necessary precautions this winter and save yourself time and money in the process – download the Seasonal Checklist for an itemized guide full of winter home maintenance tips!

So, where do you begin and what do you need to know about winterizing a Minto Communities’ home?

Protecting the outside of your home

If you’ve been diligent with fall home maintenance, then you can cross a lot of important to-dos off your list. This includes:

  • inspecting exterior brick mortar for voids, excluding the bottom row where space is required for drainage;
  • repairing any damage to your home’s siding, trim and eavestrough;
  • removing leaves and other debris from gutters so rain and melting snow drains properly;
  • checking caulking for signs of water or air penetration – remove and replace if necessary;
  • fixing loose shingles on your roof, patching leaks in your attic or basement and covering any holes in your home and auxiliary buildings; and
  • cleaning your Heat Recovery Ventilation (HRV) unit, replacing air filters, cleaning vent covers and servicing your furnace.

In addition, winterizing outside pipes, specifically your hose bibs, is a must-do to avoid costly repairs not covered under your new home warranty. Winterizing your exterior pipes takes approximately five minutes – to learn how, watch this video.

Here are a few other tasks to consider:

  • Lengthen your downspouts to keep melting snow away from your house – this protects the foundation when the water refreezes.
  • Secure any evergreen trees or shrubs to prevent the weight of ice and snow from permanently deforming them.
  • Prevent door locks from freezing by spraying a lubricant such as powdered graphite or lock de-icer into the tumbler.

Finally, limit icy steps and sidewalks with sand or other products that won’t damage your walkways, concrete or interlocking. And don’t forget to keep your shovel accessible – if you own a snowblower, make sure it’s in working order.

Preparing the inside of your home for winter

When it comes to comfort and safety during the winter, the most important consideration indoors is your home’s furnace. As mentioned above, it’s recommended to clean or replace air filters and have a professional servicing done on your HRV unit.

To learn more about your home’s mechanical and ventilation features including additional maintenance advice, visit this resource page.

Aside from tuning up your heating and ventilation system, there are a few more important tasks to tackle inside your home.

  • Have your chimney swept and fireplace professionally cleaned if applicable.
  • Replace old weather stripping on your windows and doors, and install insulation gaskets around the electrical outlets.
  • Remove large amounts of dust or animal hair from the air vents and heating ducts.
  • Check your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors – with your furnace working and the addition of space heaters, this is particularly important.
  • Repair any faulty insulation in your attic and consider adding pipe insulation to those running along exterior walls.
  • Monitor the humidity with a hydrometer – adjust the moisture percentage accordingly based on weather and temperature changes.

I’m short on time, what maintenance should I prioritize?

Arguably, the priority to winterizing your home is making sure your furnace and ventilation systems are working properly. Staying warm and improving the air quality is directly related to your HRV unit as well as the air filters and exhaust fans.

Protect your health and your home this winter, check out this helpful MasterCare resource on how to get a handle on humidity.

Of course, the warmth of your home also depends on keeping the hot air from escaping while preventing cold air from entering. As such, it’s important to prioritize time to inspect for and repair any water infiltration and damage to your siding, roof or foundation. Remember, moisture in your foundation, windows or ceiling is a sign of condensation or humidity which warrants investigation.

Don’t forget, the Seasonal Maintenance Checklist is a great guide for Minto Communities’ homeowners. It saves you time by providing a list of items to check and maintain during each season including the winter.

For more information on winterizing your home, or if you have questions about what’s covered under your new home warranty, contact your community’s designated MasterCare Coordinator.