Winterize Your Home

November 28th 2006
Winterize Your Home

As temperatures dip below freezing, following a few simple steps to protect your home can prevent costly damage and some major inconveniences. Unfortunately, many homeowners wait until snow hits the ground before they take these steps to protect their home.

  1. - Winterize external plumbing systems - Drain exterior water pipes and any pipes that run through unheated areas (such as a garage, crawlspace or unheated porch). If draining these pipes isn't possible, wrap them with foam insulation or heat tape.

  2. - Exterior garden faucets - shut off inside your home and open valve outside to drain faucet valve. Note: this should be done early November through April.

  3. - Remove all garden hoses from outside water valves and store in a dry warm area over the winter months.

  4. - When a water faucet freezes use a hair dryer to heat and the pipes to free the frozen area. Leave faucet set at a trickle to prevent freezing again.

  5. - Roof gutters should be cleaned every fall after leaves have fallen from the trees. This will prevent freezing mass in gutters and opening the seams to leaks.

  6. - Perimeter drains (weeping tile) collector sumps must be cleaned of all debris every fall to prevent backup into crawl spaces or basement.

  7. - All floor drains, basin and sink drains, concealed drainage traps should have water poured into them every two weeks during cold dry months to prevent evaporation allowing sewer gases to escape.

  8. - Pools and Hot Tubs must have heat or circulation pumps running to prevent freezing.

  9. - Toilet tanks against outside walls, which are seldom used, should be shutoff and drained if left for long periods of time of non-usage.

  10. - Remove all freezable products (i.e. Latex paint) from cold areas and store in warm place away from open flame.

  11. - Outside flower pots (unless frost free) should be moved to warm areas to prevent frost cracking.

  12. - Leave room doors open to allow warm air to displaced into cold areas to prevent plaster and drywall cracks.

  13. Moisture levels (relative humidity) must be controlled within the home to stop flooring from shrinking and squeaking and fine furniture from coming loose at the joints. The following is recommended.

  14. Outside Air TemperatureInside Humidity Setting
  15. Summer Temperature 50%
    0 to -12C 40%
    -12 to -18C 35%
    -19 to -24C 25%
    -25 to -30C 20%
    -31 or below 15%

    Home at 20C = 68F

Extended vacations
If you are a vacationing snowbird and intend to leave your home for an extended period of time, you will want to ensure you go over these tips before taking off.