In summertime in Canada, we struggle with heat and forest fires and in winter extreme cold and snow. The key to a comfortable and stress-free winter, is to be prepared before the first flurry of snow arrives. Here we have compiled our best checklist to get your home ready for the beginning of winter.
1) Use what you already have
If you have curtains, drapes, shades, even mini-blinds, close them at night as they will provide a decent level of insulation from cold and droughts coming from windows. Placing a drape or blanket over doors to the outside adds another layer of protection.
Floorboards also steal away a lot of heat from our homes. Cover any floorboards with rugs and blankets. Even consider using filler on any major slots or cracks. It will make a huge difference to the warmth of the room and feel extra soft underfoot too.
2) Insulate attics and basements
Most of the heat will be lost through your roof and your basement, so make sure you assess all major air leaks and fix them ahead of the cold season kicking in.
Worth also noting that heated air will leak up the chimney when you leave the fireplace damper open. Make it a habit to close the flue once the fireplace has cooled.
For smaller air leaks and droughts use a door sweep which is a flexible piece of rubber or plastic held in place by a small strip of aluminium and is very straightforward to fit.
Attic insulation also keeps the warm air in, in winter, as well as the cool air in in summer, but do not undo all of your good work by having an inefficient loft hatch – this can also be insulated – or a loose roof tile, which is quick and easy to replace and stops heat escaping unnecessarily.
3) Shut up any old rooms
By closing off any room you use infrequently you will contain the heat in the part of your home that you do use every day. Consider closing off guest rooms or any other rooms that are unlikely to be used this winter and give yourself a smaller more efficient space to heat and keep warm.
4) Flashlights and lamps
Power outages are very common in our part of the world so make sure you have a box full of blankets, a few good flashlights and lots of extra batteries and candles. Storms cause trees to fall and knock out power lines so also always keep your cell phone charged so you can phone for help in case of an emergency.
5) Bundle up
Hypothermia is a state which kicks in when your core body temperature drops below 35˚C (95˚F). Your normal core body temperature is 37˚C (98.6˚F). If you are unexpectedly outside in the cold, hypothermia can become a real issue. Always bundle up, even if putting out the garbage and wear appropriate footwear with thick soles and no leaks as a lot of heat is lost through the feet.