It’s freezing out there. Now that the holidays are over, it’s a bit harder to love the biting cold.
One thing you do love is your new home, but Jack Frost can make that difficult sometimes, too. When it’s not prepped for the season, your house isn’t the best shelter it can be.
A house for all seasons
Just like anything else you own, your house needs care and attention to stay in good shape. Winter takes its toll on many houses—and many homeowners neglect to maintain theirs in advance. Instead, they call for help after the damage is done.
And if you ever wonder why your heating system isn’t doing the job, there are probably more subtle reasons your house isn’t keeping out the cold.
Here are the best ways to winter-proof your home before and during the winter season.
1. Inspect every window and door for leaks
If you feel a draft when sitting next to your living room window, it’s time to do something about it. Seal your windows by applying caulk to where the window meets the exterior siding. Make sure your doors are sealed, too.
Drafts can sometimes creep through electrical outlets and light switches, so use spray foam insulation to seal those properly.
2. Check your drainage
It’s easier than it sounds. Take a look at the soil around your foundation. Are there sunken spots? Is there water building up around your foundation?
Fill any gaps with extra soil to prevent water from falling in and building up. Overly saturated soil around your foundation will go through cycles of freezing and thawing (known as the frost-heave cycle) that can damage and destabilize your foundation over time.
3. Clean your gutters
While you’re outside, you might as well check your eaves. Any debris—leaves, twigs, dirt—can clog your gutters, which prevents them from draining melted snow and rain. This way, you can stop household leaks before they happen.
4. Inspect your roof
Yes—a lot of winter-induced damage comes from above. Loose, damaged, or missing shingles are prime points of entry for freezing air or melted snow.
Avoid leaks by checking your shingles while you clean your eaves. You should consider calling in a professional roofer to conduct maintenance and repairs.
5. Cover exposed pipes in unheated areas
The tiniest pipes can cause the biggest problems. Frozen water pipes are incredibly common, but they’re inexpensive to prevent. Pad any exposed pipes, in your basement or attics especially, and thaw frozen pipes to avoid future damage.
6. Get your furnace serviced
Nothing is worse than an unexpected deep-freeze. To ensure your furnace never fails, schedule routine maintenance.
7. Stay warm by design
If home repairs and exterior maintenance aren’t your forte, you can still work warm wonders for your new home.
Consider choosing fabric sofas over leather. Use rugs wherever there’s hardwood or laminate flooring. And—this should be a no-brainer—always keep a couple of throw blankets in your living room and bedrooms.
Canadians are strong enough to brave the cold. But we shouldn’t have to brave it indoors. Make your shelter stronger by scheduling professional maintenance and checking up on the health of your home.