Dear Urbaneer: How Should I Prepare My House For Winter?

Dear Urbaneer, Real Estate

Welcome to the latest installment of Dear urbaneer, where we delve into our collective experiences as realtors to field questions that have been plaguing some of our clients.

We are tackling a seasonal question this time around as we help one of our clients to get their house ready to endure (and flourish) through the cold temperatures that lie ahead.

Dear urbaneer:

We derive such comfort and warmth, literally and figuratively from our home. However, wintertime brings a certain chill – both in temperature, and with the chill that runs up and down our spine when we receive our energy bills! This year, we are making it a point to be ready for winter. How can we preserve and protect our home against the elements and be energy efficient at the same time?

Out in the Cold


Here's our response:


Dear Out in the Cold:

Firstly, we encourage you to embrace the warmth, literally and figuratively of the space you call home. As the wind whips up around your walls, don’t fret! We’ve got several suggestions on how to help your home (and you) battle the elements with success.


Dodge The Draught

Do you feel the breeze? On a cold winter’s day – that is most decidedly not a good thing. Now is the time to seal those windows and doors to keep the cold air out and the warm air in (this has the reverse effect in the summertime).

In addition to the windows and doors, check around vents as well. If there are any cracks in the caulking- that is a sign that it should be replaced. Choose rubber caulking; it’s the most durable and weather resistant and mimics the natural expansion and contraction caused by changes in temperature. Also consider replacing the weather-stripping and seals around the doors.


Insulate Your Attic

Although your attic may be home to all of your groovy clothes from decades ago, along with loads of Knick knacks and memorabilia, your attic should also be well insulated. Heat rises after all, and your attic is your last line of defense before the heat seeps out of the roof.

Make sure your attic has at least 12-15 inches of carefully layered or blown-in insulation. Ensure that the space is properly sealed from the rest of the house with a vapour barrier as well.

Ideally, your attic should be the same temperature that it is outside.  If it’s not adequately sealed and insulated, you run the risk of cold seeping back down, and your expensive heat rising up through the cracks!


Drain Your Hose Bib

Your days of watering the lawn are over. At least for now.

Make sure you shut off and drain all outdoor hoses. Drain your sprinkler systems and cap taps. Do this one quickly, before the temperatures fall (and stay) well below freezing, to avoid that frozen accumulation!

Also, check the eaves to make sure that water is drained, and that there isn’t any residual water clogged by leaves leftover from the fall.


Window Air Conditioning Units

Bring those window A/C units inside! You are well aware that there is no need to cool the indoors in the winter months, but what is the point of heating the outdoors as well? You are leaving yourself a crack, and a draught and an avenue for cold air in, hot air out by leaving those units in year-round.


Swab the Deck

Cover up your patio furniture or store it away. Bring any pots and planters that might crack into the warmth for the duration of the season.

After you’ve put your garden furniture away, give your deck a good clean, as a means of warding off mold and mildew. This would also be a good time to put extra sealant on, if necessary.


Trim Your Trees

And no, not the holiday tree trim. Although ice-covered branches are quite beautiful, they are a homeowner’s nightmare, especially if they should fall on your home!

Prune back any oversized branches that may pose a threat to the structural soundness of your home.


Tune up

Get your furnace cleaned and make sure it is in working order before the really chilly temperatures set in. Although you really should have been changing the filter on a monthly basis, if that particular job has fallen by the wayside, now is the time to attend to it.

It’s also a good time to have your vents and ducts cleaned, to ensure the free flow of that warm air.

Have an inspection of your fireplace and/or chimney done, so that you can cozy up in front of the fire as the snow falls outside.


Stock up

Make sure you’ve got all the supplies you need to manage the snow, like shovels and salt. Leave them somewhere accessible for the season.

This is also an opportune time to stock an emergency kit, just in case you get really walloped by a winter storm. Have things like flashlights, blankets, batteries, candles, non-perishable food items, drinking water (two litres per adult per day), matches and a battery-powered radio.


Are you ready for winter, and for all the other seasons in real estate? At, we help enhance your homeowner experience – from buying, to selling to taking full advantage as an owner during your tenure at a given property with solid, practical advice. We're here to help!

~ Steven and the urbaneer team

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