Preparing the Inside of Your Home for Winter

Young family hanging out together

With winter fast approaching, many homeowners are taking the necessary steps to protect the outside of their homes from extreme weather. But, what about the inside? The Good Hands Advice team has developed tips to help ensure you remain comfortable and safe when the temperatures drop.


Statistic Canada suggests using a programmable or smart thermostat to maintain a specific and consistent temperature throughout the day. It is recommended that you set your thermostat to cooler temperatures during the hours you’re out of the house or asleep, and warmer temperatures during the hours you’re typically at home and awake.

Even better, a smart thermostat can adjust the temperature according to the weather or occupancy rate of the house. Investing in these small appliances can also help you save money.

Need to close the cottage or house for the winter? Consider setting the thermostats to the “minimum” position to keep the temperature between 5-7 ºC, which is sufficient to prevent freezing. Remember that the temperature inside the walls, (e.g. where the pipes are located) is noticeably cooler.

Heating Equipment Inspections

Furnaces and chimneys should be professionally inspected at least once a year, according to the Government of Canada. During routine spring and fall maintenance appointments, a professional should inspect your thermostat and furnace filters. Dirty filters may interfere with airflow, resulting in higher heating costs and more wear and tear on your furnace.

The Government of Canada recommends that a chimney sweeping service include the following:

  • Brush the chimney vigorously with a brush of suitable size;
  • Check the condition of the entire heating system, clean each of its components, adjust the parts and identify any breakage or anomaly.
  • Check the clearance distances around the device as well as its general installation.


Space Heaters

According to Canadian Firefighter Magazine, heating equipment cause about 12% of home fires.

Here are some recommendations from the Canada Safety Council:

  • Turn off heaters before leaving the room or going to bed.
  • Keep clothing, curtains or anything else that might burn at least 1m (3 feet) away from a space heater.
  • Use a heater with an automatic shutoff, which will turn off the device if it tips over.
  • Plug your heater into an outlet rather than a power strip or extension cord.

More Ways to Stay Warm

Hydro-Québec suggests having the ceiling fans oscillate in the clockwise position during the winter, to circulate warm air down into the room.

Hydro-Québec also recommends opening curtains during the day to let heat from the sun inside and drawing curtains after sundown to trap the heat inside.

Consider the arrangement of your furniture, for example, the sofa or bookcase. Do they prevent hot air from circulating freely? Moving furniture that restrict airflow might help improve the comfort of your home.

Finally, keeping chimney flues closed when they are not in use may help prevent cold air from coming in through your fireplace.

Smoke Alarms and Carbon Monoxide Detectors

It’s important that you make sure your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors are functioning properly. Check to make sure they have not expired, are equipped with new batteries and placed in critical areas home — so you can be warned of any signs of danger.

The Government of Canada recommends checking the alarm by keeping the test button pressed until the alarm sounds. The reaction time may take up to 20 seconds.

Taking a few proactive steps and brushing up on safety measures can go a long way toward preparing your home for winter. Then, you can hunker down and enjoy the peace of mind that comes with knowing you and your home are more prepared to brace for the coldest months of the year.

Disclaimer: This information has been provided for your convenience only and should not be construed as providing specific legal or insurance advice.