How to Winterize a House: It's Time

There are things about life in Alberta that everyone understands. One of those things is that when autumn arrives, it’s time to start thinking about protecting your home from the harsh winter elements. Doing so may help you maximize your energy efficiency, so winterizing your home is a worthwhile effort.

Don’t wait for the first cold snap to arrive before you prepare your home. Here are a few simple tips on how to winterize a house to make your home comfortable and energy-efficient during the winter.

Windows and Doors

Simple maintenance on your windows and doors will help keep warm air inside and prevent cold air from entering your home. Below are a few ideas to make your windows and doors more energy efficient:

A gas-fired boiler controller


Weather-stripping is relatively simple to apply to your windows and doors. Before applying weather-stripping to your home, make sure you find air leaks and assess your ventilation needs. There are different types of weather-stripping available to suit the size, shape and style of your windows and doors. Weather-stripping your home can not only save you money, but also increases your overall energy efficiency.

Door Sweeps

Installing door sweeps is another step you can take when winterizing your home. Door sweeps minimize the amount of air that can travel underneath a door by sealing the gap between the bottom of the door and the threshold. Check your doors to see if you can feel a draft. If you can, it may be a good idea to install a door sweep. Adding a door sweep can help save money on heating and cooling as well as protect against moisture, dust and insects.

Pipes and Plumbing

When it gets cold enough exterior and interior pipes can freeze and potentially burst, causing
major water damage to your home. Before the next freeze, take preventive measures to reduce
the risk of serious damage:

  • Ensure that your pipes are well insulated. In addition to wrapping exterior pipes, also insulate interior pipes in any unheated spaces (i.e. basement, crawl spaces, under sinks). For extra protection you can use heat-tape before insulating your pipes, but follow the manufacturer’s instructions to avoid potential safety hazards.
  • Turn on faucets. If the temperature is expected to drop below freezing, creating a small steady drip may eliminate the pressure that can build up if an ice blockage occurs.
  • Make sure all visible cracks are sealed, and crawl spaces are properly insulated. Your pipes could freeze if cold air can enter through cracks and vents that are left unprotected.

Outdoor Water Sources

Below are a few outdoor areas you may want to target when winterizing your home:

Water Hoses and Sprinklers

If a water hose is connected to an exterior faucet during a freeze, ice can back up into the pipe inside your house, causing the pipe to crack. Disconnect all hoses and shut off the exterior water valve. Open the faucet to drain any excess water.

If you have a sprinkler system, you’ll need to properly winterize your sprinklers. All systems will need to have the water blown out of the sprinkler lines before winter. Some systems have pumps that will need to be disconnected and brought inside for the winter. Blowing out sprinkler lines and disconnecting pumps may need to be handled by professionals, but it’s a job that’s an important part of winterizing your home.

Pools and Water Features

If you have exterior water features they will need to be winterized. For a swimming pool, how you winterize it will depend on whether your pool is in-ground or above-ground. Some common steps to take for all pools include:

  • Lowering the water level
  • Cleaning the sides and bottom of the pool
  • Adding winterizing chemicals to protect the remaining water and pool bed
  • Using a good thermal cover
  • Disconnecting the pumps and storing them inside
  • Blowing out the lines

Hiring a professional to take care of winter maintenance for your pool may be a good idea to avoid errors. Any mistakes made while winterizing your pool could potentially lead to extensive epairs come spring.

Temperature Control

Finally, it may be a good idea to consider adding temperature control to your home. A programmable thermostat can help you manage the temperature whether you are home or away, helping you avoid heating your home when it’s not necessary.

You can install a system that provides you with remote access or control so that you can set the temperature from wherever you are. This alternative is less stressful than having to worry about programming your unit ahead of time. According to a survey from a few years ago administered by the Government of Canada, most people preferred their homes to be between 20 and 22 degrees Celsius during the day. At night, Canadians preferred the temperature to be between 16 and 18 degrees while they were asleep. Since most people find it uncomfortable to sleep in warmer temperatures, turning down the temperature before sleeping can help you feel more comfortable and avoid using heat when it’s not needed.

How to Winterize a House – Get Personalized Advice

If you have questions about how to winterize your home, consider consulting a professional.  They can help you maximize your energy efficiency while keeping you warm and comfortable during the winter months. If you have questions about energy, call Direct Energy at 1-866-374-6299, or contact us online at any time. Happy Winter!