Winterizing Your Home: 6 Easy Steps to Follow

Home winterizing tips

As winter creeps up on homeowners, it’s important to properly maintain your home and prepare for the cold weather. Fortunately, there is reliable home insurance in Alberta to financially protect against damage caused by falling debris, fire, wind, lightning, and more. However, there are many ways to protect yourself from financial hardship where your house is concerned by being proactive.

At Bow Valley Insurance, we serve Canadians across Alberta with a variety of insurance needs, including home insurance. It’s important to us that our clients are well informed and covered against all risks.

Here, we’ve compiled a list of 6 steps to winterize your home and keep your home safe.

1. Change your furnace filter and clear vents

As the temperatures drop, Canadians will begin turning on the heat in their homes. Unfortunately, leaving our heat off for so long during the warm months allows dust and debris to collect in the ventilation system.

Cleaning the vents is important to prevent allergies and the spread of bacteria, dust, and other allergens. You should have your ventilation system cleaned professionally and inspected for signs of trouble once a year.

You may have also forgotten to change your last furnace filter since you weren’t using the furnace as much. A furnace filter can get clogged with dust and debris over time.

When the furnace filter gets blocked, it doesn’t let the hot air in your furnace escape. This causes your furnace to shut the burner off, which in turn causes it to blow cold air, rather than hot air. Changing the filter is an easy process and one most homeowners manage on their own. However, you could call a professional home heating service to help if you’re unsure how to go about it safely.

2. Clear gutters and have your roof inspected

The gutters and downspout on your house lead water away from your roof, and allow it to drain out onto your property away from the foundation line. Gutters should be cleaned twice a year after the spring and fall to keep them running smoothly.

When gutters don’t work because they are clogged with fallen twigs, leaves, and other debris, it could lead to some serious problems, including:

  • Roof shingle warping
  • Roof rot
  • Pests
  • Unforeseen roofing costs
  • Leaks

Clearing your gutters ensures rainwater and melting snow flows down off your roof, instead of pooling on top. In the winter, this is especially important because as the water freezes in gutters and against your home, it could expand and crack the foundation.

3. Cover windows and unused doors in your home

Winter means cold air blowing into your house. This increases heating and electricity bills, not to mention causes a bit of a draft. To keep your home cozy and energy bills low, we recommend sealing windows and unused doors for the winter season.

You can buy specialized wrapping material from your local hardware store to weatherproof your home. This seals air in, and keeps cold out. You’ll find that you will use less heat and, in turn, spend less money fighting against leaks around your window panes.

4. Begin raising the temperature

It’s tempting to wait until the very last minute to turn the heat on, but this could lead to bigger problems than simply a rise in your home heating bill. As the temperatures drop, the risk of water freezing in your pipes grows. As mentioned above, if the water in your pipes freezes, it could cause bursting pipes, leaks, and flooding in your home.

Defrosting pipes is a tricky business. Once the pipes begin to freeze, it could be months before the weather warms enough to defrost them. By raising your heat just a bit, even during those late autumn months when you feel the chill, you keep water running smoothly, and the pipes in your home safe from risk.

5. Clean your garage and organize winter items

Winter weather means clearing driveways, salting the steps, and de-icing vehicles. All of these tasks require special tools and equipment. Before the cold snap hits, we recommend organizing your garage, so you can find all the winter items you’ll need this year. Some winter things you might want to have on hand include:

  • Shovel
  • Snowblower
  • Salt or brine solution
  • Gas for snowblower

6. Insulate exposed water pipes and ditch the hose

During the winter, even with the heat on, the exposed water pipes in your home become susceptible to freezing. The trouble with freezing is that it causes pipes to expand and could cause them to burst. Bursting pipes lead to leaks and other home hazards.

As winter approaches, take the time to thoroughly inspect your home for signs of leaks or damaged pipes. Use this time to also insulate exposed pipes, disconnect your garden hose and sprinkler system, and turn off your outdoor water supply, if separate from your indoor water supply.

Contact Bow Valley Insurance

Bow Valley Insurance protects our clients and their assets by providing customized insurance solutions.  We invite you to contact us and discuss home insurance in Alberta or view our other insurance products.

Call 1-800-332-1308 or request a quote online. One of our experienced brokers will help you find the best ways to protect your home year-round. 

Coverage is subject to policy wording, terms, conditions, and deductibles. Protection is limited to the perils, coverage, exclusions, and limits shown on the policy