Get Your Home Winter-Ready in 10 Simple Steps - Rego Realty


Winter doesn’t technically start until December 21. But, here in Southern Ontario, we know that wintry weather can strike anytime after Halloween.

When it does, you’ll want to feel confident knowing that your home is ready to keep you and your family safe.

Don’t wait until the snow hits! Get your home winter-ready in 10 simple steps.


1. Get Your Furnace Serviced

Canadians don’t need to be told about the importance of a properly functioning furnace. Yet, many homeowners take their heating system for granted and are caught off guard when it fails.

Furnace failure is often the result of a defective small component, like the pilot light or heat exchanger. By getting your yearly inspection and tune-up, you’ll be certain that your furnace will crank out the heat you need all winter long.

(And don’t forget to change your furnace filter!)


2. Get Your Chimney Cleaned

For many who dislike cold weather, the silver lining is the warmth, crackle, and aroma a wood-burning fireplace provides. There’s just something special about it.

But, those burning logs can create creosote: a thick residue that sticks to the lining of your chimney and, unfortunately, creates a fire hazard. And then there’s the possibility that critters, who also dislike the cold, may have nested in your chimney, creating smoke-blocking debris in the process.

Keep your fireplace working as it should by getting your chimney cleaned professionally before its first use. This is worth doing every year.


3. Check Your Detectors!

We often forget about these life-savers until they start chirping at us. Don’t leave anything to chance: test each detector and replace the batteries if you haven’t done so in a while. 

And, if you don’t have carbon monoxide detectors, stop reading this article right now and buy one for each level of your home (at a minimum).


4. Disconnect Your Garden Hose

Aside from making a hockey rink in your backyard, you probably don’t need your garden hose once November rolls around.

To prevent pipes from bursting due to water freezing and expanding in the extreme cold, disconnect your hose and turn off the water supply to the exterior tap. Simple — but can save you a hefty repair bill.


5. Check for Sources of Heat Loss

Smart thermostats are a great way to cut your energy costs. But your Nest is not going to save you if your home is leaking heat. Check on these areas for potential heat loss:



Inspect them to make sure they open and close properly (this is important for safety as well), that seals are tight, and that there’s no damage or excess condensation.


Exterior Doors

As with your windows, you’ll want to make sure they’re opening and closing properly without gaps or cracks. If needed, replace the weather stripping. The same applies to your garage doors.


Siding and Soffits

Check your home’s exterior to make sure the siding and soffits are free of cracks, gaps, or missing pieces. If there are issues, get them fixed. If you don’t, the interior of your home could be exposed to the elements, which could lead to energy loss but also mold and rodents.


Attic Insulation

Your attic is a main source of heat loss in the winter. If you have old, compromised, uneven, or missing insulation, your home’s HVAC system will be working overtime to keep you and yours warm and comfy.

Head up to your attic and visually inspect your insulation to make sure it’s dry, free from rodents (check for droppings or damage due to nesting), and covering the floor joists evenly. If you can see the joists, you probably need a top-up.

If you have to replace your insulation, rest assured that it’s one of the higher ROI improvements you can make from both an energy savings and resale standpoint. 


6. Check Your Roof

Southern Ontario homeowners may not think to inspect their roof before winter because, well, it’s going to snow — not rain. But, all that snow on your roof will eventually melt — sometimes rapidly (we’ve all experienced those freak 10°C days on the heels of a 20 cm snowfall). When this happens, water can find its way into even the smallest cracks and cause interior damage.

Do a visual check of your roof to make sure no shingles are missing, buckling, cracked or otherwise damaged. And…


7. Clear Your Gutters

Again, this isn’t about rain; if your gutters are gunked up with leaves and other debris, snow and ice can accumulate, dam and, ultimately, make its way into your home.

By November, most of the leaves that are going to fall have fallen. This is the perfect time to get your gutters cleaned out — professionally if needed.


8. Trim Your Trees

If you didn’t take care of this before the summer, you’ll want to do it now. The last thing you want is for ice-heavy branches striking and damaging your roof or windows repeatedly. 

Make sure any limb that could touch your home is trimmed back.


9. Check Your Handrails 

Most of us, at some point, have reached for a handrail to keep up from falling in the winter. The last thing you want is to take a weakened handrail down with you!

If your handrails and other exterior supports are loose or unstable, get them fixed now, BEFORE you may need them.


10. Consider Getting Survival Supplies

You think nothing about paying thousands of dollars every year for car, home, and life insurance, understanding that you’re probably not going to use them.

Yet, storable food and generators that come in handy during a severe winter storm are often not part of a homeowner’s backup plan.  

Now is a great time to grab these items, as well as first aid kids and flashlights. And, it’s not a bad idea to stock up on other essentials such as batteries, rock salt and other household items that have been known to fly off the shelves — especially when demand skyrockets or supply chains are interrupted.


At the end of the day, you and your family’s safety and well being is always top priority. By taking these steps, you and your home will be ready for whatever winter brings.