Quick Ways to
Winterize Your Home
Finding and dealing with the energy wasters in your home
will not only take the chill away during winter but save
you money by shrinking heating and hydro bills.
To keep the heat in and the cold out, consider these
Seal your attic. Since hot air rises, most heat loss
occurs through your roof. Even if your attic is well
insulated, it may not necessarily be well-sealed.
Insulation is designed to slow down heat loss rather than
Begin by sealing the gaps that lead from your living areas
to your attic. These gaps serve as escape routes for
heated air. Some accommodate wiring and pipes, while
others are the result of bad craftsmanship and/or the
normal settling of a structure.
Here are some things you can do:
fill small gaps around chimney with rock wool or
insulate and weatherstrip attic entry hatches;
caulk all gaps and holes used for wiring;
install recessed light fixtures that are air tight;
seal gaps where heating and other ductwork enters and
exits the attic.
Weatherstrip windows and exterior doors. Most
weatherstripping products last only a few years. Check
windows, door frames and baseboards for escaping heat by
holding a lit match by any gaps. If the flame moves or
blows out, you have a draft problem.
The best seal should be on the inside so moisture will not
enter and stay in the wall.
Use silicone caulking, but be sure to check the directions
on the label to ensure you are getting the right type for
Make sure all surfaces are clean and smooth.
Run a continuous bead of caulking (you may want to use a
caulking gun) where the window trim meets the wall, then
run another continuous bead between the trim and the
window frame and where the trim meets the window sill.
If you don't have thermo windows or storms, you can apply
a temporary thin plastic film over the window with a hair
blower (kits can be purchased at building supply stores)
to help stop drafts and prevent frost from building up
over the winter. However, this should be done only as a
temporary measure until windows can be replaced.
Exterior doors take a lot of punishment - slamming,
changes in temperature and humidity. Any weatherstripping
used must be sturdy to take this abuse, yet flexible
enough to work through many temperature changes.
Start by checking the door itself and repairing any
problems - loose structural joints or doorwindow panes,
loose caulking, etc.
Look for weatherstripping with instructions. If you are
removing worn or damaged weatherstripping, try to obtain a
similar replacement set.
Most door weatherstripping is a combination of vinyl or
metal edge seal and rubber/metal edge seal.
Install a programmable
thermostat. A programmable thermostat can cut your
heating bills with every Celsius degree you lower the
setting. If you have air conditioning, it also lowers your
cooling bills. You can save up to five per cent of your
heating costs for every Celsius degree you reduce the
temperature in your home over a 24-hour period. But don't
turn your thermostat below 14C to ensure your water pipes
don't freeze and burst. With air conditioning, you save by
turning your thermostat up - don't go below 24C.
Programmable thermostat units
come in a range of prices and are available from hardware,
building and heating equipment supply stores. Choose a
model that is compatible with your particular
heating/cooling system. If the whole thing seems too
complicated, you can ask to have one professionally
installed during your regular annual heating system
Check the fireplace. A lot of household heat
escapes up your fireplace chimney, even when it is not in
use. Check the flue damper to see it fits snugly and is
closed when not in use. Consider installing tightfitting
glass doors to control air flow.
Wrap your pipes. You can avoid burst pipes by
wrapping foam tubing around them and taping it in place.
Most tubing comes pre-slit for easy installation. Water
pipe heat cables can also be purchased which can keep
water flowing at temperatures as low as -40C. Cover
exterior AC units. Use an appropriate cover or winterized
plastic to protect your outdoor air conditioning for
window fan unit to stop drafts and heat loss.
Check all exterior entry points. Use expandable
polyurethane foam or other approved insulation products to
cover the area around dryer vents, television cable jacks
and other utility service entry points. But be careful not
to overuse these products - a little goes a long way.
Work with the sun. While a home's south side gets
the most sun in winter, sun from any direction can be a
big asset. Open the drapes or curtains or pull up the
blinds during the day to let in those warm rays, then
close them at night to reduce heat loss through windows.
In summer, you gain by doing the opposite.